Women Will Create Meets... Alice Benham
I’m Alice, a Digital Marketing Coach (I’ll explain that job title later!) and a school dropout. I’ll take you back to the start…
I enjoyed learning, worked hard and got *fairly* good grades, far from what I would associate with someone who drops out of school. But at 17, I did just that. Whilst at a hotel breakfast I got talking with the CEO of a charity, who called me a few weeks later and offered me an Events role (my intended career…) however until that specific job was available, I was temporarily hired as a Social Media Manager, 2 days a week.
I walked away with my half completed A-Levels into an industry I knew nothing about. And without realising it I became self employed.
Whilst the ‘temporary’ role was only due to last 2 months, within that time I’d begun working with a number of other clients, running their digital platforms and creating social campaigns. I adored the flexibility of working for myself and seemed to be pretty good at the job too…
It’s safe to say that ‘fake it till you make it’ has un-intentionally been my business motto since day 1. As a naive 17 year old, I was a textbook example of what not to do when you start a business… I priced myself wrong, worked myself to the ground, isolated myself from community and generally executed my business by saying ‘yes’ to everything and Googling the many questions I had.
My business took a 180 turn after experiencing serious burnout and taking 6 months off of work in early 2017. I’m an all or nothing type of person, so that tendency and my enthusiasm for ‘success’ led me to working 12 hour days, 7 days a week… a far from sustainable (or fulfilling!) work routine. Whilst I wouldn’t wish that season on anyone, it taught me an incredible amount about the importance of balance and rest.
During my time off I realised that my business lacked a whole lot of intention, community and routine. So in August of 2017, I re-launched my services as a Digital Marketing Coach (no clue if it’s a real job title… I made it up!) which basically means that I empower business’ to establish effective and sustainable digital strategies. Instead of being stuck behind my computer writing tweets and blog posts, I get to talk with likewise entrepreneurs and help them to do the work themselves. It enables me to have a routine which both respects my mental health and allows for a healthy relationship with my work.
There’s an endless list of lessons I’ve learnt since starting my business, but to save you from the essays, the top 3 things I wish I’d known at the start would have to be…
- Find community! Learning from others and connecting with people who ‘get it’ brings a whole lot of joy and perspective to working on your own
- Create boundaries… If like me you have a tendency to go a little OTT, creating structure to your work routine may help you to avoid burning out
- You’re doing a great job! Working for / by yourself can make it hard to step back and appreciate what you’ve achieved, so just know that you’re doing far better than you think you are
Starting a business has been and continues to be the most joyful / terrifying / fulfilling / risk-filled & memorable thing I’ve ever done and whilst the journeys been far from perfect, I wouldn’t change it for the world.