This week I have another completely new business story to share as part of my Spotlight On series, which explores a wide range of entrepreneurial journeys, as told by the entrepreneurs themselves!
This week I have had the pleasure of getting to know Elizabeth and the story behind her business, Digitise This.
Name: Elizabeth Malone-Johnstone
Business Name: Digitise this. Ltd.
Age of business: 18 Months
The Pitch - What do you do and why do you do it?
I’m a digital marketing consultant and a Chartered Marketer and I set up a boutique digital marketing consultancy called Digitise this. to provide expert digital marketing advice and support to startups and SMEs.
I spend my time helping SMEs reach and engage with relevant audiences and increase profitability with the help of digital technology. My philosophy? Only businesses who put the customer’s needs and experience at the centre of their digital strategy will succeed.
What is your USP?
As a sole founder, I am my own USP! I offer my clients more personal, tailored digital marketing support than a bigger agency would. Clients of Digitise this. get access to a dedicated digital marketing expert, on their terms, without the need to hire in house.
What were you doing before you set up your business and what made you take the leap into starting your own venture?
I worked for years as a digital marketing manager in a range of different companies and industries. And while I have worked with some lovely and seriously talented people in that time – bureaucracy and arbitrary hierarchy have never suited me. I used to spend a lot of my time as an employee asking ‘why’ things were done a certain way and I got tired of hearing ‘because it’s always been done like that.’
At the most basic level, I suppose I’m a free spirit and I want to have greater control over my work life. And yes, in the early days that often does mean having the freedom to work 80 hours a week for myself rather than 40 for someone else!
Have you had any setbacks? What have you learnt from them?
Of course! Too many to mention. A few months ago I fell ill for a while and that was terrifying. Now that I’m self-employed, I’m even more thankful for the NHS. (And as someone from a country where it costs 60euro for a GP appointment, I was already pretty darn thankful.) I’ve since learnt that I need to look after myself and take time out – that spa day is a business investment!
Setbacks are an almost weekly occurrence for any new business. But stick with it - it gets a little easier to bounce back every time.
What is the single achievement that you are most proud of and how did you manage it?
I spoke to a 100 strong audience of business owners at Somerset House last year – that was pretty amazing. I’m also just proud of the fact that I followed my gut and went out on my own.
If you could start again, what would you do differently?
This is a difficult one. I spent a lot of time at the very beginning trying different things that ultimately didn’t work. It’s easy with hindsight to say I should have narrowed my focus early on, but I don’t think it’s possible to make those decisions when you have no point of reference to compare to.
What would be your number one tip for someone thinking about starting their own business?
A financial cushion is really important. Try and build up enough to live on for three months before taking the plunge. A bonus tip would be to ignore anyone who suggests you can’t do it. And don’t hang out with people like that in general!
Do you have any big projects / plans for 2016 that we should know about?
I’m in the process of building a calendar of free digital marketing webinars for startups and SMEs which I’m quite excited about. I’m also doing a number of paid workshops in London so preparing for them, as well as looking after my lovely clients, is keeping me happily occupied.
Do you have an inspiring entrepreneurial story we need to hear about? Get in touch below and tell me why you should be featured in your very own Spotlight On post!