I cannot actually believe we are saying this – but we are 7 years old, as of 23rd September 2020. The business began back 7 years ago and had changed a lot since then. I wanted to put this blog post about year one of Creative Content Company together to tell other business owners that they can do it too. It might not be easy. It may often feel like a huge up—hill struggle, but it can be done.
So, 7 years ago the business began with me working from home. I lived in a house share and was single. I saw nobody at all and definitely struggled not getting social interaction. Previously I was with a team of 9 round a desk and now it was me, on my own.
I was struggling with the admin side of things. The blogging was great, but I didn’t enjoy creating invoices or chasing money for late payers. I spoke to Angela about this and wondered if it was something she could do. She had taken early-retirement as an Executive PA for the NHS and was looking after her grandchildren. Angela was missing doing ‘adult’ things. She loved the idea of the role, so she joined the team in December in 2013.
Early 2014 I started looking for an office. I needed to split my work and home life as they were blending into one. I wasn’t very good at doing work stuff during work hours and personal stuff after work. Instead I was starting work early, becoming distracted by washing, food, the neighbours, TV and more. Then I was still working into the evening. I also found myself talking to the fish – so something had to change.
I got an office share in a large IT support company office. It was like a call centre lay out with 6 rows of desks and chairs. I was the first business in there and was in the far corner, next to a window. My desk was about the third of the size it is now.
I joined Best of Peterborough and attended their networking golf event. I met Ian from Geek Designs and we quickly got talking. He liked the idea of my business and felt it was something his business could use. They are web designers that needed content for their websites. Ian and Alex shared their office with some videographers in Peterborough and were considering moving office. After visiting my office, they ‘rescued’ me by offering me a desk in their office.
I moved over to Peterborough Business Park in Lynchwood and everything went really well. I was able to support Geek Designs and their clients with the content they needed, while running my own business. I felt like a real business in year one of Creative Content Company.
Before I set up my business, I worked for i3Media. Their first office was based in Lynchwood, and they moved over to Fengate. It was strange to be so close to the place I had come from. When you see where we are now – you’ll see why it is perhaps stranger.
As I chose to set up my own business, I handed in my notice at i3Media and was given 4 weeks garden leave. While employed by them, I was working part-time at The Beehive in Peterborough. I continued working there part-time while I ran my business in the day. This took a lot of pressure off me as I knew that whatever happened with the business, I could still afford my bills. This is something I would definitely recommend to others.
The business grew through networking. I attended Best of Peterborough networking events, Chamber of Commerce free events, Link4Growth coffee mornings and drinks evenings. DPiP was another event I attended, to meet like-minded people. DPiP stands for Digital People in Peterborough. I got to know people. Overtime I became the person that knew people. I wanted to join the paid events, but I just couldn’t afford them in those early days.
The First Creative Content Company Clients
I had an extremely lucky start to my business. I went to get my eyes tested after running my business a few months. The optician asked if I used a computer. I said yes. I told him about my business that I had set up and what we do. It turns out the man doing my eye test was the franchise owner of the opticians and they were looking for someone to help with their marketing.
Another of my first clients was Compare The Market. This was purely through networking and being in the right place at the right time. This is why networking is so important. It’s something that I have stuck with throughout my business life and always recommend to others.
Where The Name Came From
However, my very first client was a digital agency and it happened by chance. I had a personal blog and was writing blogs for fun. I knew I wanted to start up on my own and create my own business. I asked on my blog for business name ideas. The person that gave me the business name of my choice I would give a free blog post to. There were lots of suggestions such as ‘Woman of Words’ and ‘Words of Wisdom’ but they didn’t quite fit right. Someone then suggest Creative Content Company and I loved it.
On emailing their gmail address I asked what they would like their blog post to be about. He replied that his client would like a blog post about vans. It was on returning the blog post that he explained who he was, what his business did, and he asked for more.
There were a few mistakes in the first year. For example, I thought I had to be a Limited company so set up the company as one. Then realised I didn’t so I closed it. This still shows when people search for me on Companies House. Make sure you get the advice from the right people. Embarrassingly I asked a guy at the bar when I was working as a waitress. He set it up for me, in fact he used his date of birth and my name in setting it up too!
I hired a salesperson. This is perhaps my most embarrassing mistake to date. I went on a date with a guy. He was unemployed and thought my business was awesome. The guy started working as a salesperson for my business. Almost overnight he destroyed the reputation of my business that I had built up over the last few months. He was a pushy sales guy and it almost ruined my business. This was a sharp lesson in company culture!
So, that was my first year. That was year one of Creative Content Company.