Self-starter Stories: From working as Bugs Bunny to becoming a stellar wordsmith
By: Nadine Burzler
This week's #selfstarterstory features Kirsten Rees, founder of Make Me A Success! A Glasgow-based business centred around copywriting.
PickYourselfUK caught up with Kirsten to learn more about her entrepreneurial journey.
Looking back, what lead you to be where you are today?: I quit my sales job and took up writing again on my sabbatical in Hong Kong/Singapore/South Africa. When I returned I couldn't find a job that I really wanted!
What was the most challenging part of starting a business?: I had zero experience in running a business! Although I knew how to write content from previous jobs, and I had great sales experience, when you launch a business you suddenly become everything from CEO to janitor and I'd never been either!
What did you want to be when you were a child?: I went through half the careers book in school from school teacher to lawyer, but I'd always written stories and had an over-active imagination. If anyone had even hinted that being a writer was a career then I'd have started out a long time ago.
What was your last job?: I was a copywriter for a small fashion business over the summer when I came home from travelling. Prior to that I'd done everything from sales, retail, working in a hotel overseas, through to training with Warner Bros and working as Bugs Bunny.
When did you choose to PICK YOURSELF instead of waiting to be chosen by someone else?: I chose myself because at the time no on was picking me for anything I really loved. I was a bit of a jack of all trades, but nothing made me feel excited to jump out of bed and working in sales felt like a little bit of my soul was dying every Monday morning. I had written a 100,000 word novel while I was travelling and when I published it, I realised that if I could write that much for myself, I could make a living creating content for businesses. I'm now working on my second novel and first business book.
What did you learn from your worst boss?: I've had a few but I learnt collectively that other people don't always care about the same things as you - even health & safety! The best way to work for a business that is on your wavelength and is committed to long-term goals that you want is to create one yourself.
What is your favourite business book and why?: I've had so many over the years and have a shelf full of business books I jump into when I need inspiration, motivation, or an answer to a specific question. It's inspired me to write my own business book which will be released in the Spring. It's essentially everything I wished I'd known, how not to make my mistakes, a few confessions, and working smarter in one start-up guide.
Do you do everything yourself? What do you outsource?: In the beginning, I was naive and thought I had to do it all myself, particularly as a woman I felt I had so much to prove. But it was spinning plates so I learnt to focus on my strengths and let others do what they are good at for me. I did build my own websites and taught myself coding and various other things but I'll never be the best at these things. Outsource everything that you're average at or that drains your productivity and put your energy towards the stuff that drives you forward.
What is your productivity secret?: Plan, plan ahead, plan for success
What is your favourite app?: At the moment Headspace - switching off and relaxing is important when you're running a business. Particularly in the creative industry as it helps with brainstorming and inspiration.
How do you market your business?: Social media platforms, newsletter, networking events, speaker events, paid ads.
When you first launched, how did you get your first paying customers?: Talking to people at networking events.
How did you get your first traffic to your website?: I started out as a copywriter so I focused on content and SEO to attract organic traffic. I also did backlinks and posted my URL across social media.
What would you say to someone who is toying with the idea to start a business but haven't yet?: Today you can think one day or day one. Keep putting it off and you're only doing yourself and your potential customers a disservice. I hadn't even built my website or got business cards when I got my first customers.
If you could have dinner with one entrepreneur, who would it be and why?: Natalie MacNeil
To follow Kirsten's journey, you can do so via her social media channels and website linked below
Kirsten Rees has qualified for the #PickYourselfUK Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year award 2017. If you'd like to enter yourself or nominate a small business entrepreneur for this award, please submit your story below.
Voting for the #PickYourselfUK Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year award 2017 will take place in November 2017 so make sure you get your entry submitted to qualify.