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#SelfStarterStories: From Freelance Marketer to Becoming a Racing Mentor

This week's #selfstarterstory features Jess Shanahan, Founder of Racing Mentor.

#PickYourselfUK caught up with Jess to learn more about her entrepreneurial journey.

What was your last job?: I worked as a freelance marketing consultant.

When did you choose to PICK YOURSELF instead of waiting to be chosen by someone else?: It's down to us to create our own destiny. We can't sit around waiting on others, or waiting for a chance. If you want something, go for it.

I believe that's just as true of awards as it is of chasing happiness. This is something I tell my racing drivers and careers clients, because I think it's important that everyone is in control of their careers, dreams, and lives.

What was the most challenging part of starting a business?: The self-doubt that creeps in. No matter how confident you are of your business idea, I've found that all entrepreneurs have allowed self-doubt to cloud their minds on occasion. It does get easier with more testimonials, social proof and coverage but it's particularly challenging at the start.

What is your favourite business book and why?: Four-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. It was the book that made me realise that running my own business didn't need to be exhausting. The book teaches you to work smarter, outsourcing and automating what you can.

Do you do everything yourself? What do you outsource?: I'm a bit of a control freak with Racing Mentor so all the coaching, course creation and content writing I do myself. However, I do outsource the difficult/time consuming/boring things such as accounts and a bit of admin.

What is your favourite marketing tool ?: Buffer. I've used a lot of social platforms over the years (especially when working in marketing) but Buffer is the only one that's helped me stick to a consistent posting schedule.

How do you market your business?: The business thrives thanks to the community I've built. Because of this, most of the marketing revolves around social media and events.

I'm very active on all my social channels as well as the business ones. I also go to race tracks, where my target audience hangs out, to meet people, provide coaching and get my name and face out there.

Content marketing is also a big part of things. I have plenty of free content on my website and in my email newsletter that gets people involved with the brand.

When you first launched, how did you get your first paying customers?: I'd already been involved in motorsport because I ran a Porsche race team. When I first launched a lot of the people I'd met through that, joined me as paying customers. Again, content was key here as it was important to show my expertise and bring people into my website and sales funnels.

Racing Mentor website April 2018

Racing Mentor website April 2018

How did you get your first traffic to your website?: Content! I wanted to create content that really helped racing drivers and people looking for careers in motorsports.

I started talking about getting sponsorship, finding your dream job and the intricacies of racing. I posted these articles on social media and the response was huge!

Nominate one person/friend who believed in you from the start, and what would you like to say to them today?: Adam Johnson - He was one of my first ever coaching clients and while he doesn't work in motorsport anymore, he's stood by my side the whole way.

He's cheered me on when I've felt down and given me advice when I've needed it. Everyone should have a friend like that in their corner.

What would you say to someone who is toying with the idea to start a business but haven't yet?: Don't wait until tomorrow. I'm a throw-myself-in-at-the-deep-end kind of entrepreneur but that doesn't suit everyone.

If you're putting off starting your business because you need things to be perfect/safe, stop waiting because that time will never come. There's plenty you can do to mitigate risk but don't make excuses, just start.

If you could have dinner with one entrepreneur, who would it be and why?: Tim Ferriss. I learned so much from Four-Hour Work Week that I can't even begin to imagine how much more I'd learn from him over dinner!

To stay up to date with Jess' entrepreneurial journey, please follow her social media channels below:

Jess Shanahan has qualified for the #PickYourselfUK Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year award 2018. If you'd like to enter yourself or nominate a small business entrepreneur for this award, please submit your story below.