In this blog, #YesSheCan speak with Hannah McCreesh, Director of Hannah McCreesh Marketing. She talks about what it is like to run your own business, how sticking to a routine helps her run her business and her top tips for starting your career!
I’ve been working in the PR and marketing industries for almost five years now since I graduated from university.
I started out in a small PR agency and I worked across different businesses and industries. This was important, as I learned what I did and didn’t enjoy doing and what my strengths and weaknesses in the workplace are.
When I was 24, I landed an amazing job as Head of Content for a technology start-up. I learned a tonne, but ultimately throughout my different jobs I had always had a strong feeling that working for other people just wasn’t for me.
I wondered if I felt that way because I simply hadn’t found the right role or the right industry but I think I knew that, deep down, I wanted to become self-employed and run my own business.
Now that I run my own marketing business, I like to structure my days in the same way that I would if I were working for someone else.
It’s really important when you’re self-employed to stick to a routine and structure your days in the same way that you would if you were working for someone else.
Otherwise, you can easily get muddled and you feel like you’re lacking clear goals and objectives.
I like to plan my daily and weekly tasks in order of priority by using a Trello board, I find that this really helps me to prioritise tasks on a day to day basis.
I always start my working day with the most challenging, creative task as that’s when my energy levels and productivity are at their highest.
When my energy starts to wane, typically after lunch, I will use that time to do more analytical or process-driven tasks instead.
Every day is different and I have clients across such a wide variety of sectors. No two days are the same, and I’ll split my days between different tasks for different clients depending on what is the highest priority at that time.
Do what’s best for you
I studied PR and Media at university so it was a natural step for me to go into what I studied once I graduated.
Of course, a lot of people don’t do this and they end up working in something completely different – which is also great!
You have to decide what’s best for you at that time but I also believe it’s never too late to start again and do something completely different if that’s what you want to do.
When I first graduated it was really difficult because having a degree no longer sets you apart in the job market.
Luckily I was prepared for this and I did eight different short-term (no longer than 2 weeks) work placements and internships whilst I was still studying over the course of my second and third years of university.
Because I had this work experience on my CV it set me apart from other candidates and I got my first marketing job three months after I graduated.
I remember having a distinct feeling at the start of my career that not everyone took me seriously in the workplace or at networking events because I was generally the youngest in the room.
I’ve learned that it’s really important to find a job in a workplace where everyone’s input is genuinely valued – even the most junior members of the team.
Everyone has their own unique perspective and as a young person in a new industry, you should feel that you’re able to voice your opinions and ideas without judgement.
I feel really passionately about helping other people who, like me, have always felt that working for other people wasn’t for them.
I don’t do this in any sort of formal way right now, but I am often answering peoples questions about freelancing full-time on Instagram and trying to help in any way that I can.
My parents did a great job in raising me and teaching me the value of hard work, drive and ambition.
I was always taught that if I wanted anything beyond my pocket money, I had to go out and earn it so I’ve had part-time jobs since I was 14 years old.
Meeting and working with people of all ages and from all different backgrounds from a young age has really helped me to become the person I am today.
I think making self-employment work for me has been the biggest achievement so far.
It’s not easy – you are essentially a one-man band who has to run and market their own business – but it’s incredibly rewarding. Whenever I get great feedback from a client it makes me feel on top of the world.
I also did a talk at the marketing conference Marketed.Live in 2018. I’d never done any public speaking beyond group presentations at university and my talk was in front of 200 people – I absolutely loved it!
Try not to take things too personally.
There have been times in my career where I’ve felt personally let down by people but at the end of the day, a business’s priority is keeping itself afloat – everything else, even staff, will always come second to that.
In my career, I’ve found that if you work hard and you’re a good person with integrity, people will generally want to see you succeed.
I also believe that in life, you should try to ignore everything someone says to you and judge them entirely based on their actions.
People will always people-please and tell you what they think you want to hear, but their actions will always show their true intentions.
Don’t be afraid to speak up if you think there could be a different way of doing things, no matter how junior you are. Approach things in the right way and be sure to make your voice heard. Absorb every new bit of information like a sponge.
Everything you go through, both good and bad, is an opportunity to learn. Some of my biggest opportunities have come from situations that haven’t worked out the way I wanted them to at the time.
If possible, try and get a mentor at work – someone who is older and more experienced than you who can help and guide you in your career.
I want to feel like my work is making a positive difference in someone’s life or business – that’s really important to me as it makes me feel like what I’m spending my time doing is important in its own way.
Equally, I am motivated by money but not for the sake of just having lots of it – I see money simply as a tool to be able to do things I want to do – like travel the world, have amazing new experiences and to be able to provide for myself and my future family.
I’m also motivated by wanting to have a great work/life balance and be someone who is very happy and content in their life.
I desperately don’t want to become like some people I have met in the workplace who clearly hate their jobs and are unhappy with how their lives have turned out.
Addressing the gender imbalance
I think more can always be done to address the gender imbalance in workplaces- but we run the risk of workplaces going the opposite way and promoting positive gender discrimination.
I’m sure I speak for many women when I say that if I get promoted into a senior position, I want to know it’s because I am talented enough to deserve it – not because I’m female and they’re trying to fill a diversity quota.
Whilst I totally believe in always acting professionally and with kindness and tact, I don’t believe women should feel they have to shrink or alter their personality to fit into an organisation.
Women are constantly being told they’re too bossy, or argumentative, or difficult but it’s simply a cover to make us try to conform.
Another thing I’ve learned is the importance of being open to feedback.
It doesn’t matter how high up you get – remain humble and be sure to ask for constructive criticism from even the most junior members of your team.
Make yourself known as the person who can always be relied upon to do what they say they’ll do in the time frame that was given.
What would you say to your 16-year-old self
Try not to worry so much – you are wildly more capable than you think and given time, everything will pan out the way it’s supposed to.
Trust your gut, work hard and never lose that spark of creativity and your unique way of thinking and feeling.
Amazing advice from Hannah, it’s so nice for someone who is so successful in their career to give such refreshing advice! You can check out more of our amazing blogs here!