There’s a story to how this business starts…
Six years ago, I was a TV producer. I was working on shows like Made in Chelsea and Great British Menu. I lived in central London, commuted to work by bike, worked long hours and lived a frantic – but fantastic – freelance life.
Now I’m launching a social media marketing agency called The Garden Shed from a village in the countryside. I work mainly with clients whose businesses do some good. Wow, people have said, that’s a bit of a jump… What happened?
Well, there have been three big turning points in my life.
Change number 1. A car accident. A car I was travelling in was written off in Ireland and I was left with severe headaches and neck pain but thankfully no broken bones. The symptoms continued for many years and made the job I’d been doing before rather difficult.
Change number 2. At the start of my recovery, I got married and had a baby. My husband and I upped sticks and rented a house near his work to save his 3 hour commute as he’d become the sole breadwinner. For a while, I was a housewife – great for many – but oh how I missed working.
Change number 3. I very much needed an outlet and an income. I’d loved working in television and I’m a grafter by nature. So when my daughter was a year old, I discovered a course in social media marketing – a job that drew on my background in production and which I could do from home. I began studying.
I already had a foothold in marketing. I’d done a course when I worked in production to help me understand more about funded content in television. But this world of social media marketing was a new and more difficult beast. I had to get to grips with the intricate workings of Twitter and Facebook whilst feeding my toddler and making plane noises.
And if the training was tough, finding the confidence to work with my first client was nail-biting. The fact I’d crashed out of my career due to illness had knocked me. I felt like I had egg on my face – and probably did, along with specks of baby porridge.
Luckily, my course involved working with a real client – a truly incredible way to dive into the deep end. My confidence grew as I got increasingly positive feedback from this lady – a mum of four herself and career champion.
And then I followed up with another. My next client was, of all people, a former global director of PWC and a consultant to governments. Crikey. He wanted me to promote him as a writer and political thinker. You can read a little of both clients’ feedback here.
From my course, support from peers, additional clients and physiotherapy, I found my feet again. Last year, I decided to nail my colours to the mast and sat down with a notebook and a coffee and tried to work out how to properly launch as a business. For this, I decided I needed a website to market myself and vitally, a business name. I doodled some ideas.
Now what was my offering? Well, I’d been lucky enough to gain experience working with clients who worked in social change. So, it made sense to continue on this track and offer marketing to social, ethical and green businesses. Now what could be the name? I was sitting at the garden table and had begun sketching a plant pot with my daughter’s crayons.
Perhaps there was something in this. ‘Plant pot’? ‘Flower pot’? These were perhaps a bit, well, potty. But I liked the idea of a gardening metaphor that implied growth. I also liked the idea of a tangible object that spelt out warmth and positivity. Something that didn’t scare clients off with technical wizardry.
And so, the seed was planted for ‘The Garden Shed’. To me, it says a workshop that can deliver a toolkit to business and advice on how to grow. Most of all it feels like a place for positive change.
I hope it says the same to you.
About the Author: Paula Gilbert is a content marketer who helps clients with blog writing, video content and social media strategy. She works out of The Garden Shed.