Who are you and what business did you start?
Susie Campbell and I started a PR and content marketing agency called Hullabaloo PR
What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
Having moved to Aus from the UK with 2 small children, a hubby who worked away for long periods and no family here, I knew that working for myself was something that would fit better around family and avoid the stress and cost of the childcare juggle. I happened to be talking to a local retailer who needed some help with marketing and I made a heap of suggestions to her. And she asked if I would contract a few hours each week and that was where it all started. WOM and referral soon meant I had a handful of clients so I figured I ought to formalise what I was doing. As time went on I realised that PR and creative ideas was where my real passion lay and I loved finding and pitching stories to the media. Hence the rebrand I describe below.
Susie, founder of Hullabaloo (formerly Little Black Book Marketing but Susie wanted to make more noise in the industry so rebranded!) first discovered her love and flair for bricks and mortar marketing whilst Serving in the Royal Navy. Tasked to create an array of catering, retail and leisure services, within a busy Naval Base, from concept to open day, each outlet was created with a unique personality, aimed at a very specific market, each one becoming hugely popular with locals and visitors alike. Now based in Sydney, working with both local and interstate clients, Susie and her team bring their creative eyes and practical approach to using the media, in pursuit of their big bold goal to keep 5000 businesses in business and is one of the only small business PR companies, to create PR stunts for clients.
Making use of three key strategies – media, creating memorable customer experiences and collaborations, Susie helps businesses to stay in business by becoming known and famous.
Her company, Hullabaloo, a public relations and content agency, believe businesses do better when they work together and that engagement with their community, creating a memorable customer experience and connecting with the media is key to their success.
Describe the process of launching the business.
There was no formal launch as per my previous answer. I had no website or even socials until about 18 months in and merely operated from WOM. The business was profitable from day one as I didn’t invest until I could afford and took on no debt and had no money to invest! I built partnerships and used trading and bartering for some aspects such as website and design. Slowly as my client base grew, I started to build my own marketing strategy and I guess, launch the business beyond WOM. Each time my sales allowed, I took on another day of childcare for my kids to allow me more time to work until I had 4 days a week.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
Delivering a great experience, never over-promising and having clear processes in place to manage customers. I built a small team and work hard to ensure they share and follow the company values and deliver a great service too and interact with our clients efficiently and in a friendly and professional manner. I have clients that I secured in year 1 who I consider friends now. WOM and referral is still a very big part of securing new clients for us.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Although we were impacted by COVID with some of our clients struggling or having to close for extended periods, we are slowly recovering and used the time to really focus on lead generation and developing a new service which retains clients for a minimum of 6 months and provides a strong income stream. I worked hard with clients that were struggling so that we could help them again once they were ready.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Knowing your numbers, having legal frameworks in place and having processes for everything you do more than once! It pays huge dividends as you scale and grow.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
Gosh, heaps! I use Slack, Mailchimp, Basecamp, Medianet, Canva, zoom and then several that clients require me to use too.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I think for me, influential resources has always been my mentors or masterminds that I have had over the years. I am not a huge reader of listener of podcasts unless for client research. But I am a good connector and learn lots from connecting with the right people.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
Set up for growth from day 1. Just because you don’t have staff now, or think you won’t, imagine you do and ensure all processes are mapped as even if you don’t take on payroll, you may outsource or collaborate and when your processes are mapped, this becomes so much easier and actually makes your business more valuable should you wish to sell it. And on that note, create a business that does not rely solely on you – you will want a holiday!
Where can we go to learn more?
www.hullabloopr.com.au or my FB group Ambitious Business Owners – Become known, become famous. You can also find me on Twitter, LI, IG, Youtube!