Woman In Business Series - Part 2 Hope Mckellar
We recently caught up with Hope Mckellar, a PR guru from Hampshire.
We wanted to know more about Hope's career and how she set up her own PR Agency.
Read the interview below:
Can you tell us a little bit about you and what you do?
I'm Hope, I'm 23 and I live in Waterlooville. I graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a journalism degree and went on to work at The News as the business editor for a year before setting up my PR company.
Now I help people land media opportunities through writing press releases, working alongside the media both locally and nationally and help them make noise around their brands.
How do you help people?
During my time as a journalist, I gained lots of media contacts, so I use this, as well as my knowledge in writing news stories to help people to create content that will get picked up by media publications. I use my experience with businesses and PR professionals to create the right pitches and campaigns to ensure firms get the attention they deserve and want to get.
When did you make the decision to start your own company and what inspired you to take that leap?
I made the decision in around April/May 2020. My contract was temporary and I knew it would be coming to an end in May so decided to get job hunting. I put a post on LinkedIn asking my connections to recommend any places they knew were hiring and to look out for potential opportunities they knew would suit me. I got a call from the owner of a comms firm in Hampshire straight after I put the post out and he told me I should set up my own communications business and start offering my services freelance. For some reason the penny just dropped for me and I just went for it without overthinking it too much. Having said that, I did do LOTS of planning before I officially started.
Where do you get your inspiration from? Is there anyone who inspires you?
I get it from all over. I like to look at who is smashing it the most in my industry and take inspiration from them. Places like big London-based PR and media firms. They're obviously doing something right!
I also follow a lot of women in business who are killing it and I love to think that I'll be in their position one day (soon hopefully!).
I love Pinterest and I'm always using that for inspo with Instagram posts, as well as to manifest things like what my future office will look like when I get there.
Do you have any daily rituals?
Tea in bed, in the morning, whilst I do life admin and check social media. Then coffee at my desk when I get to it. I go to the gym daily too, which I find, forces me to have at least an hour to myself each day.
What helps focus your mind?
To-do lists. I'm quite unorganised and get overwhelmed quite easily, so writing a list just helps me see everything I need to do in black and white, in front of me. It also helps me feel a bit more in control of my day and like I have a solid plan of goals I need to complete.
How do create a healthy work/life balance?
Actually having a weekend. Don't get me wrong I do check my emails, do a bit of networking on LinkedIn and post on my professional socials on weekends, but as a whole my weekends are to do things for me - and catch up on personal stuff that I didn't get done in the week. It's so easy to work into the night on weekdays, too, which isn't always a bad thing as it gets stuff done. But I do like to step away from the desk and bring my laptop to bed or the sofa with me and have the TV/YouTube videos playing in the background to make it feel less like work.
What are your goals for the business?
I'd like to become the 'go-to' person in and around Portsmouth for PR. I want to have such a good and credible reputation that everyone wants to work with me because my results speak for themselves.
At the moment, most of my contacts are local, so I'd really like to build contacts nationally and start working with loads of big publications and getting clients published online and in print across the UK.
How do you manage a heavy workload? Do you have any tips on how to prioritize?
For me, I mainly make sure I do the work in the order in which it comes, so no one is waiting too long for the work to be finished. Sometimes I have to prioritise if a story is really time-sensitive and it has to be put first, though.
But other than that, lists.
How do you practice self-care?
I put self-care and self-maintenance in the same box, so self-care can be getting my nails done, doing a face mask and all that typical stuff that is appearance-based.
I also like to read and watch YouTube videos, such as Ted Talks - I feel doing this is a good balance of relaxation and self-development. I'm reading Girl, Woman, Other at the moment and it's amazing.
Stretching always makes me feel really amazing too, so I like to do this when I have time. I'm no yogi though.
Do you have a favourite quote? Or have any words you live by?
I am constantly saving quotes on Instagram and Pinterest! I couldn't put my finger on one but I like anything by Brene Brown or Alan Watts.
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to start their own business?
Absolutely go for it if you're considering it. Make sure you don't overthink it too much, but also plan, plan, plan!
You can wing it to a certain degree, but you need a stable foundation first. Make sure you have clients in place BEFORE you start the business and get your social media and website looking good too so you can launch with everything in place.
Get people excited before the launch so they know something's coming, but not quite what. Start with what you're good at and you can expand and alter it later on. Not everything has to be perfect
You have to 'fake it til you make it' to a degree. Act as if you're already an established, successful business. Manifest it and it will happen!
Thank you to Hope for answering our questions. We are in awe of you and are pleased that you made the jump and set up on your own.
For anyone who would like to find out more about Hope, you can by visiting her website: hopemckellarpr.co.uk/