In this ‘5 minutes with…’ Becca spoke to Sophie Blue of Blue Planet PR.
Sophie is an award winner and expert in issues and crisis management.
1. Why did you start your business?
That’s a very good question. I was teaching Public Relations at the University of Technology in Sydney and one of my students said to me “Why are you teaching? Why aren’t you actually out there doing it yourself?”
At the time, I had 15 years experience working in public relations, in Australia and in the UK, and had worked for big and small agencies. My husband had always said to me, “You know you really should start you own agency, you’re working for other people, you should do it for yourself”. And I always thought I work hard enough for other people, if I did it for myself, I’d just be a skeleton at the keyboard, not able to have any kind of work-life balance.
But then I had two young children, and I thought, well I have to have work-life balance, because I’ve got children, so now is a good time as any. I started Blue Planet PR with a one year-old and three-year-old hanging off my leg and I was teaching at the same time. I thought why not? Let’s give it a go. And the student who asked my why I was teaching and not doing, came to work with me when I started the business.
2. What’s a typical day in the life of you?
Drop children off at school, get my morning dose of caffeine, go down to my office, talk to my staff – I get updates on where client projects are at, obviously look at what’s going on in social media, then work on business prospects, maybe a conference call or a meeting. I love going out and meeting people as well. A bit of everything really.
3. What’s your favourite part of your job?
I love the rush you get when you kick a goal; achieve something amazing for a client. When a client says, “That’s amazing, you’ve done such an incredible job, thank you so much”. When something just really goes well and you get that adrenalin rush.
I love the human element of the business as well. The people that I meet and get to work with, the places that I go and the talented and famous people that I’ve met.
What my business adds to my life is immeasurable. You talk to people about getting the work-life balance right, and I believe you need to get it right! But my work is my life, and I love my family and my kids and I make time for them. But I really don’t want to separate my work from my life, because it is my life… and I love it!
4. Who inspires you?
My mother was always an inspiration, because my mother started a business in the late 60’s, which ended up becoming a very successful shop. She ended up selling it 34 years later. I remember at the time thinking, “I wish mum didn’t work so hard”. She was working on weekends, but now in hindsight I realise that it was because of my mum that she put my sister and I through school.
Dad was always very supportive as well, but she went out and started a business and did her own thing at a time when women were not expected to. I remember she got a bit of heat from other members of our extended family because they all thought that I was going to end up a juvenile delinquent drug addict on the street because my mother was working rather than looking after me. So I think mum’s an inspiration.
5. Any top tips for fellow entrepreneurs?
If you work hard you get lucky.
Always be kind, professional, nice and respectful. Don’t be rude to people. Everyone has a job to do – you never know where opportunities are going to come from or how you may be recommended.
Treat people as you would want to be treated yourself.
Always keep an eye on the numbers.
Have a supportive partner. Have someone who believes in you. My husband is so supportive of what I do! He doesn’t make me feel guilty for going to a networking event instead of staying home and looking after our girls and doing homework with them. He just really believes in the vision I have for Blue Planet Public Relations and I think as a woman, particularly when you have children, if your partner is supportive, it can be the difference between success and failure.
Have a cheer squad behind you!