Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Graduate to Grown Up: Hayley

Hayley, age 29.
Studied English Literature and Linguistics
at Dartington College of Arts (now part of Falmouth University), graduated in 2010. 

On your graduation day, if I'd asked you what your dream job would be, what would you have said?
I wanted to be a screenplay writer, or a journalist. I am still writing, and I have written pieces for papers and magazines. I wish I had more time to write for leisure. I would love to write a book. 

What do you do now?
I own a PR company called Boxed Out PR, and I run a campaign called FlowAid, which provides free sanitary products to homeless women. I started out doing an internship at a video blogging company, where I presented and did product reviews. This was fresh out of university. Whilst working there, I was in communication a lot with PR companies, and I discovered I preferred PR and had a huge interest in it. I liked the idea of promoting people's businesses and products, and working with exciting start ups. So I took another internship at a Cloud computing company. The internship was 6 months paid, and I was offered a job at the end of it. Even though I hated it, I worked my way up to Marketing and PR Manager and even managed the merge when the company was bought out. I then moved over to a PR agency in London, which I adored working for. I was there for a while before being made redundant. I then decided to set up my own company, Boxed Out PR, so I took a temp job in a secondary school library for money, and set the business up around it. I went full time about 4 months afterwards. 

I set FlowAid up in 2015 after reading an article in VICE. This was an entirely new playing field as I had no experience running campaigns without a team, or charities. It has literally been learn as you go. But since establishing FlowAid, I have partnered with St Mungo's and Ealing Soup Kitchen, supplied sanitary donations to several women's charities and, last year, I did a TEDx talk about the campaign, and the issues caused by not having free access to sanitary products. 

Why do you do it? What motivates you?
I love working for myself, and I have always wanted to run my own business. I love the challenges, and thrive on change. And it is always worthwhile with big client wins, and building great relationships. It isn't easy, and I am continuing to learn and develop, but that's all part of the process. I suffer from anxiety, which running my business can be a cause of sometimes, but it is also the thing that calms me down as I feel as if I am achieving something. What motivates me is building my business and being put in the same position as larger PR companies. I bought my partner on as my business partner when I took the company limited in January, and I love that we build the company together.

What do you do outside of your job that fulfils you?
FlowAid is my other evening and weekend job, this gives me great satisfaction knowing that I am helping people. I also enjoy going to the gym, as this allows me space from work, and allows me to switch off for a while. I also love cooking and writing, but I don't get to write as much as I would like. I purposefully don't work at the weekend so I can spend time with friends and family, and it is important to switch off and recharge. I don't think my business would be successful if I didn't get time to mys as it allows me to step back and look at things from a different perspective. This is usually when I get my best ideas. 

What advice would you give any struggling graduate on how to become a #GirlBoss?
Network and build your contact list, and leverage them. Nowadays, it isn't what you know, it's who you know. Your network is your net worth and the sooner you start build it, the better position you will be in when you're older. Also, don't judge people, or write them off because they can't help you now. They may be able to help you later down the line, and having them may mean the difference between unemployed and employed. I have met people before who have contacted me two years later about opportunities. It's important to leave a good, lasting impression. My grandad always said to me, people who are nasty and rude get to the top quick, but don't stay there as long, as there are always people looking to pull them down. True professionals, who help others, get there slower but stay longer as people want to push them up.

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