Meet Ellen of Little Seed Group
I am the founder of Little Seed Group, an award-winning Marketing PR and Social Media Agency based in York. We specialise in the Food & Drink, Hospitality and Charity sectors – but we love helping all sorts of businesses to grow, thrive and blossom.
1.Can you explain to us how the idea for your business came to you and how the whole process kicked off?
I was diagnosed with severe dyslexia at the age of 22. When I asked for help, I was told none was available for me as my age meant that I was now, and I quote, “a lost cause”.
Determined not to let this set me back, I began a career in marketing, PR and social media. While I loved my work, I was extremely unhappy with work cultures at the time and was bullied due to my dyslexia.
I took voluntary redundancy and ended up working in a shop for a year. At the same time, I undertook a Dyslexic Entrepreneur Scheme which I hoped would give me the confidence I needed to get back into the workplace. I never originally wanted to be self-employed.
I went back into professional marketing working for an agency and adored the organisation. However, three months after starting work with them, the business closed with 48-hour’s notice and everyone was made redundant. I am not religious but saw this as a sign that I should take the plunge and go self-employed.
The first week of being unemployed was a blur. I had little money after paying my rent and bills and by the end of the week, I only had £10 left. I took a gamble and went to the library and started researching businesses in York that I wanted to work with. I then started writing personalised letters and used my last £10 to print them all off.
I realised that I needed to target small, independent businesses as agencies typically didn’t offer a service which was accessible to them. I wanted to create an agency that offered price points that would be accessible to all.
I had little money left after I printed the letters off so the next day I walked into town and hand-delivered the letters, talking directly with the owners of the business about ways in which I could help them with their marketing, PR and social media initiatives.
Within two weeks of doing this, I had a full roster of clients and have never looked back.
2.What were the biggest challenges you faced when bringing the idea to market?
Time was the biggest challenge I faced as I was a one lady band at the start with no support network around me. Now, I have a fantastic team of freelancers who help me with larger projects.
3.Where do you think good ideas come from and what inspires you?
I grew up in a family that had little to no money, and we were often concerned about where the next meal would come from. Having a strong work ethic was instilled in me from a young age and I made a promise to myself quite young that when I grew up, I would improve my quality of life through education, saving money each month and making a better life for myself.
I now give back through a charity called The Island which is based in York. I mentor a young child who is in a similar situation to the one I was in all those years ago. I help the child to improve their confidence, self-esteem and resilience levels.
4.What are your company’s values and why are these things important to the business?
Doing good through business is important to me. By supporting small, independent businesses I feel I am making a real difference to the local community, and to sole traders who are starting it out alone just like I did.
As well as this, I am a keen gardener and wildlife enthusiast. I heavily finance the work of Yorkshire hedgehog rescues and recently purchased an incubator for one of them. I also support the work The Island does by getting involved with their charitable initiatives, such as the York 10k, and helping out at events amongst other things.
5.What is next for your brand?
I am launching e-learning courses soon, with the first being on “How to Write a Media Release”. I am also looking to release TikTok, Facebook, and Mailchimp e-learning courses in the future.
Besides this, I am looking at starting a monthly co-working space in a city center venue to bring self-employed people together to work, collaborate and network with one another.
6.What one piece of advice would you have for someone just starting out on their business journey or currently going through a setback?
Do as much research as you can into your target audience and competitors. Make sure you build relationships with your clients, don’t seek purely sales – instead, seek to help them and to support charitable causes close to your heart.
Also, take time out and don’t be too hard on yourself. Instead, use setbacks as a chance to improve and ask for feedback.
7.What resources and tools do you use to remain productive or up-to-date on industry trends etc?
I use a wide range of tools to stay up-to-date. I read regular industry literature and consult PR databases. I couldn’t be without digital tools from Google Suite like Google Trends, Console, Analytics, Meets, and Calendar. However, there is nothing like a good old-fashioned diary to keep me organised.
More info on Little Seed Group
Company Name: Little Seed Group
LinkedIn handle: Little Seed Group
Twitter handle: LittleSeedEllen
Facebook handle: Little Seed Group