“Lack of confidence holds back small business owners” – Nicola Little of Sparkle Communications
FROM primary school teacher to digital trainer, Nicola Little of Sparkle Communications is passionate about educating and empowering others. She talks Kim Kardashian, self worth and the power of networking.
What did you want to be growing up?
A teacher. Or a shop keeper like my parents and grandparents. I taught for five years in primary education so I happily fulfilled my dream, and although I don’t have a shop, I do run my own business!
“For most small business owners, they’re prevented moving forward because of a lack of confidence. Whether it be digital, time management or charging a fair rate for their service or product. I think being confident in your own ability and what you do is vital when running a small business.”
How did you end up in the job you’re doing now?
I left teaching to set up Daisy Green Magazine in 2008. I’d had enough of the politics.
The concept of Daisy Green was simple, an online woman’s magazine for those of us interested in more ethically produced, UK and handmade products. I ran the business for five years and at one point there was a team of five of us. We launched the clothes swaps in the North-East (and travelled all over the UK too) and ran really large events.
It was extremely challenging working in such a niche and at the time, people didn’t quite comprehend that digital coverage needs to be paid for!
I launched Sparkle Communications with Jen Robson nearly three years ago. As two women running a digital communications agency we’re concerned with helping other micro businesses get to grips with all things digital. If we can #DoDigital, anyone can!
Have qualifications got you where you are, has it been sheer hard work and talent or a combination?
When you grow up watching your parents and grandparents really graft running their own businesses, you’re instilled with a really strong work ethic. It’s part of my character and I never really switch off completely from working.
But, I have my business degree, post grad qualifications and professional memberships too. I value work experience and education in equal measure.
“I’d like to work with influential women who could be better role models for others. So say Kim Kardashian, who’s audience is enormous, but so much of her coverage is so negative from a female role model point of view. Caitlin Moran, on the face of it, she seems not intimidated to speak and write her mind. And Barack Obama, he must know so many secrets.”
Do you feel pressure to be a role model to others?
When I deliver digital training courses, I really believe that our credibility comes from the fact that I can say, hand on heart, we #DoDigital ourselves. In the digital marketing and PR world, people pop up daily professing to offer the snazzy solutions to our business needs, and yet when you check them out, they aren’t utilising the platforms themselves!
We can only be chosen as role models by proving worthy of being one. If anyone viewed me as a role model I’d be humbled.
Do you prefer networking on social media or face to face?
Both. I love networking face to face and we conceived and launched the Federation of Small Business (FSB) Women’s network in the North-East in 2015.
And I love using social media to meet new people too. Both take time and commitment (and both complement each other) but if you’re prepared to put yourself out there, and speak to people, you get results.
What is a very underrated business skill?
Gosh that’s a question. Ok, for most small business owners, they’re prevented moving forward because of a lack of confidence. Whether it be digital, time management or charging a fair rate for their service or product. I think being confident in your own ability and what you do is vital when running a small business.
And understanding your own worth. We all must know our own worth. Without us, there’d be no business!
How will digital marketing evolve over the next five years?
I can’t imagine! The online world has exploded out of all recognition in the last decade. I can’t always grasp the latest update, new piece of kit or social platform.
It’s exciting though! And businesses will always need marketing no matter what form it comes in.
Which three people (alive/dead, celebrity or not) would you like to work with?
I have found this really difficult. I don’t have a list like lots of people do! I’d like to work with influential women who could be better role models for others. So say Kim Kardashian, who’s audience is enormous, but so much of her coverage is so negative from a female role model point of view. Caitlin Moran, on the face of it, she seems not intimidated to speak and write her mind. And Barack Obama, he must know so many secrets.
What’s one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?
I can be quiet sometimes. Really!
link: linkedin.com/in/nicolajaynelittle tel: 07939 537 123