I am company director for Scotair Global Ltd www.scotair.com- International Hot Air Balloon & Thermal Airship Operators / Web Designers & TV Format Creators
I am also a partner in The HOPE Consultancy www.thehopeconsultancy.org.uk– a Fundraising and Marketing consultancy firm.
My particular speciality with both organisations is web design, branding, digital marketing and fundraising, use of social media and database analysis and development.
How did you get interested in what you do? What advice was available to you when you chose this career direction?
I fell in to both industries from an administrative background which I increasingly found stifling and boring. I had no plan to chose this career and it didn't feature on my radar as a younger woman so no advice was sought. I enjoy being creative and found web design to be a great outlet, initially for my own business before word of mouth spread and taking on external clients.
What was your journey to reach the role you are in today?
I left school with GCSE's in English, Maths, History, Biology, Geography, Drama and French. Having been bullied throughout my final two years at High School I did not wish to continue with education, particularly as we only had one college nearby where the bullies were planning to go so chose instead to enter the workforce.
Whilst still at school I got a job waitressing in a local hotel and when I left school with no plan for the future they offered me a job as a trainee hotel manager. Being completely useless at the cleaning/waitressing and cooking side of the training I found I enjoyed working on reception but not being in charge of others. I moved from the hotel industry into the aviation industry as a receptionist for a Hot Air Balloon manufacturers.
I haveene b in the Aviation industry for over 20 years now. After meeting my husband who ran his own Hot Air Balloon Rides company I joined him in the business, initially as an administrator.
As the business grew I became frustrated with the limitations in using outside companies to provide our branding and website and researched available packages online to take over these tasks myself. Through trial and error my abilities grew and through word of mouth the web design, digital marketing and branding branch of the business took off. I read extensively 'how to' manuals provided with the packages I use and continuously pushed myself to learn more. With experience came confidence and skill.
I became involved with the fundraising sector working initially as an administrator for an international charity before setting up The HOPE Consultancy with my friend and business partner. She has a number of years experience in the fundraising sector and we found a gap in the market for a consultancy able to help charities with their marketing and fundraising needs.
Both roles have progressed from administration, my ability to use a computer and my creative flair. I have found a niche that allows me a creative outlet to bring to life a clients vision.
Talk me through a day in your life... what sorts of things would it involve?
I am self employed and therefore am able to set my hours and my agenda. Sometimes I'll work from 7am – 1am stopping for a cup of tea and a bite to eat, other days I have the freedom to not work at all. As a mum this is of paramount importance to me and is what drives all my career choices. As long as I am available when my children need me and I have the freedom to work my own hours, on my own initiative, using my creativity I'm happy.
I deal with Scotair Global Ltds logistics, training & client management both for the Hot Air Balloons and the pilots, in addition to working on web design and brand creation.
A typical day can involve contacting passengers, checking weather, booking accommodation, booking dates in the diary for events the balloon should attend as well as dealing with all invoicing. I also maintain our pilots paperwork ensuring his log books are kept up to date. Our pilot also travels oversees for 4-5 months of the year and I am responsible for ensuring all aviation paperwork is sent to the oversees operator, arranging travel and ensuring the pilot is kept informed of who he is flying, where he needs to be and when.
In addition to the administration, which generally takes place in the morning, I will then either be researching/designing and creating a website for a new client and/or maintaining an existing clients website. This generally takes place in the afternoon to early evening.
In the evening I work on The HOPE Consultancy. A typical session will involve me creating a logo for a new business, creating print ready stationary such as business cards, letterheads, compliment slips, posters, bookmarks, postcards etc, designing and maintaining a website for a client and/or creating html mailing campaigns for international charities.
Was it your planned career when you were 18?
No. I initially wanted to be a dancer having trained from the age of 5 with the Royal Ballet in London. I also toyed with the idea of being a nurse as I enjoy taking care of people. Mostly my ambition was to become a wife and mum.
What did your mum and dad want you to do?
When they realised I was not going to make the most of my dancing abilities my parents owned a driving school and liked the idea of my training to become an instructor to join them in the family firm.
What advice would you give to someone interested in your career?
Spend time with someone actually doing the job. The fundraising sector is a particularly good sector to get into and one I would highly recommend. The work is varied and challenging but so worthwhile. You can inspire and really make a difference to the world whilst doing something you enjoy and are paid for.
What other directions could you go in /work in within your field other than the job you have chosen?
I am particularly interested in creating brands so working with think tanks and marketing/advertising companies would be an option.