So, if you follow us on social media - especially LinkedIn - you will have seen we have just had our 9th birthday.
Happy Birthday V8Media!
I can’t actually believe it’s been 9 years since we setup. As one of the original founders and the only remaining original Director working on the business, it’s been quite a journey getting this far. When we setup originally, I was Sales Director; this was easy as I just did what I did best and what I loved the most: liaising with businesses and providing solutions. But 6 years ago, that changed drastically and I took on the role of Managing Director but still had to maintain my position as the main person developing the business from a sales and marketing prospective. It was tough and I’ve learnt so much.
So here are the most important things I’ve learnt not only as a Director, but mainly as MD over the last 9 years! What has surprised me most in my learning has been that the areas that had the biggest impact have been the things I’ve learnt about myself and my own health and wellbeing. It’s taken me until now to realise that fundamentally, if you don’t look after yourself then nothing else will be fully complete. You can run the best business but if you burn out, what happens next? I was warned when we setup to look after myself but I didn’t get it - not until now.
Health is number 1! It took 5 years to even begin to learn this important lesson. In 2014 I was sick a lot, going in and out of hospital regularly and having to work from home. I felt pretty terrible overall. Without going in to details, my health had deteriorated through stress, lack of exercise, being overweight and having a bad diet (like really bad - Greggs loved me!). This led to my body going into melt down. Fast forward now and I take time every day for me – I exercise daily (most days…Okay 4-6 days a week but we’re talking 10 or more hours a week in total). I fuel my body with the best food and avoid junk, especially sugar. I sleep well. I may not sleep long during the week but I have a sleeping routine that I’m happy with and that suits me. I prioritise my health. If I’m burning out or I’m sick, I stop or slow down and I rest rather pushing through it and making it worse.
This has literally changed my life and the business! I started exercising at Pure-Studios 3 years ago and wow what a difference! I do aerial arts including Pole Dancing, Aerial Hoop and other aerial-based disciplines and dance. Exercise not only keeps me fit but relaxes me! I can’t think about V8Media when I’m hanging upside down as I need to concentrate on staying firmly off the ground! Find something you love and be proud of it! It took a while to get over the guilt of exercising most nights rather than working but I still work 10-12 hour days; I just make time for me too. Exercising has enabled me to achieve so much more here because I am in a better frame of mind and I am healthier.
Make time for the team.
Juggling many hats has been tough over the last 9 years. I will often neglect my Managing Director role because I’m busy selling or I delegate sales as I’m busy being MD! It’s a hard balance to strike. What has helped is ensuring that I make time for the team and put a manager in place. We have regular one-to-one meetings, staff meetings and management meetings which all help me to understand what is going on, enable me to keep the team up to date with what I’m doing and allow me to see any potential issues sooner and deal with/prioritise them better. Team building is important too. Organise regular team building because as a service based company, our team are our products! We look after them and encourage them to bond and work well together and why not have some fun too?
Make time for customers but delegate this too you can’t do everything as the more customers you have, the harder it is to get round to them all. Find ways in which the team are all managing this process and be creative and proactive in how you stay in touch with your customers. Get regular feedback – create surveys and encourage people to tell you what you do well and what needs to he improved. Never be afraid of negative feedback as you learn so much more from it! Don’t bury negative feedback: embrace it, discuss it, learn from it and then move on. Make sure you continually keep up to date with what customers require and where the marketplace is heading and try to get ahead of the competition. Be real, be honest and be open as you can remain professional but still be all of these things.
Never stop learning. Learn from mistakes, read every day, listen to audiobooks, listen to your customers and team, and attend training courses. One thing I keep neglecting is networking and attending seminars but when I do have the time, it makes a such a difference. I have so many more ideas and I learn from other people by listening to their experiences and lessons. There isn’t a day that goes by here when I don’t learn something - more often from mistakes/trial and error but aren’t those the best lessons?
- Claire Wozencroft
Managing Director, V8Media