Interview with a career change mum – Rebecca WoodApril 19, 2017
Today I interview the brilliant Rebecca Wood. Rebecca is a multidisciplinary illustrator living in Hertfordshire, UK, who creates unique fashion illustrations, pregnancy and wedding portraits, floral and food illustrations. She is inspired by the beauty she sees around her in nature, fashion, the human form and delicious food.
1. What gave you the idea to start up your business?
I worked in full time positions at London branding and design agencies for over 10 years, but I’d started to feel ‘trapped’. I therefore decided after having my daughter Florence 3 years ago that it was the right time to pursue the freedom and flexibility I was longing. I took the plunge and haven’t looked back. I feel so much more inspired and liberated now that I have my hybrid career of freelance brand strategy and copywriting, as well as having recently launched my business Bloom Illustrations where I paint pregnancy portraits and other illustration commissions.
2. What did you do to prepare to start up your business?
Researched my market and spoke to my target audience (primarily pregnant women and mums for my illustration business). For my freelance brand strategy and copywriting, my main preparation was getting back in touch with previous clients and colleagues to let them know I was going freelance. Most of my freelance business has come through clients approaching directly via LinkedIn.
3. Which aspects of your business did you need help with? Where did you get that help?
My website – I kept putting it off as it was something that I felt overwhelmed and uninspired by. After Ruth introduced me to Squarespace I realised it wasn’t as daunting as I had originally thought and it was just a case of making a start. That said, my website is still very much a work in progress. I think some of the other biggest areas I have needed help with are setting goals, understanding Instagram and having a sense of accountability – all of which Ruth has helped me hugely with (and still does).
4. Describe what your business does and who you target it at / your ideal client.
I launched Bloom Illustrations as a unique way to capture and celebrate precious memories like pregnancy, weddings and family moments with elegant watercolour and pen illustrations. It is also driven by my desire to embrace real beauty and celebrate individuality and since starting and gaining traction on Instagram I have realised that my illustrations are also an original way of bringing to life and promoting clothing and accessory brands that share my values.
With my freelance brand strategy and copywriting, I help businesses define their positioning, and bring this to life in a way that increases engagement with their target audience. I’ve worked on a variety of brands, from large brands like Absolut Vodka and Onken, to small independent brands and start-ups.
5. What is the most rewarding thing about having your own business?
Having the freedom and flexibility to pursue my passions and set my own goals. And being able to do this whilst also being able to spend more time with my 2 toddlers than my previous full-time job would have allowed. One of things I am also really inspired by at the moment is exploring and establishing some exciting brand collaborations with businesses that believe in the same things as me i.e. celebrating being yourself, embracing individuality, and having fun.
6. What has been the biggest challenge?
As much as I love the freedom and variety, it has taken me a while to train myself to embrace the uncertainty and somewhat unpredictable nature of setting up my own business. On the weeks I am working from home with no meetings I do also really miss the buzz and community of being in a dynamic office, chatting and bouncing ideas off inspiring people. My husband totally knows which days I have been working home alone because I am a crazy chatterbox by the time he comes home!
7. If you could go back and give yourself some advice what would it be?
Don’t overthink and over analyse to the point that you actually put off ever starting the task at hand – a lot of the time I have found it is about having the confidence and faith to take the first step and then the journey naturally unfolds and gains momentum from there.
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