I never really enjoyed school, I felt like I never really found my “thing” until Sixth Form when I started A Level Business Studies. Once my passion for business was ignited, I applied for the BA (Hons) Business and Management at Cardiff Met and my mind was set. In the first year of the course, the modules vary from Finance to Human Resource Management and whilst I knew that Marketing was the road I wanted to go down, I am so thankful for the vast experience the different modules gave me. Having a broader understanding has stood me in good stead for running my own business today.
During my second year, I decided to take a marketing pathway and never looked back. I loved delving into a more specific elements of business management and the modules really challenged my thinking and forced me to think big. I remember going into the International Marketing module with preconceived ideas and came out of it with an entirely different view of marketing, which again, press forward 3 years has been an integral part of the way I approach my client’s challenges, which differ at a local and national level.
For my third year project, I decided to do a marketing plan and based it on a Welsh insurance comparison site. I loved the process of being given a challenge, immersing myself in the industry and target audience, and mixing data and creativity to devise a strategy and implementation plan. Through this, I realised how integral digital was in the future of marketing and set my sights on the MSc Digital Marketing Management at Cardiff Met and I’m so glad I did. The course delved into aspects of marketing that I was yet to explore such as data analytics and paid strategies and it pushed me out of my comfort zone. I remember my final project tutor, John, telling me to have more confidence in my ability and whenever I doubt myself, I still remind myself what John said.
My family has always called me ‘Del Boy’, whether I’m selling wooden reindeer at a Christmas market or creating event decor on the weekends, I have always had a passion for spotting a gap in the market, coming up with an idea and seeing it through (and making some money along the way is always nice!). When I completed my Masters, I left Cardiff Met full of ideas and the entrepreneurial fire in my belly, but initially I felt a pressure to go down the safe route of getting a job and working my way up the ladder. I still wasn’t entirely sure which area of digital marketing I wanted to go into, so went out and got some work experience.
During this time I spotted a real gap in the market to deliver digital marketing help to small to medium size local businesses, who may not have the budget to employ somebody inhouse or outsource to a big agency. Once I started to put the feelers out in my hometown I was overwhelmed by the response and clear need for this service. Particularly since the rise of social media, whether you are Topshop or the local dentist, digital marketing is now essential to reach and engage your audience. Yet, a lot of local businesses either don’t have the time or skills to utilise this and that is now where Captivate comes in!
I had graduated from my Masters in September and set up Captivate in January. It’s been hard work and there have been moments that I have doubted myself, but the knowledge and confidence I developed during my degrees at Cardiff Met gave me the determination to push myself, challenge my thoughts and to never stop learning; leading to where I am today. I feel so lucky that everyday I get to be the helping hand for local businesses and also be my own boss. My days are so varied, I can be creating a marketing strategy for an app one day and creating content for beauty brands the next – everyday is different. I have big plans for Captivate and can’t wait to grow the team, challenge the status quo and continue to captivate audiences, big and small. I have also been lucky enough to be shortlisted for ‘Graduate Start-Up of the Year’ in the Welsh Start Up Awards, an achievement I’m definitely proud of!
If I could give my undergraduate self any advice, it would be to be confident in your ideas, work hard, go to the 9am lectures and never stop learning. Whatever your goals and dreams are, as cliched as it sounds, you have one life to live, so never tell yourself your dreams are too big and take the risks you feel a bit scared of!