Woman in Progress: Sam Burgess, founder of Social Mouth
This week we have social media consultant Sam Burgess of Social Mouth. In a nutshell she helps "small creative brand owners find their voice online." We love that she is her own product - her clients get her honest and expert advice straight from Sam herself, no gimmicks. Sam's own journey to Social Mouth wasn't entirely without unexpected events, find out more in her interview below. Thank you Sam for being our Woman in Progress, we're so excited to have you!
I'm Sam, aka "Social Mouth Sam" and I am social media marketing consultant coaching creative small businesses and independent retailers to grow audiences that buy through finding their voice and being heard by their customer. I also host a top 40 iTunes business podcast, "Small and Mighty". I live in the borough of Richmond-Upon-Thames, with my husband and our miniature dachshund Monty.
I have fifteen years retail experience and have always known I wanted to work in retail or something closely related to retail. In late 2015 I had a calling that told me I needed to stop working in retail marketing, where I helped line the pockets of the already wealthy big-bods, and offer affordable marketing advice to the creators, makers and independent shopkeepers of the UK and so Social Mouth was born in early 2016.
What’s the one thing in your life that makes things easier?
That's a tough one, aside from my husband and my family of course; I would have to say my business friends. Having close friends that also run their own businesses that I can talk openly and frankly with about my business, keeps me sane!
What’s the one thing you couldn’t live without?
Wifi! I'd love to say something more profound, but honestly, I question what we did before the internet.
What’s one thing that you would stop if you could?
Trolling. I hate that people have the power to bully others anonymously from behind their screens. My mum always said, if you wouldn't say it to their face then you shouldn't say it all.
What one piece of advice would you give yourself 5 years ago?
The first year is going to be a challenge, and you're going to question yourself daily. Don't let the imposter syndrome gremlin cling to your back; “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and loved more than you know.”
What one piece of advice would you give yourself ten years ago?
Ten years ago I was made redundant during the recession; it was an incredibly tough time but every decision I made from the day I was made redundant has led me to where I am now. I'd just tell myself, to enjoy the ride and not to cry - being made redundant was the best thing to happen - not the worst.
What are you most proud of?
That no matter what has happened to me; I've bounced back stronger and even more determined than before. I have no idea where this fierce determination in me has come from, but it burns like an enormous bonfire. I am so proud of all I have achieved in just two short years; to have supported and encouraged so many other amazing women to achieve their dreams - just like I am achieving mine.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned at work?
It's a really tough one, but the better you do; the more people will stab you in the back. I never expected this to be the case, but you need such a tough skin in business, and I've had to grow a strong armour.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned at home?
Leave work at the door. Even though my job is my life; it is so important not to let it become all-consuming and make time for your friends, family and loved ones.
Did you expect to be doing what you’re doing right now?
Nope! I always wanted my own shop; on the high street though, not online. The recession and changing commerce landscape ended that dream ten years ago, but I love what I do and can't imagine doing anything different.
How did you end up doing what you’re doing?
I didn't go to university and only just managed to get GCSE's and AS Levels after being expelled from boarding school. I was never really one for learning in school; I like to teach myself, and my passion for retail and thirst for knowledge in marketing and social media has meant that I equipped myself with the skills I needed to set up on my own. I think some people are supposed to work for themselves, and others are supposed to work for them, and that's fine - that's what makes the world work.
What top tip would you pass on to other women in progress reading this?
What are you waiting for? If you don't do it, someone else will, and you'll always wonder "what if". Personally, I would rather have tried and failed, than have never started.
Are you done yet? What’s next?
I'm not even close to being done; in the last six months my business has taken off in ways I never expected it to and what I started Social Mouth to do has become such a fantastic resource and empowering pillar in the small (and mighty) creative business community. I want to continue pushing it forward and helping more and more small business owners achieve their goals.
Thank you Sam for being a part of this ongoing feature - we love to support women (especially those supporting others along the way). You can find out more about Sam and Social Mouth via her plentiful social media: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Take a look, press follow, we did and love what we found.