Interview with Vanessa Geraghty McGann
I am so excited to introduce my next Inspiring Mum in business Vanessa Geraghty McGann, Founder of Vivacity Marketing, a Marketing Consulting, Marketing Coaching and Digital Marketing business based in Perth.
Vanessa just amazes me, she seems to be here there and everywhere and ALWAYS with a beautiful smile on her face.
What is your Why? What motivated you to get into business?
I started Vivacity Marketing in July 2017, after being made redundant from my corporate marketing job. I knew my redundancy was a blessing in disguise, as I had worked in the corporate marketing world for 15+ years and it was slowly killing me inside! I knew I wanted to be able to contribute to the business world and give back. I knew I had so much knowledge and experience to share. So my massive why is to give back. I do this through the services I offer in Vivacity Marketing - Marketing School, Marketing Coaching, Web Design and Outsourced Digital Marketing. I aim to help small to medium size business owners build a business that is truly vibrant, attracts a continuous flow of clients and a business that really stands out in a cluttered market place.
And I also have a big why of giving back, and generosity which is why I support a range of charities:
1. Opportunity International Australia - I am a proud Ambassador for this cause , and Opportunity provide micro finance loans to women living in poverty so that they can start a small business. Then they pay back their loan and the loans get recycled. I love this model which is why I am sure a strong advocate of it.
2. Pieta House - These are a charity based in my home town of Dublin, Ireland, that counsel people who want to commit suicide or the families of those that have. They have been a huge support for a close family member of mine.
And I also support 12 Buckets, Sleepbus and Pura Vida. I think it's incredibly rewarding to be able to be part of the change that these charities are making. It's up to us as business owners to generate employment and also give back to those less fortunate than us.
What are some of the challenges you have had to overcome?
I guess my biggest challenge was starting a business in Perth, where I didn't really have any business network. And I started my business when my daughter was only 2. So between sleepless night, and getting a business up and running it was pretty full on. I worked long hours the first year in business, as I am sure all small business owners do, as I was determined to hit my business goals in year one and smash them out of the park.
And I did and it was worth it, and has probably aged me 10 years ha ha! And I just got out and networked a lot in the past 18 months to build my business to where it is today. I love a chat so business networking comes easy to me, I know some dread it! But I genuinely love meeting new people and hearing their story.
What did you worry about the most when you started your business?
I guess what most business owners worry about, getting enough clients. But I knew that I just had to be consistent with my marketing plan and marketing efforts and success and clients would come and they did. I always had a marketing budget from the very start. It's crucial to do that. I also used to worry about cash flow too, as I am partners with a load of freelancers here in Perth that I used for a variety of digital marketing services, so ensuring the client paid me on time so that I could pay my freelancers. It's probably an ongoing worry it never ends ha ha! And of course paying myself.
How do you find the juggle of kids and a business?
Well wine helps ha ha! Look it is a challenge, I don't have my parents here to help out as they live back home in Ireland. But luckily my mother in law helps out so much when I need to go to networking events in the evening or on the weekend, as my husband is a Chiropractor and has just bought a clinic, so at the moment we are both two ships passing in the night as he works late in the evenings and every Saturday.
My daughter is in Kindy now which is a challenge as her days are shorter than what they were at daycare. But I just have to adapt and adjust. I work around my daughter the best I can. I get back online at night to finish work if I need to after she has gone to bed. I know she won't always be this young so I am trying to manage the Mum guilt with workload. I used to be in the juggling club at university so I am actually good at juggling! I am really time efficient so I power through my client work and my own marketing work for my business. I always prioritise this. And that's how my business has grown so much in the past 18 months.
How do you prioritise work time when working from home?
I work while my daughter is at Kindy Monday - Wednesday. On Thursday she goes to her Nans for the day. And then if I need any extra help outside of that I book it in with my in laws to mind my daughter. So the time I have I need to be really productive and efficient.
So I do time blocks in my diary daily of tasks that need to be complete and I look each week at what I can outsource to my part time Marketing Consultant or VA. If I am meeting a client I generally go to their office or a cafe, so I have specific days allocated to when client meetings are too. I am pretty good project manager, my years in corporate working for global brands such as Coke and Cadbury taught be to be a great project manager, with tight deadlines!
What has been a game changer for you in your business?
What has worked really well for me in my business from the beginning is I invested in a great website, SEO, business networking, market research and a strong marketing content plan. I consistently commit to these marketing activities which has led to me building a global six figure business in my first 12 months in business.
I am also really good at listening to my gut and ideas that pop into my head and actioning them quickly. I always research the idea with the target demographic but I believe it's ok to launch something if it's not quite perfect and polish it up as you go along. That's definitely worked for me with the new services I have launched.
And the other huge thing that has been a game changer in my business is surrounding myself with a circle of mentors. I have invested in a range of mentors from the beginning and that has been so beneficial in getting me to be where I am today.
What do you think is the biggest barrier most ambitious Mums face?
I think the biggest barrier has to be the Mum guilt holding us back. The fact that to succeed sometimes you have to sacrifice some family time, and time with your kids and that never gets easier and you feel guilty and feel like a bad Mom for it. And also I know that for me, after I had my daughter my confidence was gone.
I didn't believe in myself, my abilities or my skills, so I don't think I would have started my business unless I had been made redundant like I was. Plus we are exposed to this fake world on social media where people paint a picture of this perfect life, perfect business, perfect family and it's all simply not true. Every business owner has spent a day or two crying on the floor, but we just pick our selves up, dust ourselves off and grab a glass of wine and move forward! We learn from our mistakes and challenges, they keep us on our toes.
What tips do you have for Mums wanting to start a business?
I would say treat your business seriously from the beginning. Have the funds behind you to build a marketing plan, and business plan. Do market research to test your product/service idea. Make sure you are offering something that's different or unique. Know your core message and point of difference and communicate it. And make sure you get some mentors in your life such as a business coach, finance coach or marketing coach. Wherever your knowledge gaps lie, go and get some 1 on 1 mentoring in that area.
And always build you marketing strategy and plan prior to launching your business. And believe that you can be a success, be willing to put in the work and the world is your oyster :)