It's the third week of our team blog series and this week we hear from one of our fantastic course tutors, Clare Mellor.
I’m Clare, 35, and have been married to John, 37, for five years. We live in South West London and have a little boy Frank, two. Our second baby is due in July so we're counting the days. I love film, travel, food and fashion. I'm also totally addicted to Instagram and would be absolutely lost without my phone!
IN THE BEGINNING
I grew up near Cambridge with two big brothers and a lovely group of girl friends, who I still can’t do without 25 years on. My memories of school are quite hazy – I mainly remember getting up to mischief and an obsession with George Clooney (the ER years). I went on to have an amazing time at Northumbria University in Newcastle - making friends, partying, shopping in Primark… oh and getting a degree in English & Film Studies.
WORKING LIFE BEFORE DIGITAL MUMS
After university I took a risk and moved to London with no job and a well-worn overdraft. Luckily though I landed a position at Penguin Books working in pre-school rights. I then moved into the digital marketing team and worked my way up from online assistant to web manager in the travel guides team. It was such a great place to work - I had a lovely team and got to talk about travel all day.
When I got the seven-year itch, I turned to my other love: movies, and became the digital marketing manager for Vue Cinemas HQ. It was a full-on role with a crazy workload but I enjoyed the fast pace and who wouldn't love the premieres. My highlight was meeting Colin Firth for a Twitter interview – it obviously had to be done in person!
After Frank came along, I wanted my role to be a lot more flexible to fit in with family life. Unfortunately that just wasn't an option so I decided to resign. My story is a common one amongst Digital Mums.
I was really taken aback at how difficult it was to find part-time work in my field – even with more than ten years digital marketing experience behind me. I’d worked up to a senior level in my career and I felt really demotivated at the idea of leaving this behind to take a junior role. But at the same time, I wanted to stay home and look after my little boy.
So I made the decision to go it alone as a digital marketing/content freelancer. I did find a few freelance jobs but I felt I wasn’t utilising many of my skills. I read about Digital Mums and as I already had a lot of experience in social media I contacted them about becoming a course tutor. I'm one of the team that hasn't actually done the course due to my previous experience. It all felt like such a great fit for what I was looking for – and the whole ethos behind it made so much sense to me. It’s a real pleasure to work for a business you believe in.
DIGITAL MUMS LIFE
I’m now a course tutor at Digital Mums and work two days a week (plus a few evenings and nap times!) which means I can be with Frank three days a week. It’s totally flexible working, where I can work from home at times that suit me – but still be part of a team, and not miss the (remote) office banter!
As a tutor, I mentor groups of mums through their training – this includes initially facilitating the relationship between the mums and their programme partners, assessing and feeding back on assignments, and regular catch-ups to answer any queries or concerns.
One of the key stages for me is the initial social strategy call with the programme partner and their assigned mum. It’s my job to drill down into the business and ensure all the right questions are asked on the call so the trainee is super-clear on their audience, and business and social media objectives in order to design their campaign plan, early on in the course.
I started training for the role last year by shadowing another tutor and now tutor three cohorts of mums myself. I really enjoy getting to know the mums I mentor and seeing them progress on the course. I can clearly see their confidence growing as they learn new skills and I love it when they see successes in their campaigns or get great feedback from their clients.
This is actually my last week before I go off on maternity leave. I love working here and am planning to come back once I'm into the swing of life as a family of four. Digital Mums have been really supportive. It's so refreshing working somewhere that feels so strongly about flexible working and #workthatworks.
TOP DIGITAL MUMS MOMENT
The Digital Mums HQ team are awesome! Everyone’s really supportive and positive about the business. Even as the company continues to grow and the team expands, the positivity remains and you can tell everyone really believes in what they are doing. It really is a great atmosphere to work in.
I feel lucky to be part of it and lucky to have been able to balance it with spending time with Frank – the little monkey is lots of fun.
MY #DOTHEHUSTLE TIP
As a freelancer, you have to be confident and believe in your abilities and your worth to your clients. Balancing your work-life with motherhood doesn’t devalue your hard-earned skills and experience. Be sure you never under-sell yourself.
I met ‘the Hoff’ when I was working at Penguin and was completely star-struck – he asked me where the elevators were, and I literally stared at him open-mouthed and couldn’t speak!