Meet Sarah Clay, from Highbury, London. Sarah completed our Social Media Management Course and is now working nearly full time as a social media manager flexibly from home. In this guest blog she shares how retraining with Digital Mums’ has been the leg up to a flexible career which is not only family friendly but allows her to pursue other interests too.
“Bored. Under appreciated. Overqualified and underpaid. Mums in part time work often make these complaints. Like most mums I was finding it impossible to find any kind of decent part-time or flexible work, which was interesting, engaging and paid a half decent salary. So I thought the job of a social media manager may just be the answer.
My background before Digital Mums was in the film industry with my latest job after having my three children Ruby, 19, Zella, 17 and Cosmo, 11, as Head of PR for the animation studio Nexus Studios. I also spent time studying photography after the kids were born. Even though I had experience in social media via my PR work I knew it wouldn’t be enough to launch myself as a freelance social media manager. So after a bit of research I chose to study with Digital Mums. Never afraid of a challenge, I was really excited when I first looked at the course material — until I actually read it! I chose the Social Media Management Course and felt physically sick when I realised I would have to set up and run my own campaigns across three social media platforms — I was really wondering what on earth I had let myself in for!
We were assigned our ‘cohort’ of 7, given our log in details, and off we went nervously clicking on the square saying ‘Week 1’. The first ‘Google Hangout’ was almost as nerve racking as that scary job interview. Teeth cleaned, hair patted, picture on the wall behind me straightened, several random keys pressed and the first face appeared on my computer screen, followed in turn by the others and soon we were giggling and chatting like old friends. Our first task was to give ourselves a team name. Diplomacy and tact were rife but our characters were already beginning to shine through. So ‘Teamelia’ was born — named after Amelia Earhart as it felt like we were all learning to fly.
No surprise whatsoever, that this group of diverse, interesting, intelligent, crazy (well there’s always one!), women leaned on and supported each other 100% during the intense roller coaster ride called the ‘Digital Mums Social Media Management Course’. We set up a ‘whatsapp’ group, which is full of hilarity, frustration and a bond like superglue. During the course my father became very ill and towards the end of the course, he died. I was travelling up and down the A1, posting, doing coursework, filming etc. all for my campaign EasyFoodN5. This incredible group of women, who I still haven’t met, even now (!) were so helpful and supportive, and always managed to say the right thing.
“What a wonderful thing a woman is.” (John Stienbeck: The Winter of our Discontent)
So what have I learnt? Skills-wise — I have single-handedly created a successful brand from scratch in 6 months. Dah nah! When I go to the pub, people are talking about ‘EasyFoodN5’. I get posts and recipe shares from friends, family, people I don’t know, grannies and young people. I love them all! I have learnt how to make half decent films and post them on social media (not counting the one where the tripod fell in the sink of course — popular out-take though it was!), I have learnt how to photograph food so it looks, well, pretty good and I have learnt a lot about myself. I have learnt about KPI’s, vlogs, (I can even call myself a ‘vlogger’) and reading social media metrics is something I can almost do in my sleep.
Talking of sleep — don’t expect to get much of it while doing this course! I could of course, have stuck to the recommended 15 hours a week but I was addicted! All those years of screaming at the kids to ‘get off your phones’, ‘no screen at the table’, ‘no screen an hour before bed or you won’t sleep’. Ha ha ha! Out the window they flew like a paper aeroplane (what’s paper?). Before I even turned over to wish my husband good morning, I had re-tweeted, ‘liked’ and ‘shared’ my innermost thoughts with all kinds of strangers. The family had to get used to eating cold suppers while holding my home-made reflector (tin foil wrapped over an old cardboard box), over their once piping-hot lasagne and, the poor kids — all those vegetables they had to eat! They kept reminding me that it wasn’t a vegetarian website.
So what does my work life look like now? After graduating last September I set myself up as Sarah Clay Social. I have 3 fantastic clients so am working pretty much full time. I also provide one on one and group tutorials and consultancy which I love. While I wanted to keep my course campaign @EasyFoodN5 going, there just hasn’t been the time. Client-wise I look after the Turks Head Pub in Twickenham. I do all their social plus some filming and photography - I have complete creative freedom; they’re a great bunch. I also look after the Instagram, Facebook & Facebook group for Just Strong Clothing who aren’t based in London but my client and I message each other all the time, distance is no object! I also work for an agency where I’m the UK Community Manager for the Mattel account. This one is so much fun as I get to be Barbie and Thomas the Tank Engine!
The Digital Mums’ course has taught me so much and has also given me a group of wonderful women on a similar journey. So it turns out I was right about Social Media Management being the perfect flexible career; thank you Digital Mums for the brilliant leg up, I could not have done this without you.