🎂 More Diverse Voices is officially one year old! 🎂
And, staying true to my Virgo moon 🌚 /analytical mind, I’ve kept a database of everything that’s happened.
Part impact measurement tool, part self-performance analysis, part content creator – this spreadsheet logged every piece of client work, every piece of coverage secured, every social media post posted, every workshop delivered, every blog drafted, every project lost, every penny spent, every penny made, every pro-bono session given.
Below is a summary of how it’s gone: the good, the things that didn’t go quite to plan, the things I am proud of and my goals for next year.
❤️ It’s been an overwhelmingly positive experience so far – thank you to every person and organisation that has been part of this journey!
1. Caring and courageous clients:
“From fintechs and innovation foundations to social enterprises and charities, we work with organisations building a more diverse and inclusive world” – More Diverse Voices
One of the most rewarding things has been working with some truly awesome clients, doing some truly awesome things.
Big or small, listed company or tiny startup, a day of consulting or a 9-month project – I’ve enjoyed every project I’ve worked on.
- 15 clients, 23 projects – covering: LGBTQIA+ representation, accessible and inclusive transport, disability activism, financial inclusion, financial feminism, EDI investment, racial equality, the justice system, ending homelessness, sustainable fashion, inclusive language, neurodiverse training
- 7 communication strategies mapped out
- 17 workshops delivered to 430 people
- 5 inclusive language audits
- 104 articles in the press – including British GQ, The Independent and TimeOut
- 60,000 words written for clients, 28 pieces of content created, including: x2 long-form reports, x5 press releases, x2 website copy, x10 blogs, x1 thought leadership piece, x1 educational courses, x1 email campaign
- 7 testimonials collected
- 4.8 average rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
2. Meaningful marketing:
“Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue.” – Andrew Davis
As someone who works in communication, I know the value of content. For my clients, but also for growing my own business.
It’s how you connect with your audience and build trust. It’s also how to educate your audience, share the experiences of others and build empathy – three essential components of equality, diversity and inclusion work.
So blogging, thought leadership, website design, social media and press were all baked into More Diverse Voices’ growth and impact strategy.
- x2 websites built – a minimal viable product on SquareSpace and then an updated one on WordPress
- x1 rebrand on Canva
- x1 video – thank you Year Here for putting this together
- x2 social media accounts
- x78 LinkedIn posts from my personal account, one viral(ish) post, 100,000 impressions and 1,500 engagements, covering: bi-awareness, female leadership, supporting social entrepreneurs, neurodiversity, mentorship, inclusive language, ethical storytelling, EDI comms planning
- x1 newsletter with 379 subscribers,12 articles posted, 4354 reads
- x1 hiring social media manager and copywriter for More Diverse Voices business account – courtesy of the fabulous Luke Manton of Manton Executives and Ellie Perkins 🌞 of Write & Sunny
3. No-frills finance:
“Money makes the world go around” – Sally Bowles, Cabaret
At the beginning of setting More Diverse Voices up, my main financial goal was to pay myself a reasonable salary that I could live on comfortably. This was a non-negotiable, as I wanted to spend as much of my time building More Diverse Voices and not splitting my time across multiple part-time jobs.
I also knew I wanted to work with other companies and people that had a social impact background, to ensure my supply chain was also having a net positive effect.
- x1 accountant – thank you Addition Finance for a great year and a lovely profile on your blog
- 38 invoices sent – I’d highly recommend using Starling Bank to any small businesses
- £54k in revenue, of which only £4K is grant funding
4. Navigating networks:
“You need to find your tribe, and build up a strong network of powerhouse women that can support, encourage and motivate you in your venture” – AllBright co-founder, Anna Jones
A strong network is a privilege. Some people are born into them, some people forge them and for some people, it’s a bit of both.
I’ve been very fortunate to have built an amazing network of advisors, collaborators, mentors, coaches, friends and family.
This network has recommended me to clients, offered free advice on everything from pricing to legal questions, listened to me moan, cheered for me from the sidelines. I am so very grateful.
- x1 partnership launched with the lovely Catch comms
- x2 incubators – Year Here and HSBC Roar
- Joined the WE CREATE SPACE’s queer leadership collective
- Joined the WARRIOR WOMEN NETWORK
- Joined AllBright
- Joined the The RSA (The royal society for arts, manufactures and commerce) as a fellow
5. Passionate pro-bono:
“Serviam” is the Latin for “I will serve” and the motto of my Catholic primary and secondary school. Although I am not religious, I am spiritual and believe in the value of serving others and my community.
Where possible, I gave up my time and advice for free, focusing on smaller charities and social enterprises as well as mentoring individuals.
- x4 pro-bono sessions with charities and social enterprises, covering – accessible green living, supporting Ukrainian refugees, inclusive advertising campaigns for women
- x2 mentees Subika Sadiq and Phillippa Stewart 💜
- x1 talk delivered for The Diana Award for 40 work experience students
- x1 storytelling workshop for makers & entrepreneurs at the “Every one. Every day.” community centre in Barking and Dagenham
- x1 session for WARRIOR WOMEN NETWORK
- Prototyped an 8-week LinkedIn challenge for changemakers, which secured x10 signs ups
5. The things that didn’t go to plan:
“Most failures can teach us something meaningful about ourselves if we choose to listen and, besides, success tastes all the sweeter if you’ve fought for it.” – Elizabeth Day
Not everything went to plan. But failures are always an opportunity for learning and growth – something I’ve learnt from listening to the wonderful author and journalist Elizabeth Day pretty much every week for the past 4 years.
- x10 project proposals not taken forward – the majority from smaller social enterprises that were interested in what More Diverse Voices had to offer but didn’t have the budget to take the project forward. This helped me re-evaluate my social enterprise offering.
- x3 freelancing sites signed up, but no business generated. The most effective way for me to generate new business has been from client recommendations and through LinkedIn.
- x2 partnerships that never came to fruition. But great relationships were still forged, so it was worth it!
- x2 grants were applied for and both were not awarded – one from LinkedIn and one from Innovate UK. Innovate UK gave lots of feedback, which I will use going forward.
- x100s of pitches that didn’t get through to journalists. Pitching is hard, even when your client has a great story, but consistency is key.
- Sticking to my own social media strategy….I did a good job, but I know I can do better! Be more reactive to what’s going on in the press and be more prepared for things that I know are coming up
6. The things I am proud of:
- Giving it a go.
- Building something incrementally, day by day, week by week.
- Building work-life balance and not over-stretching myself. I burnt out once before starting my business and I promised myself I would not do this again.
- Continuing to create and nurture meaningful relationships with my family, friends and partner.
- Working with some truly awesome clients, doing some truly awesome things.
- Reaching £54k in revenue in my first year. It’s not 6-figures, but was achieved sustainably and with clients all trying to build a more diverse and inclusive world.
- Knowing the value I can bring to clients and pricing it accordingly.
- Offering pro-bono support as and when I could.
- Trialing working from different countries over the summer – this is something I’d love to do more of
- Being a dyslexic, queer human working in comms.
7. Glorious goals:
“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.” – Michelle Obama
Personal growth and learning is a continuous process. We are always becoming, always evolving and stepping into ourselves.
This is why goals are so important!
- 100% growth in revenue – prominently through client services with some successful grant applications to support the development of tech solutions and educational resources
- Build out More Diverse Voices design capability for clients. I can just about navigate my way around Canva, but beautiful design is a real compliment to comms and a skill that I don’t have.
- Do more storytelling consulting across film, TV and gaming
- Delve deeper into my understanding of white supremacy and embed more anti-racist teachings into my work
- Work in another country for a month – I want to embrace the digital nomad life more!!