Sam Dixon

Sam Dixon

I’m a straight-talking marketing consultant and business mentor working with ambitious women to launch, grow and scale their businesses.

Time Out: With Andrea Cutts

Each month I take time out to get to know and share with you all, one of our fantastic members, in the Thrive Collective Membership.

There’s one woman who gets tagged in the membership on a very regular basis. One, because she’s so exceptionally helpful, knowledgeable and talented and two, Facebook ads is a minefield to so many of our members. Myself included!

I’ve personally worked with Andrea to help me with my Facebook ads and know first hand the importance of tapping into and asking for help when putting budget behind any kind of paid for marketing on Facebook.

Andrea is the founder of Oscar Charlie, and she’s a Facebook ad strategist and a trained social media manager. She helps your business to get seen on social in the right places and at the right time and importantly, by your ideal client! For social advertising she helps you maximise your ad budget whether you are an ecommerce business looking for direct sales, focusing on leads or to raise awareness of an event or cause.

So Andrea, what made you decide to set-up your own business?

I’ve spent over 20 years in the corporate world during which time I became a mum to my gorgeous girls, I was lucky it was working for me in the sense that I had agreed flexible and part time work but each time I took time off, I came back lower down the pecking order. It became a job and nothing more, I could do it but did I enjoy it and was it worth spending time away from the girls? Not really! Eventually I was offered redundancy and although they appeared to want to keep me and move me to another role, it was just the right time to get off the corporate hamster wheel and do something different – oh the freedom!

Realising that I’m not a lady who can happily fill up her time during the school day with chores or even better lunches and massages, I started looking for something different, I didn’t want to go back full-time, I didn’t want to go back to the city and I wanted to do the school run. Time to explore if I could make working for myself actually work! I’m so pleased I did!

Do tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you set up in the first place?

Flexibility was why I started, that and proving to myself that I had valuable skills. By the time I left the corporate world, I felt institutionalised and that I had nothing to offer, this was about proving to me that I did have what it takes. There’s always bumps in the road and working for yourself inevitably comes with imposter syndrome (for us ladies at least) wondering where the next client will come from. Hand on heart though, I couldn’t be happier or more proud – yes proud of myself of getting here and still going 3 years later.

And what or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?

My husband actually, he also took a brave step leaving his directorship at an established company because he felt morally and ethically driven to. Watching him and his sister build their agency from scratch to now employing over 20 people with a fantastic range of clients, teaches resilience and helps you learn a few lessons along the way. He’s believed in me all the way through this process; way more than I have but that support gives you something strong to build on.

I’d also give a shout out to Emma Van Heusen, who has taken me through the process of building a business around Facebook advertising, there is nothing this lady does not know, she’s been generous with her knowledge and her support to build our positive mindsets. I look to her for inspiration when I just need that something to refocus me.

What is the best thing for you about being your own boss and running your own business?

The diversity of different clients that I work with, I love the variety and inevitably I learn so much about new industries, from blockchain, IoT and fintech, pharma, telecoms, virtual learning, the rental market, GDPR and contract law to name just a few. Plus I love those aha moments that I see in people’s eyes from the 1-2-1 training. Just to help business owners whether large or small, make more of their marketing efforts.

And being my own boss, well that’s the ultimate flexibility that I have. I see the children, can attend school functions and still bring my girls up to understand the rewards of a good work ethic. I hope I am showing them you can be and do whatever you want and that’s not always 9-5 in an office with a glass ceiling.

What practical advice would you give to anyone about to start, or in the early stages of owning a business?

Surround yourself with supportive people, build a network you can lean on and ask advice from. Someone will have been in your shoes before and most people are happy to help. This is why I love communities such as Thrive. (Hurrah!)

What advice would you give to women in business? From your area of expertise or in general?

Get over that imposter syndrome, it’s all in your head. Pull up your big knickers, believe and then go for it!

From a professional perspective, I’d stay well away from the Facebook boost button – it’s only working for Facebook not you! Make sure you are speaking the language of your ideal client, post what’s relevant and helpful to them and don’t get caught up in trying to be everything to everyone! Leave those vanity numbers alone, engagement is what you need and want not a lot of useless followers. Oh and however tempting it is – do not invite all your friends, family, grandparents and great aunt Mabel to like your pages – unless they ARE your ideal client. It will work against you!

What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve been given in business?

Keep a positive mindset, if you believe you can do it, you will find a way. I found most people believed in me way more than I did, it took me 3 years to realise they were right, don’t leave it that long.

What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?

Connections matter, you never know how and when they could be useful but I have found work has come as a surprise from places I hadn’t considered as well as needing to find experts on areas outside my skillset.

Also, if it’s not your skillset – outsource it, it’s a distraction and takes you away from working on your business. For example, I am pretty good at excel and numbers and I could probably do my own accounting, but it would take me longer and take me out of working on my core offering. For the money I am paying someone to do this for me, I can be earning much more working on clients for that hour or two.

What has been the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote your business?

Networking, happy clients, oh and of course social media! I predominantly work on social media for B2B and Facebook Ads for businesses, so I find LinkedIn is a great social platform for networking.

Are there any resources or tools you’d like to share with other small business owners that have helped you run your business? If yes, please describe (and include links if available).

Actually, I’d like to share a couple that may help with your Facebook marketing, Facebook Ad Library, you can check out companies who are competitors or offer similar services / products and see what ads they are running – it’s great for inspiration. Click here

Facebook business manager: It’s far better to have your ads run from the business manager, rather than your personal account. Click here for more info.

Do you have any new projects or a milestone coming up?

OscarCharlie is 3 years old this December, I didn’t think I would still be going when I first started but I am, and I love it! (3 years definitely calls for cake!)

And finally, is there anything else you’d like to share Andrea?

Although I do a lot of work managing social and paid social for businesses, I love helping small businesses understand more about Facebook Ads and getting them away from that awful boost button. Usually charged at £115, this is £97 for Thrive Collective Members. I occasionally also offer group training, drop me a line if you’d like to go on the list!

Thank you so much Andrea for taking the time to chat with me today. Wonderful to hear about what you’ve achieved and what you’ve learned in just 3 years of running your own business. Impressive stuff!

You can check out more information on Oscar Charlie here and follow Andrea on Facebook & Instagram

I’m Sam Dixon, founder of Thrive With Sam Dixon, an experienced Marketing Consultant to ambitious businesswomen who want to launch, grow and scale their business with flexible marketing support. 

For a free 30 minute discovery call get in touch by email or come join Thrive Collective, my monthly membership community. JOIN HERE.

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