Over the coming weeks and months you’ll see a firm resurgence of the CheltenhamMaman HQ Interviews series. With the Cheltenham MumBoss Club membership now up and running we want you to know about the incredible things Mums locally have started up around their children.
First up we meet Frankie Chapman, mum of two and owner of Boss Media.
CMHQ: We start every interview at CheltenhamMaman HQ with a question about the small people in your life – tell us about yours Frankie?
Frankie: I have 2 smalls. Isla aka Boss is 4.5 years old and Grayson (known as many things including Gracie, and G Unit) is 16 months old. They are the most craziest but most awesome little people I have ever met. The big person in my life (Ian) is pretty great too. We have been together for almost 10years and married for 7.
CMHQ: And what did you do before the small people came along?
F: I worked for a large cloud computing company as a project manager of sorts.
CMHQ: Is that something you ever considered going back to?
F: I had no doubts that I wouldn’t, I started there at the age of 18 – I grew up there, started a career and met my now husband there too, and made some of my best friends there. However when it came time to go back they weren’t so understanding about my need for part time hours. I think it was unfortunate that the company changed hands before I went on maternity so I effectively lost my foot in the door, a lot of people had left and I didn’t even know who I reported into. I took the hard decision to leave, I was desperate to spend as much time with Isla as possible and the thought of being full time just wasn’t something I wanted to consider. This is why I am such a huge fan of The Flex Appeal campaign – times should have moved on so much further then they have done.
CMHQL So tell us about your journey to becoming a MumBoss. Was it something you had up your sleeve when you left work or did you fall into it?
F: Most certainly fell into it. I was in a fortunate position that I could take a little time to decide what I wanted to do. Growing up I had trained as a singer so I questioned whether this would be a good time to get back into it. I started looking around for different things and when Isla got to about 15 months old I put her into nursery for a couple of days a week to give her a bit of independence and start to do something for me.
I started volunteering with Age UK, I wanted to do something that made me feel like I was helping. I really enjoyed it and loved been hands on with the day guests. I got offered the chance to help out in their office and just like that I was managing their social media – I was one of the younger members available to them and it was something they had no desire to be doing… Next thing I knew someone there happened to be on the board of an art gallery and I started assisting with their platforms too. By this point I was about 6 months pregnant.
So I think I can say with certainty that social media chose me. I love the world of social media (most of the time) and so when I then got approached by Laura of Cheltenham Rocks to start freelancing for her as well, it seemed like a natural progression. At this point Grayson was 4 months old, and Boss Media was born.
CMHQ: We talk a lot in the MumBoss club about how vulnerable and lonely you can be as freelancer. Do you ever fall into the dreaded competition/comparison trap?
F: It can be lonely sometimes and I do find that when my husband walks in the door I usually end up chewing his ear off as I have had no one to talk to all day (I often get greeted with a comment such as “I am not ready to compute this information). I have found that heading over to Unicorn House in Cirencester helps with the loneliness side of working for yourself – it is great to have space to work but also to talk to people if you want to…
I did find myself getting worked up with comparing myself to others especially a few months back when I felt I was stalling, but I can honestly say that now I don’t even think about it. There are a crazy amount of businesses that require social media help and we can’t cater for all of them and neither would we have the capacity to do so. We are all offering something slightly different and each one of us is unique in what we do.
CMHQ How do you juggle your time? Do you struggle to keep all of your plates spinning?
F: I find that I have to put my plates to one side quite a lot, take stock of what I am doing, write a plan, change the plan at least twice and then pick the plates back up again. It can be a struggle to feel like you are getting everything right all of the time but I am learning to manage my time more effectively, I think it just comes with practice and making mistakes of course.
I have 2 clear days a week where I just get my head down and don’t really look up from my laptop, and then I make it fit around bedtimes, and school pick up – trying to not pick up my phone whilst the kids are here after nursery and before bed – as after all that is why I am working for myself – to do things in my time. I am also quite realistic with what I can and can’t do – but having said that, I crave busy, so I think that helps.
CMHQ: If you could reverse time to when you set up what would you have done differently?
F: Set up clear objectives. I only recently started to realise what progress looked like – If I had set out milestones etc in the beginning I think I would have felt like I had more to celebrate.
CMHQ: Do you have any nuggets of advice you could share with MumBosses or those thinking about starting up in business?
F: Don’t undervalue yourself. In the beginning we all feel like we have to pay our dues, but that time has to stop at some point. You are a business and you should feel your worth.
CMHQ: So what’s next for your business?
F: Well Boss Media is now a year old, so I want to scope out what the next year will look like for growth. I seemed quite mum market focused and recently have gained more customers in the entertainment and corporate sector which has been a fun learning curve.
CMHQ: How can our readers find out more about you and the services you offer?
CMHQ: Thanks Frankie – it’s been a pleasure to chat! I’m a big fan of outsourcing things in business whenever you can and can’t overstate the need for all businesses to make use of social media. If you either hate using or just don’t have the time a social media manager really can pay for themselves by bringing in new income streams!