Lesley Singleton has been working in consumer PR and the media for more than a decade. In that time, she’s worked for big London PR agencies (including PR Week’s Agency of the Year) as well as in-house for a major airline and a high street bank. She managed press office functions whilst also devising and implementing strategic PR campaigns for a wide range of brands including Blockbuster Video, P&O’s Ocean Village and KLM. Lesley’s diverse career has seen her handle the publicity for a Michael Ball Christmas album, oversee a press conference for the DVD release of Joseph starring Donny Osmond and Joan Collins and launch a cruise ship with help from Ulrika Jonsson.
Leaving the bright lights of London behind, Lesley moved to Cranfield in 2004 and took up a PR role with Monarch Airlines, based at Luton. However, after having her son in November 2005, she decided to ‘go it alone’ and LS Media Ltd was born in May 2006. Specialising in business-to-consumer PR and media relations, Lesley has continued to work with a diverse range of clients in the travel, mother/baby, entertainment and lifestyle sectors. She’s worked with start-ups and mumpreneur businesses – including Mums Who Bake, Sporty Bump and Smallprint – as well as established brands such as The Open University.
Lesley gave birth to a daughter in September 2008 and LS Media Ltd has continued to go from strength to strength. 2010 saw Lesley vastly expand her portfolio by taking on projects for a wealth of new clients and generating extensive national print and broadcast coverage for ParamountZone.com, Universal Pictures, HotVouchers.com, Bishop’s Move and ToyBoy.com. She was a finalist in the Best Business Support Category at the Mumpreneur Awards.
What inspired you to start your own business
Getting a call on my mobile from an irate travel journalist at 3am, demanding to know why his plane was delayed. I was six months pregnant, working in the PR department of a major airline at the time and it hit me that being on-call 24 hours a day in case of a crisis just wouldn’t be compatible with a small baby in need of night-feeds.
What has been your biggest challenge
I think, like most people starting out on their own, trusting in yourself is a huge step. Even though I’d been working in PR and the media for a decade and had a solid proven track record, it was nerve-wracking trying to do it alone without the support of a team – I really had to learn to trust my own instincts, believe in myself and what I was capable of. I wouldn’t have been able to do that without a very strong group of friends behind me, many of whom I’d worked with in the past… any time I was doubting myself or a tough decision I’d made, I’d pick up the phone for that extra reassurance.
What have you learnt about yourself since you became self-employed
I’ve learnt that I’m more confident than I thought I was! I think when you’re working as part of a team of big characters, it’s easy to hide in the shadows sometimes, but now I have no choice but to put myself out there – whether in terms of pitching a client story or drumming up new business. I miss the banter that comes with an office full of creative types, but Twitter seems to be helping on that front and I now have my ‘water-cooler’ chats there instead…!
What has been the best thing about being your own boss
Being my own boss has given me the opportunity to work with brands I truly have a passion for – I’m not forced to take on clients or projects I don’t connect with or believe in. I’ve found clients in completely different sectors to those I’d worked in historically and I’ve invested in educating myself in new technologies and media sectors, ensuring that my business moves with the times and isn’t stuck with a limited skillset. Above all though, being my own boss has allowed me to experiment with my own working practices and I’ve finally been able to create a work/life balance which suits me, my family and my clients perfectly. My clients understand that I work part-time and aren’t shocked to receive emails from me late at night when I’m catching up on the admin!
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring ‘mumpreneur’ what would it be?
When I look back to the very beginning, I do think I went into this with my eyes closed a little to the financial side. I had a very naive idea of start-up and running costs and this has been a tough obstacle to overcome. So my biggest piece of advice would be to really, really do your research: look at what you’ll need to lay out in your first year, what assistance is available, if there are any grants you’re entitled to.
For find out how Lesley can help you with your PR, please visit www.lsmedia.co.uk or email Lesley@lsmedia.co.uk