Sarah Clayton Turner is my guest blogger this week. I have known Sarah for a while as we share an interest in Women and also in the Travel Industry. Sarah tells us about her business and her work life.
1. Please tell us what you do
I started my own business seven years ago providing primarily marketing consultancy to small and medium sized travel companies who are looking to expand their marketing activity in the travel industry, whether it be B2B or B2C. This includes brand development, web site traffic growth, advertising, strategic marketing consulting, including marketing plans, PR, event management, business development and copywriting. So it’s very varied. I have worked in travel for the best part of 20 years now, starting off in tour operators and then bed banks and even a travel recruitment company but always working in the Marketing department. I am also on the board of the Association of Women Travel Executives, so my role of Website and Communications Director also keeps my busy. I’m also a mum of a five year old, so you can imagine that also keeps me on my toes!
2. What does a typical day look like?
A typical day for me starts of with a quick email check as soon as I wake up (yes I’m one of those!), as one of my clients is based in Dubai, which means a time difference so I may have received emails during the night. Once I’ve packed my daughter off to school it’s back to my laptop to action anything urgent and get on with my day. There’s no ‘typical’ day, literally everyday is different depending on which client I’m working for and whichever project is currently underway! However, laptop closes at 3pm to do the school run, sort out various clubs that she attends and then dinner. Once she’s in bed and calm has been restored, very often the laptop comes out again to continue work in the evening if deadlines are looming.
3. What are the best things and more challenging things about your career?
The best thing about my career is the industry I work in. I adore the travel industry - I have made some fabulous contacts over the years, many of which have become very good friends over the years. But equally working for yourself has a lot of benefits, flexibility being the main one; having the freedom to be a mum as well as uphold my career. The more challenging part of running your own business is ensuring you have enough work. Equally you are always ‘on call’. Work never stops, so I’m always checking emails and taking my laptop on holidays! Also, as we all know, marketing can be one of the first areas of a business to see cuts when times get tough, so it can also be challenging trying to explain to businesses that they need to remain visible and continue promoting themselves when they want to cut marketing budgets.
4. What would you recommend to a younger colleague wanting to start her career in your area or sector of expertise??
The best advice I can offer a younger colleague wishing to start your career is network! It can be daunting to begin with, entering a room full of people who seem to all know each other. Truth is, yes they probably do but everyone is just as keen to make new contacts…so put your ‘brave knickers’ on and just get stuck in! My business would be nothing without my contacts. So try and attend as many events as possible. AWTE is a great source of networking, often running informal free networking events (which is rare these days) as well as more formal development sessions.