In the run up to our 2016 awards, we sat down with our finalists to gain an insight into their career journeys. Discover how Louise Chandler went from working with the BBC to becoming an entrepreneur
- You’ve been in the Arts & Media field for over 16 years. Tell us a bit of how your media journey began?
My journey into the media industry started when I was at sixth form, I knew I wanted to go to university to study media and I decided to do work experience to learn more. From 16 years old I was volunteering to work with radio stations in my hometown of Reading and also commuting to London to work on national radio such as 1Xtra and magazines like J17 and NME. Work placements gave me the opportunity to learn about the industry and how different media platforms are used.
This period of my career taught me how much I loved radio as a communicative medium – you can instantly share stories and news and you speak directly to the listener to form a connection. I learnt that the spoken word has a lot of influence with the ability to tell powerful stories so radio became my favourite media option for work.
- How did you remain so entrepreneurial and motivated during your stage of unemployment?
When you are out of work for a period of time, it is easy to become disillusioned, lose focus and feel fed up but I am a very determined person. I had a focus to use my media industry experience in a fulfilling way that would develop my career and aspirations. I decided that opportunities were not going to land in my lap, I would have to create them and try running my own business.
If I am honest, I had no idea if the business was going to be a success but I knew I wanted to try because I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. I was freelancing for some radio stations with a little bit of work here and there but nothing substantial. I met my business mentor called Mike Elson who has been a big part of my success.
Running a business can be a lonely and daunting experience because you have to make all decisions by yourself without any help. Having a mentor kept me motivated because I had someone else to support me and be a sounding board for ideas. When you have meetings, deadlines, research, meetings and tasks to complete there is no time to become complacent so a mentor has given me some wonderful perspectives .
My family are a key part of my motivated attitude – I am surrounded by a large family of cheerleaders and supporters who have provided so much encouragement over the years. My mum has always said: ‘whatever you’re aiming for, as long as you’ll get it by honest means, you go for it’ and what’s what I have done!
- How did you go about making Soundbite Media a reality? (did it happen overnight or was it a matter of working your way up)
The idea for the business came to me fairly quickly but the rest of the journey has taken time. From the beginning I had to write a business plan to evaluate my target audience, services I would offer, pricing, marketing, sales and much more. All of these areas take time to plan, explore, trial & implement then revise so it has taken time to develop and build the business.
I believe that from small acorns, big trees grow so I have been happy to watch the momentum build with the business. When I launched my business, it wasn’t called Soundbite Media – it was called Creative Solutions. This name didn’t seem right and didn’t represent what I wanted to achieve. In the early days of the business, I was hoping to work with Schools for enrichment sessions but I realised there wasn’t a demand for my services so I changed my strategy and celebrated 5 years in business in April 2016.
- What would be your top 3 pieces of advice for anyone wanting to follow in your footsteps to become a media communications specialist?
Be curious – Always have your ears and eyes open to absorb and learn as much as possible in everyday life. You never know when a radio advert you heard or newspaper article you read will come in handy.
Don’t underestimate anything you learn – My working career began as a student at retailers like River Island, Dorothy Perkins and WHSmith when I had no clue that I would run my own business. I learnt a lot about customer service that I can apply to my business so the early experiences were valuable in many ways for my future.
Build relationships – no man is an island so don’t underestimate the power of wonderful people you meet. Throughout my career I have worked with some terrifically talented people who have contributed to the success of my career and business. Building relationships will help you at every stage of your business journey so you have a trusted group of people you can work with.
- You’ve worked with a great calibre of clients including BBC, Superdrug, Carl Todd and Frank Lampard. What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
I am grateful for all business opportunities that allow me to learn and develop the business. Currently I am the voice of Superdrug Live – a national retail radio service that broadcasts to 700+ shops and it is a huge privilege. Via the radio I get to connect and communication with customers and staff while sharing a brand message about Superdrug and it’s been a wonderful experience for the past 4 years.
- What else is on the agenda for Soundbite Media this year?
At Soundbite Media, we work with you to help communicate and promote your work, services and brand image. We came up with Soundbite Sessions which are 5 separate sessions designed to inspire you to use media tools in a creative way that results in a promotional plan. The plan will help you understand how to tell customers and clients about your business, service or product. The sessions can be delivered one to one or in small groups so you can devise an action plan, tailored to suit you. There are five sessions to choose from so you can promote your business to your clientele and audience – pick the right session for you. Sessions include: how to use social media to promote your business, why you should pitch stories to the press and why digital media can be useful to promote your project and services.
Do you have a success story or business and leadership learnings you would like to share with the BBBA community? Submit a blog post by emailing melanieandsophie@thebbbawards. com