Today’s business woman interview is with Sara Tomaszewska who is the Director of Little Media Agency Ltd. She tells us about moving from Poland to the UK and of setting up a company offering social media management solutions to small businesses.
Tell us a little about your childhood and teenager years
I grew up in Kraków in Poland. From a very young age, I was very stubborn. So, when I decided to move to England at the age of 18, even my mum knew there was no way of persuading me to go back. My parents divorced when I was little and as I was growing up, my mum worked quite a lot; therefore, she taught me to be pretty autonomous. My parents gave me enough freedom to express myself and probably those traits, – independence and stubbornness had a significant impact on my career path.
I came to England for a few weeks to get a summer job and practice my English before I started University in Poland. At least that’s what I thought. Birmingham drew me in, and soon after, quite spontaneously, I picked up the phone and called my parents to tell them I wasn’t going back.
What was your first job? What did you learn from this?
When I decided to stay in the UK, I got a job as a waitress in a restaurant. I carried on in the hospitality industry throughout my time at university. The flexible hours allowed me to study as well as earning my living. I did not qualify for the student loan at that time; therefore I had to work full-time hours. Having several jobs and different shifts, definitely taught me how to manage my finances and my time efficiently. This experience gave an incredible satisfaction. This was the first time when I realised that everything is possible if you put your mind to it.
What led to you setting up your business?
When I got a job in social media, I recognised there are a lot of people who seemed hopeless in figuring out how to promote their business online and were complaining about working with other agencies or freelancers. This is when the idea of becoming a freelancer started. I wasn’t really taking it seriously until the situation in my workplace started affecting my wellbeing and my self-esteem. The toxic environment gave me means and motivation to go against the odds and start something on the side. However, it wasn’t as easy as it seemed at first. The first few months, the business was barely making any money. I was worried about how will I prevail, but I decided to carry on and not ever to give up. I wanted to prove to my previous employer and to all the people who ever doubted in me, that I could do it.
What are your services?
Little Media Agency was founded because I wanted to provide personal and effective social media solutions for small businesses. We specialise in social media marketing management, advertising and training. We create bespoke campaigns, content and engagement across all social media platforms.
What makes your business special?
Often, marketing agencies offer an extensive range of services from SEO, website design and social media with no specialisation. They become jack in all trades and master in none. A lot of companies rely on social media when it comes to their sales. Since it’s so crucial to them, I decided to specialise in social media so I can provide the best possible service for my customers.
There are over 7 million advertisers on social media, and now it’s harder than ever for a small business to stand out among others. That’s why we are one of the very few agencies that provide eye-catching animation and videos as a part of the social media management service at no extra cost. With us, every business can shine online.
What tip would you give to someone who wants to set up a business but lacks self-belief?
I would say that it will be hard and you need first to ask yourself whether you definitely want to do it. If the answer is yes, just go for it. You can always go back to employment if things don’t work out, but you will learn so much about yourself so it will be all worth it.
How do you ensure you look after yourself properly? What do you do for self-care?
Don’t listen to people who say a business owner needs to work 70 hours a week. We too, should have a work-life balance. Beginnings are hard, but the business is not the most important thing in life. It took me a few years to realise that, but now I can say I finally found the balance between running my company and having a private life. I never work weekends, and I try to take a few days off every couple of months. I need it to keep sane and to have the strength to be able to face everyday challenges.
Who supported you as you set up your business?
My mum supported me the most throughout my journey. She is also in business, so I’m fortunate as she understands exactly what I’m going through. Often I call her for advice or just to talk things through. Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely journey but knowing that she is there to support me, makes me feel a lot more confident.
What things would you like to see change about the position of women in society?
Even though the position in women in the society has changed massively in the last few years, there is still this perception that women should be the ones to stay at home to raise children while men bring the money. When a couple thinks whether to have children, men rarely need to worry whether it means quitting their job or business. Unfortunately, it’s not the same for women. We often have to choose between family and career. I’d want people to be more open to the idea that both men and women should share maternity leave and household responsibilities. In my opinion, assuming that this is the women’s job, it’s just wrong.
If you could recommend ONE book to women, what would it be and why?
One of the books that really stood out mainly at the beginning was From Zero to One. It’s great for those who are thinking of starting their business as it teaches you fundamental principles of how to create something great.
I hope you feel inspired by Sara’s story. If you would like to share your business or life story with me, please get in touch via the contact form or email firstname.lastname@example.org