A day in the life of... a food & drink startup entrepreneur
Published: 25 Apr 2016 By Ben Davis
I always love hearing about food and drink startups, especially on Dragon's Den (or Shark Tank).
And with the rise of online subscription services in FMCG, food and drink brands are springing up all over the internet.
She tells us about her daily life.
Please describe your job! What do you do?
I am the co-founder of EatCleanTea, a UK-based matcha green tea company that offers worldwide shipping.
Essentially, I do the marketing, branding, sales, outreach, logistics and partnerships for the company.
I felt inspired to start the business (initially launching as an online ecommerce business) as someone with a personal interest and passion in health who felt utterly betrayed and disappointed in all the fad weight-loss methods out there.
And so EatCleanTea was born! I wanted to bring the matcha health benefits to the masses, encouraging a sustainable healthy lifestyle, instead of the quick-fix false promises made by other ‘health’ brands.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
I report to myself! Whether this is a good thing or bad thing will remain to be seen!
However, when it comes to major business decisions, my business partners James Wilson and Edward Creedon have to be on board with my vision and strategy.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
Starting your own business is hard work. This may sound obvious and although anyone can do it, it all comes down to motivation.
You need to be extremely motivated, especially on those days when you have no energy and when your outgoings seems to be far outweighing your incomings.
Some days it can be easy to give in and ‘loosen’ the reins. However, you must keep going.
A key component of being successful in business is recognising trends quickly and spotting the opportunities that are relevant for your business.
But most of all, you must be uber positive... even when everything is going wrong.
You can’t beat the power of positive thinking, every problem you can learn from and there’s always a way to turn a situation around. Be creative!
Tell us about a typical working day…
The first thing I do when I wake is check my inbox which is usually full of emails (and if it wasn’t, I’d be worried!).
I’ll then check Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to see what activity has happened over night and respond accordingly to comments, questions and any photos we’re tagged in.
Our marketing model is focused mainly on Instagram and based on blogger outreach and influencer marketing, so I spend most of my day looking for and contacting people that I feel align well with our brand and would make good brand ambassadors for EatCleanTea.
Then I plan budgets, create visual and written content, liaise with celebrity agents and work on future social media posts and creative campaigns.
I spend a large proportion of the afternoon sending out samples of products and following up with bloggers for feedback.
We never really switch off at EatCleanTea HQ, but it’s a product and brand we hugely believe in.
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
I love the fact that I’ve created something all on my own. I wake up every day feeling excited and can’t wait to begin exploring all the different avenues to growing my business.
There are so many positives of working for yourself and I love that I am my own boss. I don’t ever feel pressure from anyone but myself. This makes me more productive than working for someone else.
I love the control I have over my day and having full responsibility for revenue.
However as a startup, funds are limited so I constantly have to think outside the box on how to make our marketing strategy stretch to deliver ROI, considering we only have a very small budget.
Money can be a big worry and when we spend a considerable amount on a certain tactic yet get little in return of website traffic or sales, it can have an impact on morale.
But we must keep on going!
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
My main goal is to make matcha mainstream and for EatCleanTea to be the leading brand in the UK and worldwide.
The main challenge is that people assume matcha is a trend, a fad, similar to the weight-loss and tea-tox teas out there (not naming names here).
We want to change public perception and get the world to recognise matcha for the superfood it’s recognised as in Japan, where it originates.
We have a great conversion rate on the website (which can always be improved of course) so the goal is generating more targeted traffic to maximise sales.
One of the new metrics we’re analysing is site behaviour, for example did someone read one of our blogs and then buy? Or did they drop off within two seconds of reading and leave the site?
This kind of information is vital and only helps us improve our onsite content leading to a higher conversion rate.
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
I’ve been using Iconosquare to plan our Instagram influencer strategy.
It shows you the strength of an Instagram influencer's engagement, which is a good indicator as to what kind of return you can expect from their promotion.
And it also weeds out those fake influencers who buy followers and likes!
How did you get started in the digital industry, and where might you go from here?
My degree is in marketing which wasn’t digital focused at all, but after graduating I worked as a marketing exec for Sanako for four years and was promoted to Manager after a year.
Although the role was mostly offline marketing, there was an element of digital marketing and this is what sparked off my interest.
I could see how quickly the landscape was evolving and saw all the possibilities that social networks opened up for businesses and consumers to connect in a more authentic way.
Which brands do you think are doing digital well?
There are some really inspiring brands that do digital and social media marketing incredibly well.
Dollar Beard Club, Frank Body and Triangl Swimwear are all stellar examples of a strong and successful digital marketing strategy.
For me, I think tone of voice is everything. Once you nail that, people can really connect with you and what you’re doing online.
Do you have any advice for people who want to work in the digital industry?
Digital marketing is always evolving, so never become complacent in what you think you know is best. Read and learn about new trends, whilst continually testing and optimising.
If you're looking for a new challenge in digital, see the Econsultancy jobs board or benchmark your own digital knowledge using our Digital Skills Index.
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