By Abigail Mackenzie
In late summer of 2018, Abigail was photographing events of family and friends. She was also using Instagram as a platform to showcase her photography work. Then, potential clients came asking if she could help them do the same for them.
Her partner, being the most supportive and insanely motivating sidekick she could ever ask for, helped Abigail make a decision. He asked her, “Do you want to advance where you are or start your own dream?”
And just like that, You & Me, was born, a digital marketing agency that includes bespoke photography.
Today, we welcome Abigail to The After Six Club’s Ambitious Tribe. Read on and learn how she was able to make the jump from employee to entrepreneur.
I have always worked in creative roles, starting my career at The Edit Events, a wonderful team of events managers in South London. I noticed a gap in the market for small businesses. I loved social media and photography.
I was contemplating the idea for a long time, finding myself continuously jotting ideas down, drawing logos to see if this would spark inspiration. One day, I asked my partner (and the No. 1 fan behind my business!) “What shall I call it?” and he said, “What about You & Me?” It stuck. I just fell in love with the idea of starting a relationship with my clients. It was so personal. Starting the journey of them and me. You & Me was born in October 2018.
We are a premium digital marketing agency specializing in social media management, website design, creative copywriting, public relations, and photography for startups, small businesses, and inspirational brands.
We are London-based. As the founder, I find myself working from my home office and across co-working spaces with colleagues and clients.
What do you believe makes your business stand out?
We are entirely bespoke. We don’t believe in packages as no client is the same. We want to build a client’s dream look on their Instagram or on a gorgeous website that mirrors their brand values and captures the most amazing events with our lens. We truly believe in getting to know our clients—what they love, what they dislike. Therefore they deserve a bespoke package tailor-fit for them every time.
Is it always necessary to be passionate about what your business is about in order for it to succeed?
100%. You must be passionate, especially as a CEO and managing founder, to drive your team and believe that you can do it.
How did you obtain capital? Were there investors?
No investors. I was entirely self-funded. I left my old job with £700 and prayed it would work.
How did you build your customer base? What form of marketing has been most effective for you so far?
I strongly believe in connections—networking, talking, and making friends in the industry. People work for people and it’s so lovely to have great testimonials and colleagues who recommend you. I joined this amazing group with whom I can work with on all areas including social media, new clients, design work, as well as finances. It’s such a lovely community. Most of my clients find me through that Facebook community or through word of mouth. I have the most wonderful clients who love to refer me to friends and colleagues. Although, being a social media geek, I also love Instagram to showcase our portfolio.
How do you generate new ideas for your business’ growth?
I have an amazing friend in the industry, Louise at Chirpy Bird Social. We often spend days together with our laptops off. We have some good fun bouncing ideas off each other and learning with the industry. My team members are fantastic when it comes to coming up with new ideas too!
What kind of company culture are you implementing? What are your core values?
Fun, friendly and creative. Enjoying a glass of wine on a Friday night (and any other night that deserves a celebration!) Each member of our team does exactly what they love to do.
How do you deal with major mishaps? What would you say is one of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?
I think I have learned not to say yes to everyone. At first, I would try and help people, including clients who just weren’t that nice. I had one experience with a terribly rude client who called me names and slated my work just for a small discount! It is so important to know your worth and trust your gut instinct. Don’t panic either. There’s no need for extra stress. We’re all human.
What skills do you believe are necessary in handling a business?
Patience, networking (got to be prepared to talk the game), and faith.
What would you say are some dos and don’ts in starting one?
Do have a clear vision and goal. Know what you want. Don’t rush. Ensure you’re happy with what’s happening every step of the way. Oftentimes, people panic and market themselves too soon. It’s all about the brand.
Was there ever a time you felt afraid that this might not work? How did you manage this fear?
All the time! I know I have a great business concept and an incredible team, but there’s nothing scarier as a business owner looking at your profit and loss (P&L) statement and seeing a quiet period. It’s all about connecting with new and old contacts, going out for a networking event, taking clients for coffee, and proactively ensuring you’re on people’s minds. My partner always tells me, “You’re ok, you’ve got this” and puts the kettle on. That calms me down every time. We’ve got this together.
Describe a typical day for you.
My goal every day is to be at my desk for 8:00 A.M. for an hour of emails before delving into design briefs. Some days consist of three to four meetings. I often spend a half day a week with clients in their offices, as well as at home in my office staying on top of the content.
How many hours of work a day do you put in? How many days per week?
I work every day starting at around 8:00 A.M. until I finish my tasks. I like to say I don’t work all the time, but if you ask my partner, he’d say I never leave my laptop alone. If you love your job, you will never work a day in your life.
What sacrifices have you had to make to get here?
I left a wonderful team in my previous job, but they’re always a phone call away or never say no to coffee. Friends stay with you, wherever you go.
What can you consider is your greatest success?
Starting my business. It genuinely took a great deal of courage to make the jump.
What would you say is the secret to success?
Be patient and friendly! It’s so hard to find people in business that you “click” with. But if you’re happy, friendly, and approachable, you’ll make connections and potential clients in no time.
What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
That I make all of the decisions! I’m obsessive-compulsive with my business and I love that I can work in all areas—from social media, new clients, design work, as well as finances and attending meetings. It’s always a bonus that I’m my own boss!
What motivates you? Who has been your greatest inspiration?
My Dad, hands down. He has always taught my sister and me that you have to work for what you have, earn it, and it’s yours. I remember calling him when I started You & Me. I was so worried and I asked him, “What if it all goes wrong?” and he said, “It won’t, you’ve got this!” It just rings through me daily.
Where do you see yourself and your business in 10 years?
I hope to have a larger, wonderful team working with creative, inspirational clients. To be in an office together and spending every day having fun and enjoying what we do. And fizz Fridays will be a MUST.
Do you consider yourself as an ambitious person? Explain why.
I think so. My friends would say I’m too modest, but I know what I want, and I will go and get it.
Do you think being ambitious helps you in business? How?
Yes, you have to be to start a business. You’ve got to take risks. If you don’t, someone else will.
What piece of advice can you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Do it! Don’t be scared, have a plan, have a brand, and enjoy it.
Edits: Kath C. Eustaquio-Derla | Image Credit: Abigail Mackenzie
Abigail has a background and passion for events. She loves beautiful details and outstanding photography and bringing together the story of a brand. She launched You & Me to work with creative individuals and inspiring entrepreneurs to help build a brand, photograph irreplaceable moments, and use her expertise in design.