In celebration of International Women's Day, we wanted to highlight one of the unsung heroes of Xolo - Lauren Forth, who contributes to our blog as a freelance writer. Lauren is an experienced and professional communications expert, based in Cheshire, UK. Having worked all over the world and gained specialist experience in many different industries she's well-versed in getting to know all the little details and understanding what makes a business tick. Her aim is simple – to get results for her clients by providing affordable, flexible and effective marketing and communications support.
What does your freelance business do?
Kilo Marketing & Communications was set up in January 2019 with the goal of helping small and medium businesses shout about what they do and ensure the right people are listening.
The business specialises in copywriting, social media management, community engagement, public relations and crisis communications. This can involve blogging, website copy, content creation for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, media liaison, implementing community initiatives and email outreach. Kilo is lucky enough to work in many different industries such as education, property, oil & gas, food and recruitment across a variety of countries such as Singapore, Estonia, Australia and the UK.
The name of the business comes from the maritime industry: the Kilo flag is an internationally recognised maritime signal flag, with the blue and yellow design being a simple yet powerful marker.
When the flag is flown singularly from a ship, it simply means: ‘We want to communicate.’ Kilo Marketing & Communications wants to communicate on behalf of our clients to whatever ship is their target market!
How did your career path lead you to go freelance?
I've worked in public relations and communications for many years. I started at a successful agency in Manchester before moving to an internal role at a major property developer. I then got the opportunity to move to Singapore where I spent the majority of my time working in educational settings, honing my communications skills. On moving back to the UK, I decided I wanted to be more flexible with my time so that I could spend more time with my young daughter. With the support of my family I was able to launch Kilo Marketing & Communications and it has proved more successful than I ever anticipated. I now have an interesting and varied client base and I’m in a position where the majority of my work is coming from referrals and recommendations which is fantastic.
Was there a particular factor that spurred you to take the leap into independent work?
Yes, my previous job was very rewarding, but I did long hours and found it hard being away from my baby girl. I originally went back to work after 6 months of maternity leave and felt like I was missing out on precious time with her. Working for myself allows me to be more present with my family, organise my workload around them and generally have a better work/life balance. However, there are some days where I think that having a toddler is more challenging than juggling the needs of 12 clients!
You’ve previously lived and worked abroad - did you enjoy it, and were there any interesting or surprising cultural differences you faced?
I loved working and living in Singapore and think a little piece of my heart will always be there. There are many cultural differences but in my line of work – communications – I think the principals are the same; authenticity, consistency and timeliness are the three things I always stand by and that approach seems to work wherever you are in the world!
What’s your favourite aspect of working freelance? And your least favourite?
My favourite aspect is definitely the flexibility of the work and how rewarding it has been to pick and choose my clients and really believe in what I am doing.
The least favourite is the loneliness that I know many freelancers face. I never thought I’d miss the office politics and banter but being on your own every day can be wearing. Thankfully I am building my network in the area and now have several freelance friends and also a couple of clients that let me work from their offices as well – it has made a real difference!
Have you faced any adversity since becoming freelance?
I think it would be impossible not to face adversity when starting in any new career. I have found the admin side of setting up a business quite challenging – things like chasing invoices and adhering to business regulations can be tiresome but these things are getting better and I’m learning every day.
What would be your advice to fellow female freelancers, and potential freelancers?
I guess it would be to believe in yourself and keep plugging away at it! There will always be some days that make you feel like you have mountains to climb but I’m a firm believer in hard work, a sense of humour and the power of a gin and tonic after a long week!Xolo news Freelance