Hannah Jones talks to us about her website design agency, Gift of the Gab, and how she got the business to where it is today.
Tell us a bit about your business?
Gift of the Gab was founded in 2017 off the back of work I had done for our family business. Using social media, I grew our family groundworks business (JG Jones Groundwork Services) hugely, eventually building my very first website for them and implementing search engine optimisation, and the results were fabulous! Another local company – K&R Decorators – approached me enquiring as to who had done our social media and website and when I told them it was me, they immediately hired me to do theirs and so Gift of the Gab was born.
What is your background?
I trained to be a bookkeeper and worked in various positions before having my first child at 22, followed by another three over the next ten years. During my ‘at home mum’ time I kept the groundworks company up to date, undertaking all the accounts and admin before starting on the marketing mentioned above. All my website design and associated services are completely self-taught using good old Google primarily. I adore learning and still have so much to research and implement.
How do you spread the word about your business?
I very rarely advertise Gift of the Gab – my clients do this for me! I have grown from West Sussex to covering the entire UK including Scotland by pretty much word of mouth only! Social media is powerful and the various business groups great in allowing people to ‘tag’ me and my business.
How has business been during Covid-19?
When the pandemic hit, I have to admit I was scared. My business is considered a luxury and I immediately lost clients – particularly in the entertainment industry and I also had work put back, some of which I am still waiting for. Obviously, this caused financial difficulties, however, with so many small businesses unable to open I started getting enquiries for e-commerce sites pouring in and so another adventure started.
Once the lockdown came to an end, people started wanting to push themselves again and so work returned to normal, and then second lockdown hit. I was not only working long hours but also responsible for the two youngest and their schoolwork – a schoolteacher I am absolutely not and the guys who teach deserve medals!
Things seem to be finally levelling out. The entertainment industry is picking up and needing me again so that is all good. I class myself as extremely lucky to have survived, many did not. I did try and help those that had to put their businesses on hold by stopping their payment plans and giving them free hosting.
What’s the hardest part about running a business?
Guilt! I was a full-time mum to my older girls and enjoyed the time to be able to be there, do things, take them places and do the housework to show home standards. The two youngest haven’t been so fortunate – although obviously I try my best, my house is now certainly no show home and I am immensely thankful for the Xbox and other technology!
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Every day is a challenge. I hardly ever say no and so immediately have to push myself to learn. This can be very stressful but so rewarding once I crack something.
Have you had any financial support?
I have never applied for any financial support. I work from home so have minimal overheads that way. I didn’t need masses of money to start up. I continued using the same laptop as I always had and then gradually built up to some pretty awesome computers.
What’s been the best decision you’ve made so far?
I don’t know if I’ve actually made one! I take things day by day, have a fabulous team behind me who brainstorm with me and have maybe yet to make it! Perhaps one day I will float the business for millions and emigrate to the Maldives? Now that would be a decision!
If you could change one thing, what would it be?
Hmm, maybe being too soft? I am easily sweettalked and it can be to my own financial detriment – I really need to man up but I’m not that sort of person!
What’s been your proudest achievement so far?
Wow, I have so many proud moments. Probably the biggest is a compliment from my wonderful husband, now business partner. Initially he was sceptical as to how long the Gab would last. I have been known to dip in and out of many projects and, although he has always supported me, I did feel like he was waiting for me to give in (not least all the times I was a blubbering wreck because I’d had a bad day or something was wrong or numerous other reasons). One morning I got to my desk to find a pink post it note telling me how very proud he is of me. That means everything and is a very proud moment. The note still resides on my notice board!
What are your hopes and dreams for the business?
Obviously, I would love to continue to grow, I would love to be able to increase productivity, maybe win some awards? That would be amazing.
I am so privileged to have a supporting husband, team, family and friends plus a great client base who are all rooting for me. Watch out world!