In our series celebrating some of the fabulous ‘Wonder Women’ we know, we catch up with Hollie-Ella, blogger and blogger community host to find out more about her life behind her successful brand…
WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO?
I’m Hollie-Ella the girl behind It’s A Country Life – an equestrian and country lifestyle blog, community and most recently, magazine!
HOW/WHY DID YOU START YOUR BUSINESS?
My business started only very recently I suppose. When I first started the blog last July I never envisaged that I would create a business out of it. I started the blog after returning from travelling in New Zealand, I had kept a diary out there and really enjoyed doing so, I used to love writing when I was younger. I decided that I wanted to try and start blogging about the things I love so I sat down one evening created the website, email address and social media handles and within a few hours the first blog post was live. It was a slow start, but to me that didn’t matter. I couldn’t believe that even one other person was interested in what I had to say, let alone hundreds. I was working for an equestrian magazine publication at the time, and having a strong interest in country pursuits and all things equine & farming, I began to ask myself whether there was anything out there, in terms of magazine publications, that specifically target us – the emerging generation. After doing a bit of research myself, and through polls on Twitter with thanks to my followers, I discovered that there wasn’t. With a gap in the market, and me being me, I thought well, why can’t I be the one to fill it? That is really where the idea came from, and here we are now, the first issue is finished and with the printers currently (or here, depending on when you publish this blog).
WHAT QUALIFICATIONS/EXPERIENCE DO YOU NEED TO BE GOOD AT THIS JOB?
That is a tricky one, because in all honesty I have zero qualifications or experience in the field of publishing or marketing. I am repeatedly told how effective my marketing plan has been… yet, it wasn’t really planned. My role at the magazine previously was in sales, not design, marketing or as a writer. I had researched which program designers commonly used, which was Adobe InDesign, so I bought that and taught myself how to use it!
I have always believed that if you are passionate about something, you can make it happen. You don’t always need qualifications to prove you can do something. If I can inspire someone to take the leap or follow their dreams then I will have achieved something great. Don’t get me wrong, I am still learning each and every day, I am still just 21 and stepping into a field of experienced and well-established professionals which can be extremely nerve-wracking, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Perhaps my inexperience and passion for what I’m trying to achieve is part of the charm?
WHAT CHALLENGES HAVE YOU FOUND BUILDING YOUR BUSINESS?
I think one big challenge has been doing it all myself. It can be quite lonely at times, and if you don’t get out of the house after a while you can find yourself going stir crazy, thankfully I am the mother to a very cheeky and energetic little puppy – Bella, who keeps me busy and flitting between work and playtime to stop her destroying the furniture.
Proving to others that I am worth their time and in some cases their money. The majority of people I have spoken to have been incredible, but as with everything I have had some very dismissive conversations from some, that is a bit disheartening at times. I think being so young, yet so passionate comes with its advantages and disadvantages. You have to work twice as hard to convince some sceptical people to take you seriously and hear you out, most of the time, once they have they can’t wait to get involved.
NAME TWO THINGS YOU COULDN’T LIVE WITHOUT IN YOUR JOB? (PHONE & COMPUTER ASIDE)
My incredible partner James A.K.A my photographer. James has been so supportive throughout the whole process and has managed to put up with a basically non-existent partner for the last two months because I am either on my phone or computer. So, thank you for that.
My mum A.K.A my Personal Assistant. She has worked extremely hard to help get the magazine finished, proof read and off to the printers with me. She has kept me calm following a printing disaster and is ridiculously organised. She even told me that her other half woke her up in the middle of the night because she had been talking in her sleep saying; ‘There’s still more pages, we’ve got to go through them again!’
I wouldn’t have been able to put this all together without them both.
WHAT IS YOUR SPECIAL WONDER WOMAN SKILL?
My wonder woman skill is probably my ability to run all three components of my business; the blog, the magazine and the community all whilst working part time and trying to keep everyone happy, plus ride the horse. I feel like Mr Tickle sometimes, like my arms are being stretched in a million directions, although I am not sure this is a skill, let alone of ‘Wonder Woman’ status, I think it’s just pure bonkers and I must be mad.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU WOULD HAVE GIVEN YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
The best advice I would have given myself is to do what makes you happy and worry about the rest later. I spent a lot of my time going to sixth form to study subjects I really didn’t enjoy or see myself pursuing as a career. I didn’t know what I wanted to ‘be’ when I grew up, I still don’t. However, the idea of the blog and the magazine came to me quite at random, yet they are two of the best things I have ever done.
Worrying is a waste of time. I spent a lot of time worrying over the past few years about money, jobs, life or my future and it doesn’t get you anywhere it only gets you down. Worrying doesn’t help solve a situation. There is a solution to every problem, you just need to find it.
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