Freelancer Of The Week

Our new series features freelancers from our community and we talk about how they’ve coped during the crisis and their predictions for the future.

First up is Beccy Gibson from Tempt Marketing, a specialist hospitality marketing agency based in Manchester.

What’s your background and what do you do now?

I run a business, Tempt Marketing which specialises in Marketing & PR projects for the hospitality & events industry.

I have an MSc in International Events and Conference Management, a professional diploma with The Chartered Institute of Marketing and over 13 years’ experience in the sector – which includes operations, events, sales and marketing for venues, suppliers, events across the country. I set up Tempt Marketing in summer 2018 with the mind-set to offer businesses the marketing & PR strategy and activities they need to help them engage with their consumers and raise the profile of their brand.

I’m also on the national board for The Female Hospitality Network, and a support volunteer for Samaritans.

How have you been affected by the crisis?

Around two weeks before ‘lockdown’, when Boris Johnson advised the public to stay away from restaurants, pubs and cafes, in the space of about 5 days I lost all my clients! Current retainers placed pause, and any planned campaigns were postponed to ‘god knows when’. I went into panic mode, then – applied to various entry level jobs.

Since then, an awful lot has happened. The pandemic worsened so instead of feeling worried about my income, I was more grateful to be healthy and safe. The state of the economy also went (and still is) in meltdown, but unlike before it’s now all sectors, and the government have out some provisions in place.

I’ve spent the time learning, dining some voluntary PR work and picking up conversations with old contacts or previous clients. In the past two weeks, I’ve actually picked up three client projects which I can work on from home. It’s really given me a sense of purpose again, and some positivity that there is business out there. (Two of these are hospitality clients, the other is hospitality supplier who’ve pivoted to enter a different market)

How are you feeling and what have you done during the crisis to stay sane and manage your mental health?

I think every week is a bit of a rollercoaster. At first, I was sad, then panicked, now I feel much more at ease and used to this style of routine. I still plan my week in advance, however I’ve found I’m nowhere near as productive or focussed as I’d like to be, although I recognise there’s worse things.

I’ve been keeping sane / looking after my mental health by running. I’m a big exercise fan anyway (for both physical and mental reasons) but since lockdown I’ve really been making the most of my hours’ exercise by running outside and taking in the fresh air. The weather’s been great for it, and where I live there are some real picturesque spots. I’ve also been speaking to my friends and family on Zoom and Houseparty, then just taking some time to read / potter about, and just generally give my brain a bit of a rest. At first, I was strapped to ALL the new updates, but I try to check these less regularly the intense negativity was getting too much. (I think we’ve all felt it!)

What did your normal day look like before and what does it look like now?

Previous to all this, I’d spend almost every day of the week, ‘on the go’. I’d get up at 6am, then either be in meetings in Manchester or deep in project work then be at a networking event or working on my laptop until silly o’clock. I’m grateful for the gift of time right now, I’ve been getting a decent night’s sleep each night, I’ve had time to touch base with friends I wouldn’t normally speak to so often and I’ve used to time to read / learn but also just chill out. I miss the hustle of the city, the endless opportunities and my co-working community but I’ve actually realised that I don’t want to go back to rushing around, feeling stressed and working late on a daily basis. I’d like to think I’ll manage my time more effectively when life returns back to ’normal’. (She says, sat on her laptop at 9pm!)

How do you see things changing after the lockdown is lifted and for the future in your industry and beyond? 

The landscape of the hospitality and event industry is very unclear currently, with social distancing measure likely to continue for quite some time, the nature and experience will no doubt change. I imagine many more restaurants and bars will focus on a ‘retail’ way of working, whilst still trying to keep a community of consumers. Businesses will have to communicate these updates along with a huge amount of reassurance to both their staff and customers. With this, there could be some opportunity but with smaller budgets. As I have already, I’m prepared to collaborate with others and diversify my services to help keep the business alive. I’ve been regularly attending webinars and virtual events to make sure I’m up to speed with key thoughts, procedures and changes within marketing, PR and hospitality.

Freelancer of the week
Beccy Gibson

Thank you Beccy for taking part and you can check out her business Tempt Marketing here. 

You can join our FREE private members group where you can find support and guidance from an established freelance community here. 

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