Fiona Minett runs Boss Your PR, a brilliant online resource which supports small businesses to DIY their PR. Here Fiona reveals her inspirations and influences – and why nothing beats a break in the Brecon Beacons for a quick sanity boost.

What inspired you to set up your business?

When I was 24, I set up a boutique PR Agency which I then ran for 6 years until taking an extended maternity break with my daughter.  It took me a long time to decide how I wanted to get back into work and whether it was PR or something new.

Ultimately, I just started by generating content and writing down my techniques, processes and things I’d learnt from 6 years in business and 7 years in PR and this starting point naturally evolved into the DIY approach to PR.  Through Boss Your PR, my mission is to make PR accessible and actionable for start ups and small businesses for whom budget and time is restrictive.

I had often been approached by businesses that couldn’t afford a monthly agency retainer but still saw the value of PR and had beautiful products and great stories to share.  My work now is about enabling and empowering these businesses to get visible.

What makes your product special and where are you based?

I feel that I have a unique experience, having worked with countless small businesses across both B2B and B2C sectors.  I understand their pain points, their struggles with visibility, the budget constraints, the hurdles they face and therefore, my teaching and support is very much tailored to accommodate these. I am based near Thame on the border of Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire and run regular PR workshops through these counties.  I also travel with my workshops as well as providing online services.  I always take time to connect with and truly understand the person and positioning behind any business I work with, and any one that I network with.  I think its so important to be personal.  For me, it isn’t about the number of people that I can reach with these messages, it’s about the potency with which I can share these messages.  To make a difference to a business or entrepreneur on any level is what drives me.

How do you use social media to build your business?

Social media has been instrumental to me in building my business.   Instagram has allowed me to create a community around the concept, to share my expertise, to connect with potential collaborators and to generate business.  I feel like we are so lucky to have a platform like instagram to enable us to share and connect with like minded people, it is incredibly powerful and I don’t take it for granted. I use Facebook to offer a closed group within which I share training resources, tips, guidance and I do regular webinars for members on a variety of topics.  For me, it is so important to share my knowledge to break down the barriers between small businesses and PR.  There are a lot of misconceptions and myths around PR that need dispelling and this is something I am able to do through all of my social media channels.

What’s the best piece of advice you have been given?

I don’t know that I can recall specific advice that I’ve been given.  I have had amazing support and encouragement from people around me on this journey.  One piece of advice that I do retain and share with those I work with is that ‘YOU are your USP’.  Being you is a power that no one else can have.  You will always have something different to bring to the table through your experience, background, personality, nature and this is so powerful to keep in mind whenever you start to fall into a trap of comparison or self-doubt.

What has been your greatest challenge?

I often find that the juggle of being a mum and wife vs being successful in business is the toughest challenge.  It is very easy to feel like you’re spreading yourself too thinly and the guilt that comes with that is difficult.  It’s a problem shared by any working parent and it will continue to be so.

How do you switch off?

Not very well.  I do struggle but I think that’s a given when you love what you do.  My daughter grounds me.  I love to spend my downtime with my family; eating, being outdoors, taking a day trip and really just trying to be present. I’m not great at making time to read but I will take some time out with a glass of wine and a film when I get the chance.

Where do you go on holiday?

It’s been a few years now since we’ve travelled abroad and during that time our ‘go to’ holiday has been to spend time in Wales.  My family hails from South Wales and myself, my husband and our daughter love to spend a week in the Welsh wilderness somewhere amongst the Brecon Beacons at least once a year.

What lesson do you wish you had learnt at school?

I think more ‘life lessons’ would really have benefited my generation and those following.  I think the working world has changed a lot in the 15 years or so since I left school after A-Levels – there is a lot more support and messaging around empowerment when it comes to stepping into the world of work on your own terms.  Having been to an all girls high school, we were funnelled into universities and suggested careers without truly grasping the potential that might be out there for us beyond these archetypes.

On a personal level, I think it’s important for anyone of school age to truly understand that none of the ‘earth shattering drama’ you feel like you’re experiencing actually matters when you leave the bubble and enter the real world.  It doesn’t matter if you’re not the most popular, it doesn’t matter if your not as book smart as some, it doesn’t matter if you can’t play hockey – the main thing I would want anyone leaving school to have learnt is to ‘just be you’.

What app/website/twitter account would you recommend?

I am SO lucky to work with so many inspiring and amazing networking groups, small businesses, entrepreneurs and ‘influencers’ who I could recommend in a flash, but to choose a few accounts…. Girl Tribe Gang is a network that I work closely with as the leader of one of the regional networking groups under the Girl Tribe banner and the content that the founder, Catherine Asta Labbett, shares always inspires and hits the nail on the head in so many respects.

Sarah Akwisombe is someone I’ve long followed but not had the opportunity to connect with.  She is no nonsense and is a total powerhouse on all things business.

I am also endlessly inspired by Verity Brown aka The Seasalt Plan and her teachings on mindset, positivity and the power that we hold within ourselves as women.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

Doing exactly the same in a lot of ways.  I truly enjoy my work, so to be able to continue the networking, the workshops, the 1-to-1 training and all the other elements that encompass Boss Your PR would be amazing.  I’m working on my first book now, so perhaps to have released that and potentially a follow up as well. I feel that, despite having worked for myself for almost 9 years, I am finally working on my terms and doing a job I love.  Surely it can’t get much better than that?