It’s something of a leap to go from being an artist selling your work through exhibitions to being the social media manager for a networking group, but that’s exactly what Lisa McGinty did –with a bit of help from Digital Gum.
Lisa initially trained as a sports therapist and then a beauty therapist before undertaking a number of fine art courses and setting herself up as a freelance artist. ‘The type of artwork I was doing was very specialist,’ she explains. ‘It was an interest and not something that was hugely commercially viable. I didn’t get into it for that.’
Lisa promoted her work by using social media and on her own website. ‘I found I was starting to enjoy that aspect more than the actual painting,’ she admits.
In the meantime, Lisa attended at event at Grow and signed up to the mailing list. It was through one of those emails that she learnt about Digital Gum and found herself signed up to the second cohort.
‘I was amazed by how many IT women were on the course and thought I was out of my league,’ she recalls. But she quickly realised that her skills were more up to date than she’d realised – WordPress and social media in particular – as she’d be using them regularly for marketing her art.
The lightbulb moment for Lisa happened when social media expert Rachel Bradley came to speak to the group. ‘I realised that people actually had jobs doing this stuff,’ she smiles. ‘It was invaluable and opened up a whole new creative industry that I hadn’t really thought about.’Lisa enthuses about so many other things she benefitted from on the course. ‘Without it
I wouldn’t have found out about making videos as well as Canva and Adobe Spark – all the twiddly bits that make your stuff more polished.’ But even more than that, she explains, ‘Digital Gum made me more confident and realise you don’t have to be amazing at what you’re doing. You have to have the confidence and the right attitude to know you can do something well.’
That new found confidence has helped Lisa grow as a person and throw herself into working with small businesses, offering website and social media support. ‘I’m now doing social media for Start Up Grind in Reading,’ she adds. Start Up Grind is a networking group aimed at small business owners or people thinking about setting up on their own. Indeed, it’s proved the perfect environment for her as she can offer her services to the entrepreneurs attending the monthly meetings.
Digital Gum also encouraged Lisa to use LinkedIn and Twitter more strategically. Indeed she has been following business leaders on Twitter and engaging them, then connecting with them on LinkedIn. ‘I’d been using LinkedIn but hadn’t realised the importance of it, especially for B2B,’ she explains.
Lisa is continuing her learning journey and has been attending fortnightly workshops aimed at people starting their own businesses. ‘I love what I’m doing,’ she enthuses. ‘I love learning and helping small businesses by giving them tools to develop and grow.’ And would she be in this place without Digital Gum? It’s a resounding, ‘No!’.