Not many people can say they have the dream job, but Tamsin Pagella certainly did. As an international sales manager for Penguin Books, she travelled the world and got to spend long periods of time in places including South America and the Caribbean. ‘It was more of a lifestyle,’ she smiles.
She managed to return to work after the birth of her first child, but found it increasingly difficult to juggle family life and long trips away, particularly when child number two came along. It was time to say goodbye to the post. ‘I went through a grieving process,’ she recalls. ‘I felt a bit lost about who I was and what I was going to do.’
Fast forward a few years. Tamsin’s youngest child had settled into school and she was ready to start a new, pardon the pun, chapter. It was at this time that she heard about the Digital Gum course, and was instantly attracted by its mention of social media. Surprised at how affordable the course was, she felt she had nothing to lose and so signed herself up and joined the second cohort.
‘I didn’t know what to expect,’ she says, ‘but I found the people lovely and the topics interesting. And I can remember buzzing at the end of the first session.’ In fact, she enjoyed every session, always taking something away: ‘3D printing blew my mind!
‘The two sessions I loved the most were Gossip Girl PR’s and Antonia Taylor’s,’ she continues. ‘I could have listened to them all day and I re-read those notes regularly.’ The WordPress session made an impact too: ‘I was amazed at how accessible it was,’ she recalls, ‘and I felt really buoyed up at the prospect of building a website.’
By the end of the course, Tamsin was feeling motivated and inspired but hadn’t quite worked out what her next step would be. ‘It was part of a journey,’ she explains, ‘and I had to be patient.’ She continued this journey by attending sessions organised by Creative Duck in Henley and supporting an entrepreneur friend by providing social media support.
Tamsin admits she has always been inspired by small-business owners and five months after graduating from the course is in the throes of setting up Business Nightingale, which will offer support to small businesses, including website creation, sales and social media. ‘I’ve moved away from the idea of just doing sales to a more umbrella approach,’ she smiles. The name came to her on a dog walk and she immediately registered the domain name. ‘Having a name made everything come together,’ she explains.
So would she be where she is now if it hadn’t been for Digital Gum? Her answer is a resounding no. ‘I would mostly be floundering. I’d still be banging on about sales and would probably be applying for part-times jobs I didn’t really want.’ She goes on: ‘Louize is such a force and so inspiring. And she continues to be a great support. In fact I’m tempted to come back and do the small business course.’
Tamsin has become a huge Digital Gum enthusiast and has encouraged a number of her friends to sign up. ‘I tell them they’ll get back the confidence that’s been drummed out of them. I’m a positive and optimistic person but the course gave me the confidence to stick to my guns and set something up for myself. Plus I met lots of lovely people and made some great contacts.’