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WHY I STARTED: My business journey & motivation

My journey to starting my business:

From an early age, I've been head-over-heels in love with design. I vividly remember those days when I could barely hold a crayon straight, yet I'd dive into creating colourful, imaginative drawings. That passion for design never waned as I grew older; if anything, it intensified. When I reached college, there was no doubt about my path – I was going to immerse myself in the world of art and design.


So, I embarked on a journey through school and college, where I pursued anything and everything art and design-related. Eventually, I emerged with a BA Hons degree in visual communication and a Higher National Diploma (HND) in advertising – two significant milestones that paved the way for my career in the creative field.


My career in design truly took flight when I landed a job in an award-winning direct response agency in Leeds. There, I embraced my role as a senior art director, revelling in the creative challenges that came my way. Those six years were a formative phase in my professional life, and I thrived in that dynamic environment.


Helping the community

Life's unexpected turns:

However, as life often does, it threw a few curveballs my way. These twists and turns led me to a life-changing decision – packing up and venturing from the North to the South. This significant move marked the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey.


Founding I am Emily Design & Marketing:

In 2009, I took a leap of faith and founded I am Emily Design & Marketing. It was a thrilling and somewhat daunting experience to start my own business. The prospect of charting my course, pursuing my creative vision, and helping clients communicate their stories through design excited me to no end.


Life beyond work:

My journey wasn't limited to professional pursuits. In parallel, I embraced another life-changing role – that of a parent. Over the years, my family grew to include two amazing kids, three incredible step-children, a gorgeous furball, and my rock, the man who keeps me grounded.


Crafting a reputation:

Since its inception, I am Emily Design & Marketing has been all about crafting a reputation. I've honed my skills and focused my creative energy on serving small to medium-sized businesses, helping them stand out in a competitive marketplace. Along the way, my hard work and dedication have been recognised with accolades and awards.


More than just pretty designs:

While I'm undoubtedly passionate about creating visually appealing designs, there's more to my work than meets the eye. My driving force extends beyond aesthetics; it's about making a real impact and leaving a positive mark on my clients and the environment.


Guided by morals and sustainability:

A strong moral compass guides my actions, both personally and professionally. I'm committed to sustainability and embrace practices that minimise our impact on the environment. This commitment isn't just a trendy buzzword – it's a deeply ingrained value that informs my choices every day.


Finding balance and purpose:

At this point in my career, I find myself exactly where I want to be. My dedication to work-life balance ensures that I have the freedom to pursue my creative passions while supporting the UK freelance industry. Furthermore, it allows me to give back to my community and local charities, all while doing what I love. This delicate balance keeps me grounded and ensures that I continue to derive immense satisfaction from my work.


Giving back to the community:

Community support has always been close to my heart. I believe in giving back, and I do so by donating my time and expertise to local charities and community projects. By helping them market themselves effectively, I enable them to raise more funds and awareness. It's my way of contributing to our local area, preserving that old-fashioned sense of 'community' that's often lost today.


An inspiring recognition:

In 2018, I experienced a highlight that remains etched in my memory. The Mayor of Southend honoured me with a BSTLC Gold Award for my community work. This recognition inspired me to redouble my efforts and continue supporting numerous charities and community projects across the county.


Positive changes and social responsibility:

In every business I work with, I strive to make positive changes. Whether it's working towards a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program or implementing more sustainable practices, I'm committed to guiding businesses towards responsible choices. My affiliations with ORB (Organisation for Responsible Businesses), the small business sustainability basics program, and the no issue eco packaging alliance further underscore my dedication.


Creating a warm fuzzy feeling:

All of these endeavours contribute to a warm, fuzzy feeling that I'm making a difference by doing what I love. I've witnessed firsthand how my work benefits the community, impacts businesses positively, and aligns with ethical and caring values. These experiences are the fuel that keeps my motivation burning bright.


Community impact testimonials:

Here's what some of the main charities and community projects I've worked with recently and on an ongoing basis have to say about the impact of the work I've done:


"Emily 'I am Emily' is our marketing guru at Time & Space, our unique venue in Battlesbridge and REactivate our venue in Southend. She has worked closely with us to develop our promotions and strategies. Her understanding of our businesses has enabled us to increase our customer base significantly. Emily is our go-to for all things promotional. I am Emily would be a worthy winner of this award for her positive impact in the community."

Carol Carr, Director of Time & Space and Reactivate


"Emily has worked with SAFE on a pro-bono basis for several years, and the work she has done developing a website, social media presence, logo, and marketing strategy has significantly impacted our reach. The SAFE Facebook page is 'followed' by around 1,300 people, and this is no small part due to the impact Emily has made. I absolutely think that Emily deserves this award for her consistent support of SAFE and other charities."

Andrea Walter, SAFE (Supporting Asperger Families in Essex)


"We were delighted with how Emily understood our brief and worked swiftly with us to design a new website for charity Packed with Smiles. The original site was out of date and needed an updated look where we could share our vision and services, but still maintain our existing tone and feel. We launched our new website to coincide with a text-to-donate fundraising campaign to encourage traffic to the site, which was hugely successful. It would be our pleasure to see the team at I am Emily win this Community Impact Award."

Faith Horsley, Trustee and Friend of Packed with Smiles


"I have known Emily for about 13 years, and she has always been committed to supporting the local community. Because both my businesses have a social purpose, Emily has provided us with vital marketing and website design services on a pro bono or reduced rate basis that we would not otherwise have been able to afford. This award would celebrate the ongoing work Emily does in our local community."

Jill Poet, CEO ORB (Organisation for Responsible Businesses) and BSTLC CIC


What drives your business?

These testimonials and comments serve as powerful motivators for me to continue doing what I do and giving back. Now, I'd love to hear from you. What motivates you in your business? Share your stories and insights by leaving a comment.

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