I always find it fascinating learning about the journeys people have across their career. Gone are the days where you have a job for life; now it is a time where there are portfolio careers, mixed skills, and international client bases!
This month I am featuring the wonderful Carolina Gomez, who runs Social Pineapple, providing fresh content and delicious ideas for small business owners who want to stand out!
Let’s hand this over to Carolina and learn more about her story and how self-belief has played a part in her success.
I’ve always enjoyed ‘being my own boss’ and by that, I mean having the ability to use my time as I please. Not because I can easily slide into the slippery slope of procrastinating but because I’m a night owl so I’m more productive then. Which is not ideal for the traditional 9-5 working day. However, I did ride this wave for a long time.
After University I got my first job in the UK at Antidote. An amazing creative events company that aims to provide joyful escapism to London urbanites. I was there for 4 years and worked my way up from Freelance Creative Assistant to Head of Production. My first daughter was born at around the time I began to work there. Yep, I was a young mum at 23. But had buckets of energy to work full-time, and launch an ethical hand-embroidered children’s’ wear business called Lunamano that provided employment to the women of El Salvador (where I’m originally from). I loved creating the brand, the collection and selling them during festival season and markets across London. That’s when I knew I had to be ‘my own boss’.
After a couple of years, I started to get an itch to move on from my day job as it wasn’t challenging anymore. As I’d been working on Lunamano for a while I’d developed many new skills like social media management, attending trade shows, designing collections and getting them into production, PR, copy writing, art direction, and web design – I was an all-rounded machine! This lead my CV into the hands of a head hunter that was recruiting for the role of Head of Creative for a fantastic start up called The Longest Stay – an online furniture store.
The concept was so unique, this was back in 2013 when “shoppable” content was not mainstream. I met its CEO Sherry Roberts, who would inspire anyone to do anything! So I joined her, we worked tirelessly to bring this brand to life. I got to edit all the web content, build the brand, set up social media channels, create content and direct photo shoots for the company’s style guide. I was full on, and I made the tough choice of closing down Lunamano to focus on The Longest Stay.
Unfortunately, my husband was made redundant during my fourth year at the company and at the same time, I got called back by my old boss to join him in another company he’d set up. This time, in property. Talk about a portfolio career!
As part of my past role at Antidote I had sourced and negotiated the purchase of a £3m property in London and he’s redeveloped it since and is currently rented out. This, of course, brought him, let’s say, a good source of income so he thought of me to find more properties to invest on. It was certainly, not a career path I’d intended to choose but under the circumstances, it was a great financial opportunity. And I took it.
You know how they say – “money is not all in life”?. So true! I learned so much about negotiations and it forced me to think about opportunities with a commercial hat on, which is great because it’s something I never did with Lunamano. I realise now, you need both the creative and commercial acumen to run a business. However, the industry wasn’t for me. And as luck would have it I got pregnant with my second child (8 years after my first!). A took a year maternity leave and decided not to go back. Unlike my first pregnancy, where I was a lot younger, I felt I really got to enjoy this one and I wanted to take my time to savour every moment. But, after a year off work and then another year looking after the little one – it was time to get back in the saddle.
I thought a lot about what was next for me. I knew I wanted to do something I was passionate about, something that would allow the flexibility I craved (for my family’s sake and I own sanity) and something I was good at. Creating content, social media management and brand building hit that sweet spot.
SOCIAL PINEAPPLE was born.
What has been a challenge? How have you overcome it?
My biggest challenge is my own fear of failing. It’s so strong and powerful I can convince myself my work or my knowledge is no good and that there are many people out there doing it already so what’s the point. I think that thought froze me for the best part of last year. I’m not sure what changed this year, maybe looking at my bank account, or maybe seeing my husband working hard for our family and me just “Netflixing” my days away (I’ve never admitted that before). Or maybe, my brain just flicked a switch – when it did I created the brand, the website, the content and social media channels in about a week and haven’t stopped since.
What has surprised you?
My power of self-belief. It’s quite an extreme. It’s either “your work sucks” or “you’re amazing, keep going!”
What advice would you give someone in the same position?
Just do it. Don’t think about it. Set yourself a target with a time limit and do it. Also, if you have one, stop your subscription to Netflix and Amazon Prime!
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