We spoke to Helen Beckett about how she became an independent PR consultant…
“It was my third birthday this January – well not mine obviously but my company’s third birthday. Like many I was one of those ‘if only’ type of people, waiting for some divine intervention before setting up my own business. Well it happened: the recession hit the mid-sized PR firm where I was an Account Director and they made me redundant and put me on garden leave. I didn’t have a garden at the time so I began sowing seeds of my business instead. That was in 2009 and I’ve been happier than ever as my own boss.”
Tell us about your work.
“Illuminate Communications specialises in working with innovative companies, charities and public sector. There is generally a technology connection to what my clients do but that is not essential: it’s more about having an interesting story to tell and a PR objective that is not simply about press coverage. I like to work closely with the senior decision-makers and my flexible approach works well for my clients. I am not a 9-5 girl, I am there whenever they need me instead be that weekday, evening or weekend. I am happy to visit client’s offices even when that means regular trips down to Wales.”
Where do you like to work?
“My office desk is in a lovely village in Kent, where looking out over fields, listening to woodpeckers and tractors provides its own inspiration and an environment conducive to ideas. I also enjoy co-working spaces at KindredHQ and at the CIPR. I work independently and with small teams of other freelancers, depending on the size of the project. I’m lucky to know some very talented people. I hope to take on a full-time apprentice this summer.”
What’s on your desk?
“My desk is surrounded by handwritten cards and postcards from people I know. I’m a firm believer in the postal system. There is always a radio or iPod close by as I am a radio obsessive, listening to BBC Radio 4 or 6 or 2 all day and night, a habit that runs in my family for generations, my granny always had a radio turned on in every room. The burmese cats, Cleo and Rufus, are not officially part of Illuminate but they like to get in on the action by chewing the phone cable at inopportune moments or sitting on my laptop at a crucial point. I could make some mews/muse joke here about the furballs but I’ll leave it to the reader to make.”
If you need help getting your message out then head over to illuminatecommunications.co.uk and drop Helen a line.
Or follow her on Twitter: @helenjbeckett