HerStory Number 14 - Eloise Ranson
Welcome to episode 14 of HerStory, my blog series sharing the career journeys and behind the scenes stories of some of the incredible women I’m so proud to be connected with.
This week I’ve been chatting with web designer, Eloise Ranson. Me and this beauty are very much cut from the same cloth when it comes to our attitudes towards to marketing, women in business, community over competition and our slighty goth-like younger years.
Eloise, welcome to HerStory. Please introduce yourself and a bit about what you do?
Hey! Im Eloise and I run a web design and development company. I help creative, femprenuers get more online leads with a website they love.
Such a fun different area of digital marketing from me. And I adore your specific lean towards ‘websites they love’; it’s so important to love your own business tools and assets to get the most from them. What you did before you started your company & what made you take the leap to self-employed life?
Before running a business, I worked in many digital agencies working on websites for the likes of Vauxhall, Slimming World and Budgens. But every bone in my body knew I wanted to run a business of my own - something I dreamt about from a young age.
4 years out of uni and working in agencies, I became very depressed. I was fed up of male dominated offices and boring projects. I was fed up of not living my truth and had a vision in front of me that I knew could become my reality if I just reached for it.
So I set a deadline, saved a little money, told everyone I knew I was making the jump and went for it. There was also an unexpected change to my job role which left me more depressed and gave me the motivation to quit 3 months earlier than planned!
I love that you were so focused and driven to making the change intentionally. And seriously well done for knowing what was best for your health and leaving sooner than you’d planned. It sounds like the perfect job you’ve crafted - what would you say is the best bit?
Hands down the flexibility! Bad vibes from client? Don’t take the project! Need a day off at short notice? No problem! Got all my work done before 12? Take the afternoon off! Worked late in the evening? Let’s have a lay in tomorrow!
I’m also an early bird and my brain starts to switch off by 11am which made my 9:30-5:30 such a difficult grind.
Most client work is completed between 5-12am and I have Friday off but I’m still 100x more productive than I ever was working on someone else's time.
As another girl whos experienced agency iife, having the control and flexibility of client work, hours and work-life balance is so glorious when you can make it your own. You seem really intuitive and aware about what you need from a job to make it work for you. What’s the big why that drives you?
I was a massive Goth between the ages of 12-16 and growing up I had to tone myself down (in clothing and behaviour) for other people because I was ‘too much’. Whether that was for school, a job interview, office dress codes etc.
Going freelance was the first time in my life I felt I could be completely and utterly myself. The problem? I was too scared clients would find out was a weirdo and wouldn’t want to work with me.
It wasn’t until I was constantly attracting mundane projects that I realised “Hey, I want to work with other weirdos like me!”. I came out of my shell after that and my business started to flourish as I landed dream clients.
A lot of my clients come to me because their website is flat and mundane and so I love helping others show off their personality with a website that truly reflects them. One of the best things I hear from clients when I show them the design is “Omg it’s me in a website, I love it!” which makes my heart sing! And in turn they get to attract more leads, dream clients and have the confidence to find their tribe! #weirdosunite!
I am LOVING #weirdosunite! Oh, the good old Myspace days have A LOT to answer for. I was also a weird gothy/emo kid. Funny how things have and haven’t changed since! What impact would you say social media has had on your business growth?
I actually got into coding thanks to MySpace. Remember that? XD
You could customise your profile using this magical language of ‘HTML’. When I saw how you could type some text into the editor, click save and see a whole new design on your profile, I was blown away. I became obsessive about it. Deconstructed and experimented with it to see how it worked. If it wasn’t for MySpace, I don’t know if I’d be doing what I am now and I’m super grateful for that experience.
Fast forward to 15 years later and social media is still giving me amazing opportunities. I’ve met good friends, established an amazing networking of business buddies and landed clients across the pond! Social media has definitely been a BIG part of growing my business.
You’ve hinted at agency life not being great, before and there’s been mental health wobbles along your journey, but what would you say is the biggest struggle you’ve had to overcome so far?
Charging what I want for my services and getting paid my worth. Seriously, this can be really tough in the beginning as we wrestle with our limiting beliefs. I was so scared to ask for money and found it a tricky subject. But when I realised I was only making £500 per month I knew something had to change.
I also wanted to help everyone and would often discount at any client sob story. But as I design and code sites from scratch, I realised I was offering a luxury, bespoke service and targeting the wrong audience (start-ups). Once I changed my target audience and understood where my services are needed in the market, I was able to adjust accordingly and really hone in on my clients problems, how my services help and how my messaging speaks to them.
Remember, the market is a spectrum. They’ll be people willing to pay £50 for a website and people who’ll pay £500,000. So where do you want your services to sit on that scale?
Such amazing advice and an incredible lesson at setting your own personal boundaries for your standards around what you’re worth. It’s something I know so many people struggle with. Serious high five.
We all know boundaries are a key part of self care, do you have any other tried and tested methods to look after yourself as a business owner?
Oooh I have lots of these too! I have ADHD and recently diagnosed Fibromyalgia. I get very tired and ill and can quickly burn myself out. The most helpful form of self-care to me is simple: Saying No.
I’ve rearranged meetings when I was having a tough day. I postponed tea at a friends for soaking in the tub instead. I missed a networking event so I could sleep for 10 hours instead. And you know what? I was MUCH better for it.
We like to do all the things and promise the world to everyone but accepting that I’m not a superhuman robot (as much as I would like to think!) and I can’t do it all has made an outstanding difference in my life.
An incredible lesson to learn. I’ve done similar in regards to protecting my mental health and energy levels. I’ve cancelled a networking event because of a panic attack, rearranged meetings because I could feel the onset of a depression wobble and needed to take a mental health day. I’ve finally accepted I am only one person and there’s only so much I can accomplish, so to not give myself a hard time.
Ok, so when you’re not working, what kind of stuff do you enjoy doing?
Kickboxing, dressmaking and growing vegetables. I’m super proud of my up and coming vegetable farm where I’ve managed to grow carrots, courgettes and tomatoes.
What an amazing mix of stuff! Advice for anyone thinking of following in your starting up their own business? Vegetable related or not.
The life of entrepreneurship has been glamourised into this vision of sipping cocktails on the beach with your laptop, working only 2 hours and getting paid millions to do so.
Whilst that’s certainly achievable, it’s only a result and not a job. And so those who dream of this without knowing what they do are going to really struggle.
Particularly in the beginning, the day to day looks very different. You’re at home or in a coffee shop or co-working space and you have to be your marketing team, admin assistant, accountant, copywriter, boss and employee.
Running a business is hard and has downsides too, so when we look at full-time employment VS freelance, it’s really just a ‘grass looks greener’ scenario. It’s not for everybody and that’s okay.
For me, I didn’t care about the beach. I wanted to wake up everyday working on what I love and manage all the things whether I was rich or not! If you have that burning passion for something too then go for it. You’ll be fine and you can do this! Don’t let the safe comfort of a soul-sucking job stop you from living your truth!
OOOSH that last sentence! I see so many people sticking at jobs they hate just because it’s comfortable and they’re often a bit scared to jump the boat. The rest is so on point as well. It can be easy to get sucked in by the “highlights” and skewed realities on social media, but the results really do take hard work to reach. A lot of people forget about the journeys and what’s underneath the glorious tip of the iceberg.
Looking back, is there anything you’d wish you’d know at the start of your journey?
Prioritise making money first and keep it a priority. The most important resource for keeping you and your business going is money.
I found it hard to shift my mentality from hobby to business and felt bad for charging people money to work on something I loved. I was also afraid of mentioning the M word and had personal mindsets to get over that were a real money block.
So give yourself permission to take your business and passion seriously. You’ve worked so hard and deserve it!!
Ah I know money blocks all too well. Working on my money mindset has been a game-changer for my business this year. Right. We’re coming to the end of the interview so lets have 3 fun facts about you…
- Mother of 4 rabbits, 4 guinea pigs and 2 cats
- I have a black belt in kickboxing and you’ll often see me sporting neon pink boxing gloves.
- I once kissed Frank Carter on the cheek on stage at Rock City! #lifegoalscomplete
These are GREAT! Honestly, I would never have had you down as a kickboxer, I think that’s amazing! And last question, what’s a song that gets you fired up for the day which I’ll add to our HerStory Playlist?
Ooo, tough choice as there are so many! At the moment I’d say ‘Wow’ by Beck. A great reminder of how amazing but fleeting life can be!
Thank you so much Eloise, it’s been gorgeous chatting to you! If you’d like to find out more about Eloise and her work, or want to give her a follow, you can find her: Website, Facebook, Instagram
Want to share your HerStory with my community? Drop me an email and let’s have a chat! firstname.lastname@example.org