Next up in my interview series of inspiring business women is Fliss Lee. Fliss is a brand strategist, passionate about helping small businesses “be successful and grow their business, their way.”
What was your first job? Did you enjoy it?
After uni I actually went to Australia to travel and I also did a design internship at a design studio called Frost. It was a really renowned studio and was such a great experience for me. It’s where I realised I wouldn’t be a designer forever!
When I came home I got my first ‘proper’ job at a design studio called Golden. I was their first employee as it was a fairly new studio, so it was both exciting and really hard work in equal measures! I was exposed to so much that junior designers aren’t exposed to: client meetings, working on projects from beginning to end. We worked for huge clients such as Nike and Lurpak and smaller clients like photographers and start ups.
For my first job it was a great experience and I know it really impacted how I work and what I enjoy now. Rob made me question things and pushed me.
Both experiences opened my eyes to the world of branding- something I’d never really considered moving into before. I always thought I’d design magazines for a living or something!
What do you do now? Is this what you originally trained to do?
I help businesses to communicate what they do and to attract their ideal customers. I trained in graphic design which led me to work in branding. I learnt everything I know about branding from my roles in design agencies and working as part of an in-house creative team. It was this in-house role where I started to move away from design and started managing projects and working with every team in the business to thread the brand through everything.
These days I work with small businesses because I saw a lack of access to straightforward branding and positioning tools for small businesses that will actually help them to grow. I do that through 1:1 and group coaching and managing larger brand projects right from strategy through to execution.
How do your services help small business owners?
I help small business owners to craft a brand that works for them. That’s through knowing what matters and communicating what they do clearly and simply, getting to know their ideal client inside out and knowing exactly where and how to reach them. Crafting their brand helps them to be more specific with their marketing, so they can win more clients and grow faster, and spend more time on the things that feel right for them and their business.
Through 1:1 and group coaching, they’re learning how to create their brand themselves. It’s not just the work we do together in the sessions, but understanding why and how that will continue with them as their business grows.
I want small businesses to have the tools that the big brand use every day to be successful and grow their business, their way.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve been given? How did it help you?
Follow your gut. I think my dad gave me it and it’s been the best piece of advice I’ve ever been given. When I’ve made job decisions based on my head rather than my gut and heart, they’ve never worked out. I resisted self-employment for a few years because it felt risky… turns out it was the best decision I’ve ever made!
If you could give your 20-year-old self, one piece of career advice, what would it be?
You don’t need to have it all figured out. We seem to be taught that we need to pick a career and work towards it and that we should enter that career as soon as we leave college or uni. Life doesn’t work that way and as we get older and experience more things, our passions evolve and change and we come across whole areas of employment that we never knew existed.
I’d also say that some things won’t work out but you’ll learn SO much from those experiences. You can’t go through your working life without a few moves that don’t quite fit you. I haven’t met a person yet that has made perfect decisions throughout their career to date.
Which do you prefer, tea or coffee? Beach or pool? Seaside or countryside?
I love tea and coffee. For me, coffee is more of a social thing. A Saturday morning coffee and catch up. Whereas I drink different types of tea all day long. Both of them are a good moment to pause and unwind for 5 minutes, especially on a cold day.
If I had to choose between sea and countryside I’d say the countryside because I grew up somewhere more rural. But when I went to Australia and New Zealand I fell in love with the beach. They seem to have an amazing knack of building beautiful cities by the sea over there.
What’s your dream job or client?
I’ve been really lucky to work on some amazing jobs so far in my career and worked on some dream projects. Today, my dream client is someone who is super passionate about what they do, wants to change something in their industry (or the world) and help other people. Inspiring people who are in a completely different industry to me because I learn so much from them. I love that my job means I learn about all kinds of different subjects every day.
Also, other creatives because I’m super passionate about art and creativity and really want to help them succeed where I can.
Head over to the blog section to read about more inspiring businesses women.