Yay! I am ever so delighted to have won my first professional award! Even more so as it recognises my marketing and creative skills, and most of all as it is for Classic Brent Autos, my husband’s car repair workshop… which means there’s much more to this than a marketing initiative.
It’s not only my husband’s legacy project, having started the business in 1989, it’s my absolute heart and passion project.
To cut the long story short, I followed my heart, then my passion and finally my dreams, and in the process I have found my husband, my gift and my calling… and won the award for “Best Marketing Initiative” of Brent council’s Small Business Saturday Awards.
And here’s the long story of why this award means so much.
I followed my heart
Ok, this one might be a bit private, however it’s my personal love story that took my life in a whole new – and rather unexpected – direction.
In a nutshell, money and career chasing in the corporate rat race, being single, and a fair bit of partying pretty much sums up my life from my university days all the way to my early to mid-thirties.
When I shifted my focus and interests – to coaching, personal growth and development, gardening, walks and yoga to name only a few – life slowly started to change, too.
I also took up dancing classes and this is when the unexpected happened. I met a nice man. In a social setting like that perhaps not that unexpected after all. We started chatting and asking each other what we do for a living. Perhaps a little bit unexpected as I was not usually that interested. He told me that he was an accountant. In the automobile industry. I was thrilled and started to like the (also very well dressed) man. The accountant at Ferrari as I told my friend.
Probably all as expected, so we started dating and I had to find out that he is in fact a mechanic. Self-employed with his own workshop, which is why he insisted that he didn’t lie to me. After all, he has to file his accounts every year. My (accountant infatuated) ego kicked in. And loud. In other words, I got so cold feet that I decided to end this romance quickly.
I was early for our date and walked up and down the street (away from the meeting point) thinking about how to tell him that we are not for each other when I turned around and … bumped into him! He was also early and walked up and down that same road. This most unexpected meeting was followed by the most unexpected kick, which quite literally felt like lighting hitting me and telling me that he’s the one.
My heart had opened, I followed it and the rest is history!
I followed my passion
Going back to the shift in focus and interests, another change I had made in those days was in my career as I went from permanent employment to contracting. A trend that started to emerge particularly in my line of work, which was overseeing and co-ordinating often large technology and change programmes.
I already liked the taste (albeit small) of being my own boss then, so in hindsight my enthusiasm for helping out in the garage business – taking on (and over!) admin, operational and marketing tasks, and of course the accounts department – was perhaps not that big of a surprise after all.
When it comes to marketing, the creative process of copywriting and building a brand well and truly put me in my element and made me thrive.
Fast forward about 6 years and here are some of the fruits we have reaped from my marketing, content strategy and copywriting creations.
- We transformed the business from a Joe Bloggs type of place to a real specialist, niche and by appointment only garage, and built on my husband’s expertise, strengths and passion.
- We accomplished a rebranding exercise, including a business name change, revamped proposition and brand-new (DIY-ed by myself) website.
- We’ve built a social media presence and brand, which is original and authentic, and which makes us proud AND won us an award.
- We’ve also built an extension, although that mostly required my project management skills and saw me wearing muddy boots and cleaning up dirt and dust.
It’s funny how in hindsight it seems so obvious that crafting copy and content has always been my passion and put me in a happy place – whether I wrote and edited university assignments, project plans and charters, business and change communications, or also publications and my own personal mini blog – yet I never thought of it as anything special about me, or my talents, or that it could make for a viable career.
I can only guess that it was the combination of falling in love with both, my man and entrepreneurship, that helped me to recognise my skills as a gift and to follow my passion. So much so that I ditched my traditional corporate career altogether to start my own freelance business, offering content strategy, copywriting, editing and proofreading services.
I followed my dreams
With so many epiphanies and breakthroughs, both on a personal level and in our garage business I started to feel more and more compelled – perhaps called!? – to share our success stories. (And there are many more!)
Not to boast about anything, but solely to inspire. Inspire positive belief in people everywhere and to remind them to follow their hearts, their passion and their dreams.
This is when the mechaniclondon idea – my heart & passion & dream project – was born!
What started off with my creating of a blog with a dormant URL (mechaniclondon), which my husband bought many years ago when a cold call from an agency promised tons of leads, has eventually grown into a social media presence (initially on Twitter and YouTube). And today, MECHANICLONDON has not only come to life in form of a cartoon character (so far displaying my husband and the classic car he has been restoring), he has also become my storyteller (!) – not just promoting our workshop and car repair and maintenance services, but sharing inspiring stories and quotes about our business and life journeys. In a nutshell, the guiding encouragement is: “If a mechanic can do it, everybody can.”
At the moment the MECHANICLONDON is mainly kicking on Facebook, Twitter and our website, however my dream and vision with it is huge. So hopefully, this is still only the beginning of this wonderful journey of following my heart, my passion and my dreams. If you would like to, you are most welcome to follow the journey on facebook.com/mechaniclondon. A massive special thanks also goes to the lovely and talented cartoon designer Taz.
Need help with your content strategy, communications planning or copywriting?
If you need help putting the heart (=excellence) back into the copy, content or communications of your business, cause or project, I will be delighted to work with you! I am Birgit Diggins, Copy and Content Strategist and Writer, and Founder of Power-Words.com.