Five Years and No Coffee
Five Years and No Coffee
As the kind of person who just gets an idea in her head, grabs the nearest device and starts working out the answer it might not surprise you to find out that one dull January day I decided ‘social media – there must be a business model for that’.
Well… following that Google search I discovered this little business called Green Umbrella that was based five minutes from my home. I devoured the website finding out about the services offered and jumped head first into the Facebook posts of this Green Umbrella to see what the story was. I had my answer, and I was happy – after all, I was right! There WAS money to be made in social media. So, I hit ‘Like’ on the Facebook page, carried on avoiding the housework, and (probably) watched repeats of something mindless whilst waiting for it to be time to do the school run.
But, I did keep thinking about that business, and how much I would really like to get involved with something like that.
24 hours later and, of course, I’m on Facebook. What do I see? A post from Green Umbrella advertising for Social Mediators. I read the post, followed the link, made my application and before I knew it – there I was sitting in front of this short, quirky, green-fleece clad individual (aka Julia) talking about Green Umbrella and a car called GUS.
I started working with Green Umbrella the following Monday morning.
And somehow five years have passed….
It used to be simple
Back then I had a couple of clients to look after, I tweeted and posted for them each day, and that was where my responsibilities ended. I worked from home and spent my day reading article after article on subjects I really didn’t need to know, but WOW it was interesting! If you asked me, then I would have been able to tell you exactly what I did. I managed the social media profiles for specific businesses, ensuring they were kept current and showed the businesses to be interactive and engaging.
Sounds straightforward right? Easy to describe what I did, simple to communicate in terms of my function?
Five years later and it is far from a simple question to answer! Every now and then we all stop for a moment and try to figure out what my job title should be, have a bit of a brainstorm… we never quite manage to arrive at an answer we all agree on.
If it’s important – I do it.
If it’s not important – I delegate it.
If it’s exciting – I do it knowing I should really have delegated it.
I’m sales and accounts, business development and admin. I account manage, and strategise, and train, and speak, and… well, the list goes on.
The difference is crazy
When I look back at the last five years and the difference in my function within the business it is crazy. It feels like I’m almost permanently out of the office attending client meetings, delivering workshops, and even out there selling and networking! I used to make a bit of a joke out of how I never leave the office, and how clients were lucky to see me away from my desk. I can’t use that old chestnut anymore!
I’m writing this sitting in Euston station after delivering a presentation around the corner from the Bank of England. Five years ago, would I have done this? – NO WAY! Just the thought of coming to London, all on my own, would have freaked me out. I remember attending a tech event in London a few years ago. Julia and I both attended and travelled together, just getting there was an anxiety fuelled white-knuckle ride – that’s no reflection on Julia’s driving by the way. (Unless you’ve been in a car with her of course.)
The truth is, my growth and development are testament to the growth of the business and the fantastic clients we’re lucky enough to work with. I feel like I am an integral part of so many of the businesses I work with – we all do. That’s why our clients buy into us here at Green Umbrella, and why we have seen the growth we have. We work with you, we make a difference to you and your business and…
Hold on. I’m ranting. Back to the point – I’m trying to tell you where I am now compared with five years ago.
Well, here at GUHQ I know I’m an integral part of the business, and it is fantastic. I love it – I truly love my job. But I struggle to tell people what I do, and for those that know, I often wonder what they actually think I do! This question plagued my mind when I was thinking about writing this.
What does Christina Actually do at Green Umbrella?
I decided there was only one way to find out what the answer was, so I hit social media – I asked my networks. We’re always telling people that they need to take conversations offline, so I also sent some messages out and – brace yourself – I even talked to people and asked them face to face!
Have you recovered from that last revelation?
It was interesting to see what the responses were. Both from people who work with me and from those people who do not know me from a business perspective at all – yes I even asked my parents!
So here are a few of the responses:
“Hi Christina – that is a big question!! Here is what I think you do: You are the social mediator team leader – you support clients to set up their social media plans, identify the most appropriate social mediator person to work with the customer, you keep an eye on things and generally keep things on track!! Plus being a generally nice person :)”– Michelle Banister, GMD People
“Picture the scenario, Julia brings in 10 clients who all want to start the next day. Christina is basically how that becomes a reality.
She manages Julia and the team (most are external which takes some doing) to make sure things are running smoothly. At each step of the process, it comes back to Christina to pass onto the next person.
It’s one of those jobs where you don’t know it’s happening unless it’s not.
And, she never makes tea, which must be a full-time job spending all day getting out of it.” – Cat Halfpenny, Social Mediator and Freelance designer
“I think you advise clients on how social media works for them and getting their website sorted 🙂 also glaring at me when I walk into the office making a noise xx” – Claire Hewitt, Village Emporium
“So is Christina, the main guy when Julia isn’t around? (I know she’s a woman really.) She runs training courses and teaches important people and businesses how to manage their social media. I know she’s a very busy lady” – My Best friend
“You help companies get noticed by Google, and support companies advancing their businesses – I hope that’s right.” – My Mum.
“I know what you don’t do; you don’t make the tea.” – Mark Mundin, my partner in crime
“You’re the glue that keeps it all together right?!” – Amanda Davies, ISV Software
“You practise favouritism – and it defines you. In a nice way. #youaremyfavourite” – Julie Raybould, Social Mediator
“I scratched my head when Christina asked me what she thought her role entailed. I did laugh when I read her blog as we have tried to come up with an appropriate job title for a few years now. The one word that constantly raises its head is “Overlord”. A quick search on Wikipedia and these words jumped out of the page “The overlord was bound to protect his tenant”. Christina is a protector. She protects the business by looking after the finances (and tells me that I am not allowed to buy stuff from Amazon), she protects our staff and mediators by continued support, and she protects our clients by showing them undivided attention. So, I now pronounce her new title to be ‘Operations Overlord’“ – Julia Doherty, The Boss!
This is just a select few responses – some of them are not for public consumption! There was a very clear message – my colleagues want me to spend more time making the tea, and far too many people know that spending an hour with me means they have homework to do. (The last one was both clients and colleagues!)
There have been huge changes in the online world in the last five years, I have loved every minute of it. I am incredibly excited about what the future holds and know that there are a couple of things that will remain the same. I will continue to love the job I do. And I will continue to be too busy to make the tea.