By Pat Southwell and Lynsey Barry:
It’s been a year since Five not 10 launched. We were soon named as one of the new UK PR agencies to watch in 2022 by PR Week. Since then, the months have flown by, the clients have come on board and new people have joined our journey.
We’re not ones to boast, but we’re proud of what we’ve achieved since September 2021. Where better than on our own blog to have a self-indulgent moment to reflect on a huge milestone.
1. How does it feel to have been in business a year?
L: I have never been happier or more liberated. Instead of it being daunting to set up on our own it’s been massively rewarding. There’s nothing like taking the learnings from the last 20 years and doing things your own way.
P: Hugely rewarding, yet strangely normal. Like any new venture, making the decision to go for it was nerve-wracking. Yet it soon became very clear that we should have done it sooner. It now feels totally natural to be taking decisions on every single aspect of our work. And to me, every decision we make is the right one. Not because we never make mistakes, or because we’re arrogant enough to think there isn't a different way of doing things, but because the decision was ours to make, and we made it. How could it be wrong when we’re the ones in charge?
2. What were the highlights?
L: Seeing our network come to life and support and champion us has been a huge highlight for me. We literally could not have made this year the success it has been without the key relationships we have built and nurtured over the last couple of decades. We will be forever grateful to our team, clients and supporters who believe in us as much as we believe in them.
P: There have been loads. The one that stands out is a weekly event. It gets to Sunday night and I’m excited about Monday morning. Winning our founding client, Silicon Reef, was a huge highlight. Going back to the front line of PR and smashing it was a delight. Winning global accounts has been amazing. Hiring some wonderful people has been hugely rewarding. There have also been quite a few trips and dinners, which were fantastic. I’ve also loved indulging my desire to write.
3. What were the biggest challenges?
P: There haven’t been any major roadblocks or stumbling points, but it’s taken time to adjust to being a business owner rather than an employee. You need a different mindset in every respect – from financial planning and accounting to hiring and new business.
L: Going from working in bigger agencies, to just the two of us for the first few months was a challenge. I don’t think I was prepared for just how much my head would hurt doing PR tasks that I hadn’t done for 15 years! But it has been like riding a bike. I am also responsible for running the business day to day – everything from finance to HR. We’ve had the support of great accountants but it has been a huge learning curve. Proves there is always something new to learn!
4. What’s next for Five not 10?
P: We’ve just created a five (not 10) year plan, a new structure and revamped our purpose. We want to keep going in the same direction we’re in, but with a renewed commitment to only working with clients we believe in and who believe in us.
L: Keep hiring brilliant people to come on the journey with us. We have an exciting plan for growth and at the heart of that is a great team.
5. What advice would you give yourself a year ago?
L: Trust your gut and you’ll be fine.
P: Don’t linger on what you left behind. The good stuff (expertise, experience and knowledge) comes with you. The stuff you worried about won’t.