Tracey Sweetland

Minding My Own Business

Helping you start and grow yours

 

PlanB Marketing

Making marketing, such as website design, graphic design, public relations, social media and copywriting services, accessible and affordable to all.

Impetus4

Empowering and supporting business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs to start and grow their own business.

She believed she could, so she did…

 

My Story

Hi, I’m Tracey Sweetland. Since 2014 I have been living my dream of running my own business.

I took the leap after taking voluntary redundancy and, along with three colleagues, set up an independent newspaper in my home town of Spalding.

In 2016, I set up an in-house marketing agency before taking voluntary redundancy again in September 2018. That was when I set up my own marketing business, Plan B Marketing.

I have now helped dozens of business owners by providing affordable and accessible website design, graphic design, public relations, copywriting and social media support.

My mantra during this journey has been – She believed she could, so she did…

Now I’m working on inspiring others to have that same belief in themselves. I want to help them have the courage to do whatever it takes for them to reach their goals.

My Motivations

Everything you want is on the other side of fear...

Fear is the biggest barrier to achieving your dreams. So, I am committed to feeling the fear and doing it anyway and stepping outside my comfort zone each and every day to reach my goals.

If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you...

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. It is only when you challenge yourself to try new things and learn new skills that you can grow and move towards your goals.

Get up, dress up, show up and never give up...

A goal is just a dream unless you are willing to put in the work. You have to know where you want to go and then put 100% effort into getting there – even on those days when you just don’t feel like it.

R

Skills

It’s no surprise that I know how to tell a good story, create winning websites and drum up a design which speaks a thousand words, but what really rocks my boat is helping other business owners to shout about what they are good at.

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Writing and design have been my business for a long time, but starting my own business has lit new fires in my belly to help other business owners to reach their goals.

After almost 25 years in journalism, I like to think I can always be relied on to tell a good story.

Obviously grammar and spelling are strong skills, as is my ability to interact and build rapport with people from all walks of life in one-on-one interview sessions.

As well as years of experience as a reporter, I am a professional sub editor, able to spot a literal at a thousand paces and write an attention grabbing headline with my eyes closed (not literally, obviously!)

You can count proofreading and editing other people’s copy as way up there on the skillometer after years of whipping junior reporters’ copy into shape.

My love of newspaper page design has since morphed into a burning enthusiasm for design in general – adverts, corporate brochures, fliers, business cards, logos, leaflets – I love ’em all!

Websites are also a self-taught speciality.

After learning basic html and css during a brief stint as a web editor in the early noughties, I have dabbled in various website building software, but these days prefers to keep things simple.

WordPress is now my website weapon of choice and I have used it with great success for my own business websites, as well as those I have designed for clients.

I am a keen advocate of lifelong learning and in the past year I have completed courses in life coaching and NLP techniques to equip me in my quest to help others conquer obstacles and reach their goals.

My latest training goals include business management, SEO for local businesses and social media, digital and content marketing.

Career

From reporter, sub-editor and web editor to co-founder of an independent newspaper, I am now focused on growing my marketing and design agency and helping other small businesses to make their voices heard.

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My actual career path has been very different from the one I planned as a student at Spalding High School, which I was due to leave in 1992 after A-levels in History, English and Human Biology to go off to university to study criminology.

Although I enjoyed the history and English – both of which I still have an interest in – I was not a great student at A-level (I did well at GCSE level, but boys and having fun got in the way once I turned 16) and even before I received my exam results I was looking for other options than carry on with education.

TRAINEE REPORTER

As is often the way, an opportunity presented itself at just the right time – a trainee position at the Spalding Guardian and Lincolnshire Free Press newspapers in my home town of Spalding, Lincs.

I was lucky (talented!) enough to get the position out of quite a few hopefuls and I was promptly sent off to the offices of the Peterborough Evening Telegraph where the then-EMAP diploma in journalism courses were based.

It was 20 week course, where trainees learned the basics of story structure, interview skills, court reporting and associated legal knowledge, as well as shorthand and the necessary skills to cover council meetings and turn any information into a readable, accurate story.

Afterwards followed two years of on-the-job training in Spalding, where I honed my skills and found a liking for the more “human interest” side of the job. You could keep your court and council stories – I was much more interested (and good at) talking to people, building a rapport and getting and telling their stories.

REPORTER

After qualifying in 1994, I moved to the Peterborough Evening Telegraph, and thrived in the fast-paced newsroom of a daily regional paper.

I soon bought a home in Peterborough and enjoyed the social side of the job with the close-knit news team and began to take on more responsibilities, including the title of health reporter.

SUB-EDITOR

A few years later the chance presented itself to join the sub-editing team, where I learned new proofreading, page design and editing skills, as well as the ability to write attention grabbing headlines.

INTERNET EDITOR

I was one of the first to embrace the new worldwide web when The Evening Telegraph made a foray into its first website and around the turn of the millennium joined a newly-formed team as internet editor, rewriting newspaper content for the web and learning basic html and css.

The change of direction soon landed me a brief spell at EMAP, setting up websites for some of its golfing and walking magazine titles.

However, the job didn’t hold much appeal, particularly when the opportunity arose to return to the newsroom environment I loved as chief sub-editor of The Peterborough Evening Telegraph, leading a team of ten.

CHIEF SUB-EDITOR

Management, leadership and responsibility were among the skills I quickly learned, as well as the ability to see the big picture while taking care of the small details which ensure a large daily newspaper goes to print on time with as few mistakes as possible!

There I stayed for more than four years, during which time I developed a passion for design, leading the weekly production of a magazine-style women’s supplement and other special features.

The work was all-consuming and the days were long and eventually I decided I needed to take a step back and when a writer/sub-editor role was advertised back in Spalding, it was time to move home.

As part of a smaller team I was involved in more design and editing work and was a key player in a number of organisational and system changes.

In 2008 I left to have my first daughter and did not return to work, back at the Spalding Guardian and Lincs Free Press in a part-time reporter role, until my second daughter was eight months old in September 2010.

DEPUTY NEWS EDITOR

The following January I returned to full time work as deputy news editor, helping the news editor to plan the weekly news content and manage a small team of reporters.

In autumn of 2011, news broke that redundancies were to be made and the news editor and myself were told we would most likely have to apply for one of a reduced number of reporter positions.

Neither of us were keen to do so, but we both also feared our options for other positions were limited, particularly as I was somewhat restricted by childcare arrangements which meant I was unable to travel far.

BUSINESS OWNER

But a lunchtime “desperation” chat led to an inkling of an idea to start our  own newspaper – and so the seeds of the Spalding and South Holland Voice were sown.

Since it started in April 2014, as well as the writing, page design and sub-editing, myself and my three co-directors had to learn about business – writing plans, forecasting financials, renting premises, payroll, PAYE, contracts, as well as sorting out printing, distribution and managing a team.

In October 2017, my attention turned to building the company’s marketing division, Rant Marketing – providing graphic design, websites, social media and copywriting for local businesses.

THE NEXT STEP…

As part of my role at the Voice and Rant Marketing, I have developed my skills in new areas, including advertising design, management, marketing and business development and am keen to share my knowledge to help other business owners find their voice and promote their products and services through my own Plan B Marketing company.

I am now looking forward to bringing other projects to fruition in the months and years ahead.

Values

I believe in honesty, fairness and respect in all aspects of my life. I wear my heart on my sleeve, stick to my guns, make decisions, find solutions and get things done. I am always striving to be the best I can be and to help others do the same.

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Everything I do in life and business comes from my deep-rooted belief in honesty, fairness and respect.

I strive to be open-minded and willing to listen to other people’s viewpoint – even if it does not coincide with mine – and I always attempt to take all opinions into account.

But you are unlikely to find me sitting on the fence when a decision needs to be made. I know my own mind and I’m not afraid to trust my own instincts to move things forward.

Nor am I afraid to stick to my guns – I wear my heart on my sleeve and people are left in no doubt about where I stand on issues. I detest bullying or aggression and believe arrogance is for losers.

I believe everyone is equal and makes an equally valid contribution to the team.

The value I put on fairness and equality has been key to building the team I have around me and fostering each individual’s sense of ownership of their joint goals and their enthusiasm for achieving them.

I continue to get a buzz out of motivating those around me to follow me on the journey to success and be the best they can be.

I am always striving to be the best I can be. I am 100 per cent motivated to use everything in my kitbag to move forward and to drive positive change for my clients to help them achieve a better, brighter, more successful future.

Interests

I am a family-loving, mad cat lady with a penchant for names beginning with K. I can often be found knee-deep in horse poo. I am a self-confessed TV box set binger with a love for literary kings, 80s rock gods and country and western crooners.

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Although most people would probably describe me as a career girl, I am also a homebird and family is everything to me.

I love spending time playing silly games, drawing pictures and making things with my two daughters, Florence and Eleanor, and when I’m not doing that I am most likely to be found knee deep in horse poo, mucking out the horse I keep at stables behind my mum’s home.

Tally – a 40th birthday present from my mum – is my treasure, even though she’s a bit temperamental.

When the yard chores are done and it’s time to come inside and take to the sofa, you’ll often find me in the company of my cats, Kiefer, Kiki, Cleopatra and Cookie, and dog Carter. The ‘K’ (or K sound) name tradition for my cats (and dogs) pre-dates the Kardashians finding fame – there’s also been Klaude, Kaila, Kaede, Keiko, Kira, Kacie and Kenny dating back to when I first moved to Peterborough in the mid-90s.

While the cats curl up on my lap, I will often have my nose in a book – or more precisely my Kindle app.

I’m a big fan of Stephen King and an avid reader of just about anything by James Patterson and Lee Child, as well as a fan of Dean Koontz and Michael Connelly.

But as well as my fiction favourites, I usually have a non-fiction title on the go too – eagerly ingesting everything from instruction on how to improve my riding to self-improvement and entrepreneurial advice.

In between books, I can also whittle away a few hours bingeing on a box set. I happily confess that Game of Thrones, West World, The Fall, Homeland, Breaking Bad, Narcos, Strike Back, Man in the High Tower, The Walking Dead, Penny Dreadful, The Leftovers, Fortitude and Banshee – to name but a few – have taken up way too much of my time in the past year or so.

Guilty TV pleasures also include Casualty and Holby City. I’m still sad that they don’t make The Bill anymore, although most of the actors from it have turned up in Holby City Hospital as doctors, nurses or patients at some time!

I would describe my taste in music as nostalgic and a bit weird, ranging from Robbie Williams, Adele and Take That to 80s rock gods Bon Jovi, through Erasure, Meatloaf and The Beautiful South, to Britpop icons Oasis and Pulp to The Eagles, Bread, The Carpenters, Eva Cassidy and Kenny Rogers. Oh, and not forgetting Barry Manilow and Queen.

My Approach

My approach to life and business is to always be moving forward.

There’s always more I want to do and new goals I want to achieve, so I am always looking to learn new things. I am driven to “improve myself” and give 100% to building a better future for myself and my family.

I bring that same enthusiasm and attitude to my work. I enjoy meeting new people and helping others find ways around the barriers standing between them and their goals.

I strongly believe in keeping things simple. Marketing and technical jargon do not figure in my vocabulary, either when I’m talking to clients or in anything I write.

We are all way too busy to be talking around the houses. Let’s just say what we mean – in plain English!

Things you may not know about me

  • I have two daughters, Florence and Eleanor.
  • My home is filled with four cats and a cockapoo called Carter.
  • I own a horse called Tally.
  • I’ve seen Barry Manilow live in concert twice.
  • Listening to Kenny Rogers, Queen, Erasure and anything 80s is one of my guilty pleasures.
  • I’m a bookworm – I love Stephen King, James Patterson, Lee Child and Michael Connelly – among others.
  • I once interviewed Barbara Windsor with a huge split in my trousers.
  • I’ve been kissed on the cheek by Nick Knowles and Chico – not at the same time.
  • My pet peeve is the incorrect use of apostrophes.

Let’s Work Together

Get in touch today and let’s start a conversation about building a better future for you and your business.