Sheonah Howlett – Social Bee Marketing
What does it take to move from the world of Sales and PR to consultancy? We spoke to Sheonah Howlett of Social Bee to find out!
Q1. Did you always want to become a consultant or did you fall into the role?
My background prior to going into consulting was primarily as a sales and business development person, with a smackle of digital development / project management and a fairly large dose of PR/Marketing. For me I’ve always fallen into my roles. In fact I’ve even taken on a position and fixed contract purely on a couple of hours conversation at a friend’s BBQ! I hadn’t really thought about consulting until I reached a little cross roads at the end of a project and a conversation with some colleagues about the value of people and their knowledge when they leave a business for the next career move or business opportunity.
Q2. What makes a good consultant?
Hmmmm I’d say my top five qualities are 1. A people person (you need to be able to mix with all levels of experience / personalities and be comfortable talking/interacting with people). 2. Positivity (when you can take the general attitude that while there are lots of things that can’t directly be controlled, you can control what they choose to focus on). 3. Self Discipline – working for your self takes willpower, hard work and persistence! 4. Clarity – know what you are offering, understand your target audience and how you provide value to them and have a clear strategy with milestones for your own business progress. 5. Humility (don’t be a know-it-all or bamboozler because at the end of the day your job as the consultant is to help the client shine – and not the other way around).
Q3. Do you feel you manage yourself well or is it a case of ‘the cobbler’s shoes’?
In the beginning it was a case of “plate spinning” as I really hit the ground running in terms of demand and had the overwhelming desire to feel helpful. This led to early mornings, late nights and lack of sleep. So I took a week out to take a step our and now I’m one of those annoying super productive types managing time and expectations to ensure that all things considered – consultancy should give you the freedom to captain your own ship! Q4. Are there enough hours in your day?
Yes! The trick is to make sure that you take time properly to work out what a consultancy piece should take you, then add in the client’s expectations/commitments and factor in some time for things to not really go according to time / plan. This usually means I can mostly deliver either “on time” or “ahead of schedule”. Leaving my weekends free to either pop along to enjoy some of the fruits of my client’s labour or take time out for family/friends.
Q5. If you could magically stop your clients from making one mistake – what would that be?
Taking on too much. My key target is sole trader/small businesses/start-ups – and the most common mistake I’ve seen the client will often try to do too much, by themselves. It only ever equals stress and burn-out – often resulting in giving up.
Q6. What do you find is the best way to market yourself?
Knowing where your target audience is. For me, my clients are not on platforms like Instagram / Linkedin and Twitter (but their target audience usually is) They are however on Facebook so this is where I spend time and money digitally. The other really big lead generator for me is the local councils and word of mouth.
Q7. What do you do to unwind?
I’m a bookworm foodie! So any excuse to hide out and read, while indulging in really good food works for me!
Q8. What advice would you give a starting consultant?
Everyone says do what you love or are passionate about – which is stellar advice when deciding what industry or business to focus on. But I’d say the best advice I ever had was ” not writing down your goals is like trying to sail the ocean without a map” – so roadmaps and business plans are essential to success. When you get lost (which you will) you at least have something to refer to that will help you find the determination or clarity to keep going. All good things take time!
Q9. What’s your guilty pleasure?
TBH – Pinterest! I have boards on there for everything – DIY, Cooking, Business Ideas, Wise Words, Vision Boards, Cool Stuff you name it!
Q10. What’s your goal for next year?
On my original Roadmap – 2020 was to start, 2021 was to learn and 2022 was to teach! I feel confident that this is still the plan. My key goal will be to hopefully have fully developed my quintessential “How To” series for small business owners to scale their businesses by adapting proven checklists, systems and processes themselves. Pushing best practice technologies and management practices, introducing industry innovators through relatable case studies.
Find out more about Sheonah at