Rin Hamburgh, Founder, Rin Hamburgh & Co
As a Copywriter and Founder of her own agency, Rin Hamburgh keeps multiple plates spinning. In this interview, she speaks about why she loves the variety of being a business owner and tells us how copywriting can be used as a global force for good.
How did you end up sitting where you are today?
I studied business management at university and always enjoyed marketing, but then I started writing for the university magazine and fell in love with journalism. I won a couple of awards, which gave me the confidence to apply to do a post-grad in journalism. After I graduated, I spent five years climbing the ladder at a regional newspaper before going freelance. That's when I started doing copywriting, and eventually, that became the dominant part of my work. Launching Rin Hamburgh & Co became a natural next step.
What kind of work does your role involve?
Over the last four years, the agency has really grown. We're now a team of six in-house, plus freelancers, so part of my job is looking after the team, making sure the work they're responsible for goes smoothly. I also do all the consultancy work in the business, usually around brand voice and messaging, and I run our Level Up Your Business Blog course, which I absolutely love. Plus, I'm the lead salesperson for the business. So I'm still wearing quite a few different hats, but I really enjoy the variety that each brings.
What gets you excited about your industry?
Marketing, in general, is changing so fast, which is really exciting. There are all sorts of new technologies available which give people the ability to do so much more, even on a budget. It's easier than ever to create and serve content in a more direct and personalised way so that your audience gets more of what they actually want to see. It's great for them, but it's great for you too because you can learn about what their needs are so that you can better serve them, which inevitably leads to more of the right kind of business.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?
When the agency was six months old, I joined a business accelerator programme, where they were always asking us, "what do the numbers say?"
As a creative, I'm not a natural numbers person, so I had to work on it. And it's been absolutely vital as I've grown the business. I never thought I could afford to take on an employee back then, but when I worked it out, I saw that I could make it happen. Thankfully now I have an amazing operations director who is a whiz with numbers!
What, or who inspires you?
I'm inspired by women who have become successful while holding firm with their values and making a difference in the world. People like Michelle Obama and Brene Brown, for example.
Also, people who have started ethical brands and run their businesses in a purpose-led way. I'm thinking of companies like Patagonia and Hieatt Denim. And anyone who has published a novel! It's been a dream of mine since I was a kid, and I've got several half-written books stashed away. I'm determined to finish one someday.
How do you keep up to speed with what's happening in your industry?
I read quite a few different online publications and blogs, everything from Marketing Week to Hubspot. I try to stay connected to other professionals in my industry and network where I can because chatting to people is one of the best ways to really understand what's happening on the ground.
I've enjoyed a few webinars and other online events during lockdown, but I'm also looking forward to conferences starting up again too. There's nothing like getting away from the office for a couple of days and really submerging yourself in that learning experience.
What was the most challenging project or situation you've overcome?
I started my business as a single mum of 9-month-old twins. Looking back, I'm not really sure how I did it! It's been such a positive journey and has taught me a lot about myself and how resilient I am.
I think resilience is one of the most important characteristics any business owner can have because, regardless of your circumstances, it's hard work. I'm just very fortunate that I've built an amazing team of talented and committed people and make that burden so much lighter.
You finish work today and step outside the office to find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
After all the usual stuff like holidays and paying off loved ones' mortgages, I would love to be an angel investor and support value-driven businesses, especially those with female founders. I don't think I'll ever stop working myself, and I would love to start a social enterprise. I think it's a great business model with huge power to do good in the world. I would also take some time out to write that novel!
How do you switch off after a day at work?
I'm pretty strict about finishing at 5pm on the dot, so I can either join my children and my new partner for an early family dinner or at least sit with the kids while they eat theirs. Once they're in bed, I'll usually either read, watch TV or a movie, or play a board game with my partner. I love to go out and see friends and family too and have people over for dinner or drinks. I'm fortunate to have a very beautiful and quite large garden so sitting out there in the summer is a dream.
If you had one wish for the future of your industry, what would it be?
I hope that business, in general, becomes increasingly values-driven. We have such power to do good in the world, and I always find it frustrating when profit is prioritised over people or the planet. It's not hard to serve both if you put your mind to it.
In my industry specifically, I would love to see copywriting - which is, after all, the art of persuasive writing - being used more and more for good. There's already a movement towards more inclusive language, for example, which is so powerful in shifting cultural norms. A language is an incredible tool for change.
What book or podcast should everyone know about?
I've recently read Cal Newport's Deep Work, which I found incredibly inspiring and helpful. It's so easy to be distracted in today's world, but it's only when we really focus that we achieve our purpose. Another book I read at the same time was Eat That Frog by Brian Tracey, which is very different but in a sense about the same thing - managing your time better and focusing on what matters.
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