It's a beautiful Monday here in Bristol and i'm really excited to share with you the inspirational and somewhat emotional story of Stacey Overton from UnicornThesaurus and Exposure Ninja.
Stacey uses her passion for writing, social media and PR to provide a variety of bespoke content solutions. She focuses predominantly on small business and individuals that are looking to engage and grow their audiences. Self confessing her talent, dedication and hardworking ethic, Stacey has seen her business and success grow over the last few years.
Get ready for some fabulous Monday motivation.
Hello Stacey, it's lovely to have you here, how are you today?
Hi, thanks for having me! I’m really good thank you, excited to be here.
Would you like to introduce yourself and your businesses?
Sure, I’m Stacey, a freelance writer and digital PR consultant based in the West Midlands.
I own UnicornThesaurus which is a freelance writing and digital PR service. It’s still a pretty tiny business at the moment with just a handful of clients, but I like to think that what I do, and how I do it, is unique and a little bit different to what people are used to!
I also work as a PR and outreach ninja at Exposure Ninja, which is an awesome digital marketing agency. I spend the majority of my time at my computer, talking to bloggers and ‘mucking about on social media’.
Mucking about on social media! That's brilliant. I'm sure a lot of our readers would like to have that as their job description too. So how did it all come about?
Well, in 2013 I was working for a large, corporate brewery in Northampton, in their packaging department. It was a job that I’d sort of just fallen into after bouncing from temp job to temp job for a few years after I graduated from uni (I graduated in 2010 with a Sports and Exercise Science degree from Brighton University, so going from that to working in a brewery definitely wasn’t something I had planned).
In early March of that year a friend of mine, Fay, died very suddenly; she just didn’t wake up one morning and it hit me pretty hard. It was the start of a sequence of events that would change my life as I knew it.
Losing a friend like that is an intense experience. How did you respond?
It was a massive wake-up call and I immediately began to question and evaluate what I was doing with my life.
At the time I’d just moved to Birmingham to move in with my girlfriend (my now wife) and I commuted to Northampton for work; where i'd stay with my parents for 4 days at a time. This really limited our time together and started to take it's toll on our relationship.
A year later and the final nail in the coffin of my life as I knew it came; I lost another friend, Rory, this time to suicide.
After all this I started going through a fair amount of my own personal turmoil and struggling with my own mental health. I made the decision to leave the brewery without having any real plan as to what I was going to do next!
Sometimes all we know is that something has to change, even if we don't know what it is and what it needs to change to. How did you move forward?
All I knew was that I needed to get back to writing. Everyone has something that they’re particularly good at, and for me it’s always been writing, even if I didn’t really know that until more recently!
I’ve always written things, from my younger years writing poems and short stories for school projects, all the way through my teenage angst years and into uni, writing was something that I’d just always done.
So, in September 2014 I started the UnicornThesaurus Blog
and then it all just sort of grew pretty organically from there. I stumbled into a freelance writing job with Exposure Ninja
the following February and that’s been a huge part of my progression from someone who just writes for fun, to becoming a professional copywriter and digital marketer. (Huge shout out to Tim and Charlie at EN for seeing something in me and giving me that opportunity 2 years ago!!)
Isn't it incredible how opportunities like that only arise once you have set your goals in motion, it's like they lay dormant until they are set off in a chain reaction. What are you up to now and what plans do you have for the future?
I launched UnicornThesaurus, the business proper, in February 2016 and I think this year is going be pretty exciting for the business. My website has just launched and that’s going to be a huge game changer for me as I’ll finally have somewhere to refer people to and prove that I’m not some kind of charlatan!
I’m also in the process of relaunching my personal blog under the new title of The Dinocorn Life – it’s been really neglected over the last year to 18 months so it’s time to get back on it and show it a bit of love! My awesome graphic designer friends, that my wife and I met while we were on honeymoon in Mexico if you can believe it, are actually doing my blog logo design at the moment, so I’m super excited to get that all sorted.
Any personal plans too?
Personally, it’s looking to be a pretty huge year for my wife and I as we’re looking to being our baby journey! The road to pregnancy as a gay couple is going to be an interesting one (sperm is expensive stuff, who knew?!) but it’s something that we’ve both wanted for a while now so it’s time to get things moving…
Wow - that's beautiful! We wish you the best of luck with all your plans.
You've already mentioned your wife, friends and family and Tim and Charlie at Exposure Ninja. How important is it to have a support group? Who are those people to you?
Huge! Since 2013 my life has been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, with some extreme highs and some super severe lows. Everyone has times where they are struggling and it’s important to have people around you that you can rely on for support when you need it.
I lean very heavily on my wife in times of struggle and this past year has been pretty difficult. I tore my ACL in my knee last January and have been waiting for surgery (just had it on 5th Jan 2017), so she’s had to support me both physically and emotionally. It’s been really tough on her at times as I’ve had a few low moments this year -- I consider myself incredibly lucky to have her in my corner! She’s wonderful.
I’m pretty close to my mum and dad too. Despite them living just over an hour away I still rely on them a lot for support and I speak to my mum at least once a week.
I also volunteer for a suicide prevention charity -- PAPYRUS prevention of young suicide. Being a volunteer with them has been a huge support and comfort to me, especially in the year following Rory’s suicide in 2014. The people I’ve met there, other volunteers as well as members of staff, are now some of my closest friends.
Beautiful. To wrap things up, what is the best advice that worked for you and what are the most influential books you've read?
This is sort of a funny one because both bits of advice that I ‘received’ were from the pages of books, so it kind of feels like a cop out but both have stayed with me to this day.
The first is from Stephen King’s book ‘On Writing’ and I quoted it in my first ever blog post:
“The scariest moment is always just before you start”
It’s more of a statement than a piece of advice, none the less it was integral to me taking my first steps into working for myself. And he’s quite right, the scary part is always those moments just before you start anything new, but once you’re there and you’ve started it really is fantastic.
The second bit of advice came from an initially unlikely source; Miranda Hart’s book ‘Is it just me?’
I was reading it at a time where I was mid-turmoil, circa June 2014. I’d been signed off work and was battling through a pretty crappy bought of depression and anxiety. I'd started reading the book as a bit of light hearted entertainment to try and lift my mood. It definitely worked! It’s a very funny book and I’d recommend it to anyone who thinks that they’re ‘too old’ to start something new.
During the final chapter, ‘Dreams’, I was hit by this:
“If there’s something you want to do, and you have any kind of basic skill or talent in that direction, please, please, please… do it. Begin. I feel that this is the only life advice I’m qualified to give – GO FOR IT. Keep plugging away. Heave yourself up that mountain, for there’s bound to be a biscuit at the top.”
When I read that paragraph, and in fact the whole final chapter, it gave me goosebumps. If I remember rightly I think I actually cried a bit too! I then knew that I needed to try and make a go of this writing thing.
Love this! Inspiration and motivation can come from the most unlikely sources and it's great to find out how seemingly unrelated events and actions attribute into the pursuance of dreams and goals. Thank you for sharing so much of your story today and I wish you all the best with your projects - please keep me updated!
We've also delved into Stacey's handbag to find out what essentials items she needs to make her tick. Join us this Thursday to take a peek inside!
If you're looking to grow your audience and get them interacting with some gripping content then you can get in touch with Stacey via the following links. As a special deal for our readers she is offering a free 30 minute consultation to find out what you need to do to grow your business!
WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | TWITTER
Have an inspirational week!