Chelcie Thomas: 'Taking part in StartUp UK has played a vital role in my success.'

Chelcie Thomas: 'Taking part in StartUp UK has played a vital role in my success.'

Posted: Thu 31st Aug 2023

StartUp UK is Enterprise Nation's scheme to provide free tailored support to budding entrepreneurs.

Backed by the UK government and Monzo Business, the programme delivers initiatives such as e-learning, online training, national events and flagship annual conferences throughout the UK.

As the scheme continues to run, we're talking to some of the businesses that have been taking part, to hear how it's benefited them so far.

Here, we talk to Chelcie Thomas of Flysocials UK, a social media marketing and PR agency exclusively dedicated to supporting independent hospitality businesses.

How did you come up with your business idea?

From its modest origins as a freelance Instagram portfolio, Flysocialsuk has undergone some changes. Drawing on my experience as a social media manager in the TV industry, and my deep-rooted connection to the hospitality realm, I embarked on a journey of entrepreneurship.

I decided to venture into freelancing because I wanted autonomy and creative expression. In a whirlwind seven months, I had the privilege of collaborating with over 70 remarkable SMEs, catering to their diverse social media and PR needs.

Our clientele spanned across various industries, including health and wellness, hair and beauty, arts and, of course, the world of food!

Fuelled by a burning passion, Flysocialsuk blossomed into a full-service agency and limited company in July 2022. Our mission is to revolutionise how independent hospitality businesses conquer the online realm, driving growth and engagement on social media. We're here to shake things up and help these businesses create authentic connections with their audience.

How has the StartUp UK programme benefited you and your business so far?

Attending the programme's Lunch and Learn webinars has been instrumental in my business journey. After moving from London to Manchester to grow my business and expand my network, I joined local business webinars and groups. Through these interactions, I had the opportunity to meet a great friend who has become my co-working companion.

This partnership has been invaluable, enabling us to collaborate, support each other, and share resources effectively. I even created Instagram Reels to highlight the positive impact of this connection.

Overall, taking part in the StartUp UK programme and engaging with the local business community has played a vital role in my success.


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What's the best advice you've received from taking part in StartUp UK?

The best advice I received from StartUp UK came from Yetti, the owner of Yetti's Kitchen, a renowned restaurant in Manchester. During her talk, she emphasised the importance of understanding customers' needs and building strong relationships.

As an owner of a food business herself, her insights were particularly valuable for my business, FlySocialsuk, which directly collaborates with independent food businesses. Yetti shared her experiences working with agencies and highlighted the significance of personal attention and care, which many agencies often lack.

This advice resonated with me, and by engaging with her during the talk, I gained crucial market research insights and a deeper understanding of her pain points as a potential customer.

Tell us something noteworthy about your business.

We're working with the 2022 winners of the BBC TV show The Apprentice, Oh So Yum.

Do you have any business advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs?

I'm at the beginning of my journey but what I will say is setting clear and ambitious long-term goals has been so important for me. As has creating my tribe or community of other entrepreneurs and building my network.

Embracing challenges and taking calculated risks, I can talk about forever. Most importantly, though, celebrate the small wins. Acknowledge and appreciate every milestone you've achieved, as they're the building blocks of your success. Sometimes when you're in the midst of things, you don't appreciate how far you've come.

Finally, what are your plans for the future?

Trust me when I say that I'm absolutely smitten with this industry. Food and drink businesses hold a special place in my heart, having worked in the field before.

I'm committed to helping these amazing establishments tell their unique stories and capture moments that resonate authentically with their customers. Flysocialsuk aims to be the catalyst that transforms how independent hospitality businesses thrive online.

We're also working with some incredible clients. As well as Oh So Yum, we've had the pleasure of working with the extraordinary Pan-N-Ice and the mouthwatering Papi's Grill Restaurant.


StartUp UK: Turn your good idea into a great business

Access support to start your business

Visit the StartUp UK hub for resources that give you the education and inspiration to get started on your entrepreneurial journey.

Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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