Angela Lyons: 'Through the Google Digital Garage event, I've been able to sell more of my services to my clients.'

Angela Lyons: 'Through the Google Digital Garage event, I've been able to sell more of my services to my clients.'
Marc Gardner
Marc GardnerOfficial

Posted: Wed 8th Nov 2023

Enterprise Nation partnered with Google to deliver 20 Digital Garage events across the UK, providing free digital skills training and mentoring to small business owners who are looking to grow their ventures.

This series of in-person events offered free training to people who already own a small business, are interested in starting one, or are looking to develop their job prospects.

We're speaking to some of the business owners who have attended the events to learn how taking part has benefited them so far. Here, we talk to Angela Lyons, a freelance graphic designer who operates as Lyons Creative.

Angela, please tell us about your business.

I call my business Lyons Creative and I offer graphic design services. I've been going for 11 years.

I started off as a freelancer after I'd just had children. My first client was actually my last boss, and ever since it's been word-of-mouth referrals. I'd say most of my work comes through my website and referrals.

When I first started, there weren't really any freelance communities. But over the last five to 10 years, it's just got bigger and bigger, and I'm now part of this amazing freelance community.

I'm also the creative lead designer of Freelancer magazine. It's an independent magazine that my friend Sophie Cross started – she's also the editor. And the community is awesome. Everyone's so supportive and people are constantly referring each other for work. I get to meet lots of other people too.

I can't really do a co-working space all the time, so being at home and yet still being part of this community makes a massive difference.

What struggles have you faced with your business?

When I first started, it was quite tough to find out about freelancing work. You had to go to recruitment companies a lot of the time, and that was quite tricky, because obviously they charge a fee.

Back then, there wasn't a good network of freelancers. So the struggles I've had are around connecting with people and believing in myself. There is some imposter syndrome when it comes to marketing and promoting myself online.

Although I have got a lot better over the years, I need to do that bit more and tell people what I do. People know me, they know my personality, and they say that I need to sell myself. Luckily, I've been very blessed with the clients that I've had – a lot of corporates, freelancers and charities.

Why did you decide to attend a Google Digital Garage event?

It came at the perfect time. I've just recently started doing websites for clients via Squarespace. And because I've been offering that service, a lot of clients would ask how they get on to Google.

So when I saw the Digital Garage event advertised, I thought it would be good to spend a full day learning more about it, not only to benefit myself but to help me sell some of my services to my clients.

What have you learnt from attending? And how have you started to implement it into your business strategy?

One of the main things was actually hearing that marketing isn't just about relying on your Google business listing. That being on Google definitely helps, but as a business owner you should be thinking about other content, like blogs.

When you're promoting yourself online with content and feeding it into your website, Google loves that, and it helps move your website up the rankings. So I realised I've got to start thinking a little bit differently.

Another really good takeaway relates to Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends. Learning about them was very cool, because I realised it was something offered for free that a lot of people pay for, through tools like Semrush and Ahrefs. Just set up your Google Ads account and start searching your own keywords. I didn't know that was there!

How has attending the event made an impact on you and your business?

It's made me recognise the importance of writing more blogs and going into Google Trends and using certain keywords. But it's not just about writing a blog and telling people how to do this or that, but build relationships with your customers.

They might come to your website and buy from you straight away. Or, they might see your content and keep you in the back of their mind for later. But when you're adding to your website, you're also building credibility and making people trust you.

Since the event, have you accessed other Google Digital Garage resources, such as 1-2-1 Mentoring or Google Career Certificates?

I built my website and then I actually contacted Google for 1-2-1 Mentoring. My mentor helped me get my website going and just gave me a bit of encouragement in terms of how to sell myself a little bit more.

Finally, what's been your business's biggest achievement or proudest moment?

I was named Graphic Designer of the Year at the Digital Women Awards last year. It really wasn't expected! I've never won a award by myself – I was always part of a team. So that was fun, and definitely my biggest achievement so far.

Read more Digital Garage success stories

Marc Gardner
Marc GardnerOfficial
I'm Enterprise Nation's senior content manager, and I spend most of my time working on all types of content for the small business programmes and campaigns we run with our corporate, government and local-authority partners.

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