Next up in our series featuring Tribe Online members, we get to meet Claire Hall. Claire has visited our coworking space in Totnes a few times and now she has joined our virtual coworking membership. Claire is an award-winning blogger and digital content professional with 20 years of experience working in PR and media. She runs two blogs, Tin Box Traveller which has been ranked as one of the top travel blogs in the UK and Devon with Kids. Let’s find out more about her.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a digital content creator and travel blogger based in Dartmouth. We came to live here in 2015 after my husband got a job at Britannia Royal Naval College. We loved Devon so much that we decided to stay.
My background is in journalism and public relations. I love to write and over the years that has evolved from writing for print publications to digital ones, including a couple of my own.
When I’m not at my keyboard, you can usually find me at the beach. We love getting in the sea swimming and paddleboarding. Of course, as a travel blogger, I also love exploring further afield and can’t wait to be able to get out in our camper van when travel restrictions allow.
And what about your business?
I set up my freelance copywriting and digital content business, Travel Influence, in 2018 after more than 15 years working in the media and as part of in-house communications teams and PR agencies. The decision was all about work-life balance and I’ve never looked back.
I now support SMEs and charities by writing news articles and search engine optimised posts and pages for their websites. I also create content, including videos, for their social media channels.
Alongside my career in PR, I’ve been writing my own travel blog since 2012. Tin Box Traveller is a family travel blog focussing on days out and holidays in the UK and Europe. In 2020, I also launched Devon with Kids, which is all about things to do and places to stay in our home county.
What has been your biggest achievement so far in your business journey?
A lot of what I do in my freelance business is helping other people tell their story and shout about their successes. I’m in the background ghostwriting, supporting social media campaigns and fighting reputational fires.
So it’s in my blogging life where I feel I make the most personal achievements. One of the biggest has been being recognised as the UK’s top family travel blogger by Vuelio – a global media database and analysis organisation.
What is your ultimate aim for your business? Your dream scenario?
Early retirement! While I love supporting other businesses, I want to make my travel blogs my primary source of income. If I can earn a comfortable living exploring and writing then I won’t work another day in my life.
What is the biggest challenge you find in running your own business?
Stepping away from my keyboard. I genuinely love logging in each morning and probably should do it less to take advantage of that work-life balance I promised myself when I went freelance.
How has the pandemic and multiple lockdowns affected your business?
The first few weeks were a rollercoaster, particularly as a lot of my clients are in the travel industry and public-facing, non-essential services. My regular work was put on hold and the advertising income from my travel blog fell off a cliff as everyone was told to stay home.
I spent about a month in a spin – not knowing how to make the most of what spare time I had while homeschooling my kids. I get a lot of pleasure out of writing, so not being able to find quality time to do this was worse for my mental wellbeing than being told I couldn’t travel.
Thankfully, the children going back to school in September 2020 and again in March 2021 coincided with an upward trend in the amount of support my clients needed and an interest in travel.
What changes, if any, have you implemented as a response to the pandemic?
I have been teaching myself to shoot and edit videos for the past five years, but I have never offered it as a service. When one of my clients decided to move their budget for physical events into social media marketing they asked me if I could create social media videos for them. I took a deep breath and said yes.
In the past year, I’ve edited more than 40 videos for them that have had thousands of views on YouTube and have reached hundreds of thousands of people on social media.
Do you have any exciting plans for the future?
I’m going to write a book to publish alongside my Devon with Kids website. This has been on my to-do list for more than a year but in a post-pandemic world, I might actually be able to get around to it.
What made you decide to try virtual coworking?
I’ve visited The Tribe in Totnes quite a few times and loved the collaborative atmosphere, but a regular desk is not right for me.
Virtual coworking has given me the best of both worlds – the chance to bounce ideas off other businesswomen and work flexibly from home.
What have you found most useful about being part of our coworking space in Totnes?
It’s all about the people. I’ve met such a talented group of women, each with an incredible story to tell about their businesses. If it hadn’t been for The Tribe I’d never have had the chance to make those valuable connections.
Claire is available to hire if you need help with content creation. She can help with SEO audits to boost website and blog visibility; copywriting for websites and for publications you can hold in your hands; and social media content and management. You can find out more here.
If you are interested in coming to work in our coworking space in Totnes, you can book a desk here. Or if you fancy giving our virtual coworking membership a try, you can find out more about The Tribe Online here. Doors are only until the end of April and won’t be opening again until July.
Stacey Sheppard is the founder of The Tribe, a small community-driven coworking space in Totnes that caters to creative, growth-oriented female entrepreneurs by providing an inspiring working environment designed to foster collaboration, connection and community.