“When I was made redundant my brother said, ‘If you work that hard for other people, why don’t you work that hard for yourself?’ What he meant was that I should take a break, run or meditate. But what I heard was, ’why don’t I actually work that hard for myself and start a company?’”

These are the words of Juliet Fallowfield, PR consultant, entrepreneur and Starling business customer. She registered her business - Fallow, Field & Mason - in April 2020, the day after being made redundant. Days later, she dived into a two-month pro bono project.

She has since helped establish the PR capability for eight company founders. “I’ve adapted my twenty years of PR experience to enable businesses right from the start to own their PR in-house,” she says.

“As I faced redundancy at the beginning of a global pandemic, I assumed roles like mine would only become less available, so I just went for it. Plus with no social life allowed, it meant I could work all hours with no distractions.”

Unexpected entrepreneurship

Even though she dreamed of running a business as a young girl, Juliet never imagined she would venture into self-employment once she started working. “I loved my job and being part of a team,” she says. “Leaving that security would be too great a leap but, when the decision was made for me, I had nothing to lose.”

Juliet Fallowfield, founder of PR consultancy FF&M

Her first step was to register at Companies House. “I needed a name that day,” she says. Luckily, a childhood memory came back to her, just at the right moment. “I remembered telling my parents aged 12: ‘When I start my own company I’m going to call it Fallow, Field & Mason after both of you’.”

Juliet, 40, now employs her mother (whose maiden name was Mason) as part of her business. “She is the best proofreader I know. It has been such a support as I trust her implicitly for candid feedback.”

The Mary Poppins of PR

Fallow, Field & Mason (FF&M) offers tailored PR guidance for start-ups. “I phase in to the business to coach founders on how PR really works, identify and create their tools, support them in proactively pitching, then phase out,” she says.

“I want the founder to be confident in picking up the phone to an editor themselves, as ultimately they are the best person to tell their story.” One client described her as ‘the Mary Poppins of the dark art of PR’, referencing the way she comes in and sets companies on their feet, before moving on to help the next founder.

PR pitches

Here are a few of Juliet’s tips:

  • Get to know the publications you want your story to feature in, before you contact the journalists
  • Think about why the reader wants to hear about you and make your story relevant to them
  • Personalise your emails to journalists. Many get 100s of PR pitches a day and yours needs to stand out

Sharing advice for start-ups

Alongside her business, Juliet has launched the podcast How To Start Up. “I couldn’t find a podcast that was a definitive guide to starting up,” she says. “That, coupled with all the helpful phone calls with friends generously sharing advice, made me think I should start my own podcast, especially given that year on year, new company registrations in the UK were up 3.5% in 2020.”

Guests include Pip Durrell, founder of clothing brand With Nothing Underneath, and Geoffrey Kent, founder of luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent. Advice has covered getting an executive coach, finding a great accountant and choosing a bank that has your back.

Intuitive banking with Starling

Juliet became a Starling customer in June 2020. She’s a huge fan of the Spaces feature, which enables customers to ring-fence money from their main balance.

“I use it to put away money for tax. I’ve connected the account to Xero so everything is reconciled quickly. Starling’s receipt capture is also brilliant as I see the transaction notification, take a photograph of a receipt and upload it,” she says. “The functionality is brilliant, it’s so intuitive.”

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