FoundHer: Rosie Davies-Smith LFA
Updated: Apr 11, 2019
Rosie Davies-Smith started her first PR company, LFA when she was 25 years old. It hasn’t always been a smooth ride - as any business owner can probably relate to - and as a young northern women on the London PR scene she struggled to be taken seriously. 5 years on she has a growing business and last year Rosie founded PR Dispatch, a subscription-based service providing smaller brands with the tools and advice to conduct their own PR. Rosie is the definition of a self-starter, so we are so glad she took time out to share her business tips with Storytellhers.
What does your typical day look like? Wake up at 7. Stretching / 15 mins of Yoga. Can’t start day without a cup of tea. I then
walk our dog Milo to our Local station, St Johns. It takes about 15 minutes to get to London Bridge and I walk from Borough. I listen to a podcast on the way in, usually ‘How I built this’.
Entrepreneurs, interviews with the founders, their ups and downs.
We work 9am- 6pm Monday to Thursday and then a half day on Friday so our days are pretty long. If it’s a Monday, we usually start the day with a client meeting or internal marketing meeting. PR coordinator, Kamala and PR Manger, Cecilie will outline what needs to be done that week and we work through any ideas we all have.
I usually have breakfast at my desk about 10am and work my way through emails and my own to do list until 12.30.
This is very new but we have recently started spinning classes at lunch. I find it gives me more energy in the afternoon and I really struggle to do any exercise after work. For lunch I am in the habit of ordering Deliveroo after I discovered Farmer J’s field trays. If not I’ll walk to Pret or Bourough market.
Afternoons I am either seeing clients, new potential business meetings or working on development for the business. I try not to let my emails consume my day but do try and answer as many as possible before the end of the day.
I usually leave between 6pm and 7pm unless we have an event. After work, I’ll either head to meet friends for dinner or drinks or have dinner at home with my husband. I love sleep so am usually in bed by 10.30pm. I sadly can’t read in bed otherwise my mind starts buzzing and I’ll be up all night.
What is your biggest success to date?
I honestly think that still having a business after 5 years is our biggest success. We've managed to stay profitable each year and grow by being careful with where we invest money. With Brexit around the corner and brands having budgets cut, the biggest success is to have a business that is thriving.
Apart from that it would be moving into our new Borough office. It was a real treat for all of us: free breakfast, Thursday drinks and a roof terrace with views of the Shard.
Which tools can't you live without? Xero for accounting. Trello for lists and planning. Headspace for zen. Squarespace for our websites and my iPhone.
Where do you hope to see yourself in 5 years time?
On a beach somewhere hot… I joke: I’d be bored. I hope we still have a great tight-knit team that works relentlessly to make PR attainable whether that is through LFA or PR Dispatch.
What would you tell your younger self at the beginning of your career? I was recently asked if 'I could go back and change anything what would it be' and I said there is nothing I would have done differently because I believe everything happens for a reason; but, if I could tell my younger self something, I would say this is a business not a vanity project so get your business brain on from day one. You can’t be all things to all people… and you’ll learn that quickly. Listen to what your market wants and serve it. Be confident in your decisions and knowledge. Create content that interests them and remember that turnover is vanity, profit is sanity and cash is king.
Is there anything you’ve had to sacrifice for your career?
Every founder misses birthdays, friends and family events etc. I feel like I sacrificed my twenties. Whilst friends were going out and going on holiday I would stay home to get the business off the ground. I am glad I did and have no regrets but at the time I felt a little left out.
These days I sacrifice what others are having in their thirties. The big salary, security, maybe even kids. But again I am alright with that, as I feel like we have so much more to achieve before I stop.
Do you have any tips for new founders? Like I said before…this is a business not a vanity project so do the numbers work before you go any further. And many, many people will doubt you (usually people closest to you because they care) and that is okay. But don’t let them talk you out of starting. It’s important to surround yourself with like-minded people
I launched our second business PR Dispatch last year and this year I hope we can continue to expand and nurture our ever-expanding community of members. It’s incredibly rewarding watching our members and their brands yield results using the tools or resources that PR Dispatch provides. As for LFA, we’re looking to expand into other product industries such as food, drink and beauty! We’re also planning to move the offices to The Ministry, the really cool members club and co-working space, with the hope of meeting like-minded creatives.
Finally, what quote do you live by?
Being all things to all people is a recipe for mediocrity.