Charlotte Nichols

PR and Marketing Business Owner, Darlington

Sector: PR and Marketing

Charlotte Nichols had a vision to make PR more flexible and accessible. She made this vision a reality in 2009 when she set up her own company, Harvey & Hugo, to create ‘Pay-as-Hugo’ services for clients. 

Where do you call home? 

My home town is Darlington, and I was born in the town’s old Greenbank maternity hospital. I’ve always lived in and around the area, apart from my time at university in the Midlands. However, I recently moved out of the town to the beautiful Weardale countryside – I love the Tees Valley and wanted to stay close to my roots while enjoying a more rural lifestyle. 

Tell us about your role?  

I’m the owner of PR and marketing business Harvey & Hugo Ltd, which I set up in 2009. 

How did you get to where you are today? 

I went to university after college and, after graduating, had a brief stint working in the leisure industry while I decided what I wanted to do with my career. I found my calling when I got a job in a PR agency in Newcastle and loved it. I stayed there for a couple of years before leaving with a view to making PR more flexible and accessible with Pay-as-Hugo services. I launched H&H in 2009 at the age of 25 and I’ve never looked back. 

What struggles or obstacles did you face along the way? 

In the early days, I struggled to get clients on board, as I didn’t have much experience after just two years in industry. I also had no budget whatsoever, no experience in running a business, I knew nothing about the finance and HR side – and it was in the midst of a deep recession. The lack of budget also meant it was a challenge to recruit team members and so I worked too many hours and got burnt out. When I did have the budget, I hired the wrong people, and I spent too much of my time working in the business and not on it. Essentially, I made a lot of mistakes, but I learnt from each one and it made me stronger as a person and a business owner. 

Describe the moment you first got a feel for success? 

I was lucky enough to win two awards in the first year of running my business – the ‘If We Can You Can Face of Entrepreneurship’ and the ‘Star Radio Businessperson of the Year’. Winning these gave me the confidence that although it was hard work and I didn’t seem to be getting anywhere fast, I had the foundations in place for a good business. 

Do you have any advice for aspiring young females? 

To believe in yourself – if you don’t, nobody else will. You have to be resilient; you will get knocked down, everyone does, but it’s important to keep getting back up. And finally, there is no substitute for hard work – nobody is just going to hand you a successful business, you really have to push yourself. 

What advice would you give for your younger self?  

I would tell my younger self to believe you can do it, and that small steps each day will lead to big results. I’d also advise younger me to be patient and to gain more experience to help in the long run. However, I’d also be kinder to myself rather than beat myself up over little things I’ve done wrong. 

What three words inspire you and encourage a positive path?  

The three Cs – clarity, consistency and courage.

Other Stories

Here you can find other stories that you might find interesting

Katy Tate
Sector: PR and Marketing After using the internet to escape her troubles as a child, Katy Tate has made a…
Niki Taylor
Sector: Fire Service Niki Taylor balances working as an embalmer during the week with a role in the fire brigade – and says it’s…
Catherine Devereux
Sector: Legal / Charity Catherine is a qualified solicitor, specialising in employment law and HR, and runs her own consultancy.…
Mhairi Hides
Sector: Engineering If what you’re doing takes you one step closer to your goal, that’s when you know you’re doing…
Naomi Atkinson
Sector: Biotechnologies   Overcoming internal obstacles has helped Naomi Atkinson to succeed and shape her into the person she is…
Georgia Golightly
Sector: Fire Service If at first you don’t succeed…Georgia Golightly didn’t get her current role the first time she went…