HLN Meets… Sophie Milliken, Moja
Our billboard campaign is now into its second week. As part of our Billboard Interviews series, we’ve sat down with the nine inspirational women who feature on it – and our next wonderful woman to feature is Sophie Milliken, founder of the new profile-building agency Moja, which lets everyone in your industry know who you are.
Our region is known for being friendly, supportive of fellow Northerners and having a wide range of bustling businesses.
So, why do we sometimes feel nervous about attending networking events in the North East? The idea of putting yourself out there to enter a room full of strangers, making a good first impression and mingling tends to inspire fear in even the most confident of us.
And why? Not only is everyone in the same boat, but everyone also has the same goal – to introduce themselves to their industry, showcase what they can bring to the table and make connections that can inspire future opportunities and growth. There’s nothing scary in that really, is there?
But imagine how much simpler things would be if you rocked up to your next networking event and everyone already knew who you were. No more awkward introductions, no more racking your brain for small-talk conversation starters: just an opportunity to be yourself and grow your professional network.
Enter Moja. Seemingly always one step ahead of the curve, Sophie Milliken has done it again with her latest business venture, which is entirely focused on letting everyone in your industry know who you are.
And name a better way to get your face out there than being showcased on two billboards right in the middle of the Newcastle City Centre? Of course, we had to invite Sophie to be part of our new campaign.
We caught up with the multi-award-winning entrepreneur, author, public speaker and investor to find out why she loves being part of the High Life North community…
Congratulations on the launch of your new business! What’s Moja all about?
We’re a different type of agency with one simple mission: to let everyone in your industry know who you are.
We recognise that our clients are busy people. They start their days with a million things to do. One of the most important things, though, should be growing a thriving professional profile. It can lead to new connections, more opportunities and exciting experiences. But it takes time and consistency.
This is exactly where Moja comes in. At Moja, we will listen to what you need and then create a package which will give you all the things that suit you, your industry and your ambitions. We’ll build your profile within your industry, so you get known.
Image credit: North East Times
Tell us about the personal benefits you’ve seen in your own career from taking this approach?
My own story best illustrates the success that can be achieved by raising your profile. I started being proactive on social media and built up a solid following across LinkedIn and Twitter in particular. I started speaking at conferences and events and being a podcast guest. I won a load of relevant business awards, both for me and my first business. Being on the boards of charities I care about gave me the chance to volunteer my time to important causes and gave me access to a wider network, which led to being introduced to interesting people.
Writing my first book brought an invitation to deliver a TEDx talk which, when released, created a whole new range of opportunities, including a column in an industry magazine, further podcasts, radio and TV appearances – all seriously good fun!
The benefit of increasing your profile is that it makes people feel they know you before you even meet them, which then makes it easier to do business. As well as higher sales, there is also an increase in fun opportunities that come your way.
The service is entirely bespoke – what process does a new client go through?
We take time to develop client relationships and know that no two clients are the same.
As a new client, you will complete our quiz to ‘Measure Your Moja’, which evaluates your current profile. Your results show where your profile is currently performing and which areas there are for development. After evaluating your profile, you get expert tips and advice from us to help you get started.
At Moja, we then use the results to craft an individual package for you. We use research (including your profile evaluation results, SEO performance and Google rankings) to determine which areas you could develop. We then pull everything together to show what we can do for you.
The next step in the journey is a discussion to share our findings and understand where you want to grow your profile. We work with you to develop a bespoke monthly plan, determining which areas to focus on over the year. There are regular touchpoints to evaluate and measure progress. You then see the results!
And what kind of results can clients expect to see?
With the service being so individual, results will very much vary depending on what each client is focusing on.
Overall, clients can expect to gain award recognition, grow their following on social media platforms, get more coverage in local and national press, get their voice heard in podcasts, and get on the board of organisations or charities. They can expect to get known in the areas they want to be known.
By growing their profiles, clients will see greater business growth. What I think is just as important is that they will be presented with more exciting opportunities, expand their networks, and form connections with like-minded people.
Do you think women in particular, especially here in the North East, need to learn to essentially ‘blow their own trumpet’ a little more in the workplace?
Absolutely! As women, we often get an attack of the imposter syndrome. Men get it too, but I think it’s more pronounced in women. I feel the thought of blowing your own trumpet is worse than actually doing it. We worry about what people might think or that we will get a bad reaction, but in my experience, the opposite tends to happen.
The North East in particular has such a welcoming community of women, and spotting someone you know winning an award or being featured in the press tends to result in a high five rather than anything mean.
What would you say to encourage the more reticent of our readers to give Moja a go?
Think about what your profile is missing now and what it would require for it to grow. Consider the time this needs and how amazing it would be to have a team supporting you to do all of that. I can emphasise that I’ve done all this myself and it has led to some seriously cool opportunities that I wouldn’t have had unless I’d been focused on getting known.
What do you love about High Life North?
Age isn’t an issue for readers; there are loads that I would read, there are articles my Mum would read and there are articles that my daughter would read as well. There’s always a great variety and diversity in terms of the individuals that are featured and of the businesses that are featured, too. It’s amazing to have that spotlight on all the fantastic businesses that we’ve got across the North East, I think that’s really important.
What one part of High Life North is your favourite?
Any of the Play Hard round ups. I love going out and supporting local restaurants and bars, so it’s nice to know there’s a resource where I can think: right, I want to find this out, I’ll check High Life North. I love HLN’s round ups of ‘the best brunch spots’ or their ‘favourite cocktail bars’ because they’re showing me places that I didn’t know about. And I’ve then gone out to some of the places I’ve seen on High Life North and I haven’t been disappointed! I also really like HLN’s recipes. They’re never too hard but they’re also quirky and fun to make.
I love the fact that the content within High Life North is really varied. I also love that it’s all local, which is great because you can relate to everything.
What’s your ultimate ambition for Moja?
We want to be the UK market leader in raising the profiles of interesting and cool people. We’ve just launched in Newcastle and have planned launches for Manchester and London too. Location isn’t a barrier and we are expecting to pick up some clients from further afield.
I’d like to see us working with a healthy mix of entrepreneurs and corporates. Ultimately, seeing the increase in sales and the fun opportunities that our clients get will be seriously rewarding.