Interview with Sian Day, founder of Viking Wanderer

Find out how suffering from chronic migraines led Sian Day to start her own social media business, Viking Wanderer – and taught her resilience.

What’s your career background?

My career background has always had a creative aspect to it. I studied fine art and design at college and then moved on to visual merchandising, which took me overseas for a few years working with global fashion brands.

On my return to the UK I started working at the British Standards Institute as a publishing manager where I was in charge of the global affiliate program. I managed over 150 affiliates and assisted them in marketing their websites to improve sales and also help with the visual and aspects.

I started to create monthly newsletters with social media tips such as ‘How to increase your Twitter engagement’ and these became incredibly popular. My career progressed to a marketing role for a major travel brand and a virtual assistant company. This gave me the confidence to start my own business.

What is Viking Wanderer?

Viking Wanderer offers social media packages, consultancy and social media training to start-ups. I also look out for the little extras such as potential leads or trying to find major influencers and distributors to either promote or stock a client’s product.

What has been your biggest challenge?

I founded Viking Wanderer at the beginning of last year after having to leave a full time marketing career because I was suffering from chronic vestibular migraines. I realised that as my symptoms affected my vision on a daily basis, I had to slow things down and choose my own hours so it was the perfect opportunity to take the plunge and work for myself.

The hardest thing of all was trying to stay positive when at times I was housebound for weeks on end and had big issues with walking, balance, anxiety and dizziness on a daily basis for two years plus. Luckily, I am now on a great preventative and nearly back to full health.

I am also an ambassador for VEDA – The vestibular disorders association. Vestibular disorders such as migraines and vertigo affect millions of families on a daily basis and I hope to bring more awareness and understanding to those that suffer from these conditions.

Most importantly, it has taught me resilience.

What has been your proudest moment?

Landing my first client. I think most founders question themselves at first and it takes time to build confidence when going it alone, but nothing beats seeing the impact your training or consultancy can have on a struggling start-up.

I also regularly offer free consultancy for working mums that do not have the budget and I’ve just started to train staff working at London charities to increase their funding and raise awareness.

What is the most rewarding thing about having your own business?

Working my own hours and being completely independent! I also love how each of my clients fall into completely different niches. From fashion designing, to coworking spaces to jewellery boutiques. It’s also a big buzz when you manage to get a major influencer to wear your products and promote them to a mass audience of one million plus!

Do you have any advice for others looking to start their own business from home?

The biggest thing is, if you want it enough, you really can achieve anything. I never thought in a million years that when I was very ill two years ago, that now I would be running my own marketing business and really seeing that my efforts make a difference.

I have even started to write an Ebook with social media tips for start-ups after I realised the popularity of some of the blog posts I created and just not having the time to reach everyone!

It’s also good to choose something you really are obsessed about. I’m a complete social media geek and can spend hours in the evening catching up with the latest marketing trends or reading a new book on Twitter for example. I just really love everything about it so make sure it’s a subject that will not bore you within three months because you will literally eat, sleep and breath it!

You can find out more about Sian on her website.