Entrepreneur stories: Sam Phillips
07 March 2023
Second year Business & Digital Marketing student Sam Phillips was first introduced to Launchpad when his course took part in a micro-internship event, since then he has set him self up as self-employed and launched his design and marketing business SPDM.
How did you find out about Launchpad?
The Cornwall Business School ran a micro-internship event in Spring of 2022, where we could choose a start-up within Launchpad to work with. I chose GleamPay, working on creating a marketing plan, as well as creating some graphic materials for the brand. Prior to this, I hadn't really had any knowledge of Launchpad, and this was the first time this scheme had been run for students. After this week, I visited Launchpad for further meetings to discuss working past the internship, as GleamPay were fortunately impressed with the work I'd done.
Why did you want to work with Launchpad start-up?
Launchpad presented an opportunity to work in a real space, with real people on genuine briefs, while having the support to be more flexible and comfortable to do relevant work experience without large risks. After being integrated into the Launchpad 'community' the amount of interesting business ideas and minds was astounding to me - but as a designer I could see that there was missing knowledge in some of these start-ups, and I felt I could genuinely contribute. Not just as a student worker interning but working for myself with my own clients.
Tell us about your placement
The placement at GleamPay was certainly a learning experience, being placed into a digital marketing role alongside a fellow student Evi McNab and working adjacent with founder Vishal Kumar. Our job description covered all areas of digital marketing with additional design work, from redesigning the company's online presence and webpage, to devising content strategies and brand materials for the business backed up by market research and development.
I enjoyed the experience. In a safe environment I learnt a lot about what I could achieve, put my own skills to real practice and learnt how to manage tasks that I had no prior experience with - some of which moulded my current business and the services I provide today. Managing an ever-changing roster of jobs and needs for a new start-up was a huge challenge and massive hard work, but it led me to develop new skills for my design career and handed me some great connections that boosted my confidence and outreach.
Why did you want to set yourself up as a freelancer?
The logical next step for me after several months at one company felt like branching out; seeing who would be interested in the services I provided - mainly graphic design and branding - to try and build up more diverse experience and portfolio. I knew it would be a risk to go out on my own, but I felt I was protected within Launchpad, and was able to trial this with several interested clients at the end of 2022. This led me to be able to create my own brand and set myself up as a sole trader freelancer, letting me decide my own hours and develop a career alongside my studies.
How is Launchpad supporting you?
Launchpad provided me with the materials to get started as a legitimate business. Beforehand, I had no idea how to become self-employed, and getting through that process with help avoided a lot of stress. Following that I was able to have mentoring with an experienced designer to help develop the business and client-handling side. I was also asked to share my experience and speak at Launchpad's Freelance Extravaganza events which was a great opportunity to meet new people and encourage more students to investigate the opportunities there.
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to keep up my business, SPDM. I've been lucky enough to work with over 10 different clients over the last six months and develop my skills and services into something I'm really proud of. I'd love to keep freelancing beyond university or use this experience to find other opportunities while feeling confident I've had a whole load of real industry experience while studying at the same time. There's no doubt to me I wouldn’t have been able to gather this much while continuing my studies and supporting myself financially without my relationship with the team at Launchpad.