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Louise Blakely | Hooked on Tauranga
31 August 2016
Louise Blakely | Hooked on Tauranga

Louise Blakely’s desire to run a full-time business from the comfort of her own home was the catalyst to moving her family from Dunedin to Tauranga. Craving warmer weather, being close to beaches and being closer to the action, Tauranga ticked all the boxes. Running her online marketing business, Hooked On Marketing, from her home in Papamoa gives Louise the freedom of being her own boss. The lack of commute also means she has more time to get her work done, enjoy where she is living and, most importantly, spend quality time with her family.

Louise, where did you grow up?  

I grew up on a farm in Southland but lived in Dunedin from the age of 13 when I started boarding school. I spent time between Nelson, Queenstown and Wanaka doing outdoor/recreation training and learning to be a snowboard instructor. Then I spent time in California and Canada before returning to Dunedin to finish my degree. I’ve always been a bit of a nomad but ended up staying in Dunedin for nine years.

Can you give me a brief snapshot of your career path?

I went back to uni to complete my degree after a few years out snowboarding and travelling the world. Initially I finished my Bachelor of Commerce before spending four years working in sales and marketing at exporting company Silver Fern Farms. I realised the corporate world wasn’t for me despite having high career expectations, so I returned to uni to do my Postgraduate Diplima in Commerce in Marketing. It was that year that I started Hooked On Marketing as I wanted to start working directly with clients and I knew it was going to take time to build up.

At the end of that year I was given an incredible opportunity to join a start-up which was growing very fast. I became the Digital Marketing Manager with Timely and I spent 2.5 years there. In that time the company grew from 300 to 5300 customers. It was an incredible journey to be part of such a high growth start-up, and the digital skills I gained in that time have been game changing for my career.

What drew your family to Tauranga? 

We had been thinking of moving to somewhere in the North Island for about four years. Our main motivation was warmer weather, being near the sea and also being closer to the action. Often down south, if you want to come to a big event you’ve got to get on a plane.  Over those few years, it was a process of elimination through visiting different locations. Tauranga was the clear winner based on the beaches, the weather and the location. We arrived here at the start of May 2016 after a quick trip up to see if I liked it. It quickly got the thumbs up.

Can you tell me about growing your own company, Hooked On Marketing?

I started Hooked On Marketing because I find the world of business and marketing extremely satisfying and I wanted to share this passion with other business owners who need marketing expertise. I like to work with businesses that are ready for the growth phase, and know the best place to get those results is from digital.

Starting the company with no time pressure to take it full time was a strategic move. I was able to continue building my career and earning a full time salary while it gained momentum and I learnt the ins and outs of running my own business.


Can you tell me about the decision to go full time with your business when you moved to Tauranga? 

It was the right time. I was fortunate to already have some good clients, and also gained my previous employer as a new client. I now have clients throughout New Zealand, Australia, the UK and Portugal, so I’m working with people all over the world while having the lifestyle I want in Papamoa.

What is it like working from home?

I love working from home as it works really well for my family. I get to spend a lot more time with them than I used to when I was working in an office. I spend almost no time on the road. After working from home for three years I find any commute to be a waste of time. I have more time to get my work done, but also more time to enjoy where we’re living and spend with my family. We’re finding Papamoa to be a great beachside community.

Working from home is a skill that you need to learn but the benefits are so worth it. I’ve had plenty of practice and you have to work on it to make it as productive, yet as flexible as possible. I couldn’t imagine any other way to work now.

What advice would you give to professionals who are thinking about going out on their own?

I definitely think if you want to start a business that you should begin well before you want it to provide a full time income. Unless you’ve got start up capital, start slowly and with intention of leaving your job within a certain period of time. 

If you’ve always dreamed of having a job where you literally can work from your laptop, I would say that is 100% possible. Building an online business can be done by anyone now, so if that’s your dream, get started as there is lots to learn. Being able to build a business on the internet also means you can earn a great income while having that freedom of lifestyle. Being in a community where others do this as well is exciting.

What do you think Tauranga has going for it a city from which to run a freelance business? 

There seems to be a network of people doing the same things. I have spoken to or heard of so many people who have moved here and have either been able to retain their jobs from Auckland and are allowed to work remotely, or those who are running their own businesses here with an enviable lifestyle. There seems to be a lot of shared workspaces here for the size of the city which is great. It’s clearly a growing way to work here.

What has surprised you about Tauranga?

How nice everyone is. In the South you always have this expectation that people in the North aren’t as friendly as in the South. I’ve found this to be the opposite. I think it’s the effect of the weather! Everyone here has been so friendly, from the sideline of a soccer game to when you’re talking to staff in the shops.

What has the move meant for your sense of well-being?

There’s something to be said about sunshine and overall well-being. Since I’ve been here, I’ve started a bootcamp with Drill which has been awesome. It’s so much easier to get outside and exercise when the weather is mild in winter. Also the extra Vitamin D is having overall health benefits. Being able to spend more time outside in the winter has reduced stress levels as well.

What differences do you notice between the Dunedin and the Tauranga lifestyle?

I love the high growth in Tauranga. You can see it every day as you drive around. You don’t see this level of growth in the South. It’s exciting to be living in a place where things are happening and they are happening fast.

Dunedin has more of a city vibe than Tauranga. Coming to Tauranga feels like moving to a smaller tighter-knit community, although in reality the population here is now bigger than Dunedin. It may not feel that way to people who have lived here for a long time and seen it grow, but you have managed to capture the small town vibe.

There’s a really positive attitude here. There are so many opportunities and people are taking them.

What do you to relax/for fun here in the Bay?

I’m in love with walking up The Mount. I can’t wait for summer to try stand up paddle boarding and I'm looking forward to exploring the beaches around the Bay Of Plenty and Coromandel with my family.

It seems like there is so much to see nearby, and we’re only just getting started.


Gets You Thinking Doesn't It?

No-one can tell you when you're ready for a change of lifestyle...but when you are, we'd love to have you in Tauranga!

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2. Subscribe to our montly e-newsletter to receive stories just like this one about people who have already made the big move you are thinking of making. 

Meet Kathryn Overall
Explore www.wishyouwereworkinghere.co.nz

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About Kathryn

About Kathryn


Kathryn Overall is the friendly voice behind the 'Wish You Were Working Here' stories and Facebook posts.  Each month she chats with returned Kiwi expats,  Auckland imports and New Zealand immigrants who have moved to Tauranga, collecting their stories and advice to share with you. 

CLICK HERE to read her own story of reluctant homecoming!


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