What made you start your own business?
Redundancy was the spur! Previously I’d never thought self employment was for me, but it seemed to be the right time to move into freelance working – with all the technology at my disposal and lots of local networking events to go to so that I could still meet people. I was also likely to face ageism in the very slow job market.
What did you do before you started your own business?
I’d worked in marketing for a major publisher for 10 years when our whole department was offshored to the Far East. Before that I was a computer programmer/systems analyst, and before that a librarian in the academic and financial sectors.
How long did it take you to establish yourself/the business?
Things have grown slowly and steadily, which is just how I like it. I’m proud to say a lot of my clients have come from referrals and recommendations.
Do you have any tips for anyone looking to start out in business, or grow an existing business?
Networking (in groups and one-to-one with people who may be able to offer help, advice, and mentoring). Use social media – yes I would say that, but it’s a low-cost way of targeting your audience! Find your own niche – for instance I specialise in working with small businesses such as food producers, events organisers, and gardening and green businesses. This gives me credibility as they are my own interests as well, and I can use my own knowledge to do a good job for my clients.
How has it been juggling your work with your personal life?
Quite easy, as I don’t have kids. My husband took redundancy/early retirement earlier this year and his interruptions can be a challenge, but this is made up for by his great support and encouragement, tea and coffee making, and even lunch made for me some days!
What does your typical work day look like?
I try to get as much work and admin done early so that I feel I’ve achieved something whatever the rest of the day brings. An afternoon potter round the garden is a great boost. I also go to a lot of networking meetings such as First Friday and the Mumpreneurs Networking Club (open to non-mums like me and even to men!).
What are the biggest challenges you face?
Finding more business, but keeping a work-life balance.
What are the perks that come with your job?
Freedom to plan my day. Feedback from satisfied clients!
What advice would you give to aspiring freelancers?
Go for it, and don’t wait for all your ducks to be in a row before making a start! The latter was a piece of advice given at a workshop for new businesses; I followed it the next day and won my first client.
How can our readers find out more about your business?
Photo by Grant