As part of International Women's Day I have written this blog to explain why I went into business 22 years ago and how starting my jewellery business has changed my life
What drew me to starting my business?
I was stressed, permanently tired and my passion had gone. I worked all day and then in the evening after I had fed the family and completed my ‘mams taxi service role’. I was a biology lecturer in further and higher education. I started teaching the September after graduating and got all my qualifications whilst on the job. In the beginning I loved the job. I was filled with passion and inspired to create lots of learning resources that were used by the whole department. But over the years the role changed. It became more about administration rather than the education of the students. I began to dread going into work. The crunch came in September 1999 – I didn’t want to go back at the start of term.
I had part time roles at two different colleges and worked more than a full-time job. I couldn’t continue. I needed to do something else. At school I loved being in the art room but was funnelled into the sciences as I was relatively academic. ( At that time art was something you did if you weren't academic). I wanted to be creative again. I have always loved jewellery, particularly hand made jewellery, so decided that was to become a jeweller. I have never looked back.
What is the best thing about being your own boss?
Freedom. I can create whatever I want in the way I want to do it. I make people happy doing what I love. I can choose who I work with, the events I exhibit at and can take holidays at anytime of the year (although prior to Christmas isn’t ideal). I control the direction and scale of my business. I reap the rewards for my efforts. When our children were a home I had the freedom to fit around their school time table and was able to enjoy the summer holidays with them.
My advice for other women going business
- Follow your passion and do what your love. You will never be truly successful, or happy if you just follow the money.
- Making as a hobby is totally different to making as a business.
- Cashflow is king so keep an eye on your numbers.
- Have a plan of where you are heading and a strategy of how you will get there. If you fail to plan and you plan to fail is true every time.
- Do what you do best and outsource what doesn’t fill your heart with joy.
- Build a support network of experts around you that you can draw on for advice when needed. Don’t be afraid to ask for help– you can’t be an expert at everything.
- Unless you plan to work into your grave have an exit strategy.
- Do something new, something that stretches you or something that scares you every day. Your comfort zone is not your friend. Stretching outside your comfort zone is what brings growth to your business and to you as an individual. It is outside your comfort zone where you will feel accomplished, fulfilled and successful. It is the area where you will find happiness.
- Be a life-long learner. Never stop acquiring new skills and knowledge. Life moves quickly. Keep yourself up to date and at the top of the curve.
Top tip for success
Follow your passion and always work with integrity
Something surprising about me
I am terrified of heights. I can’t look over a balcony on a high building without my stomach lurching and feeling dizzy but I love zip wires, skydiving and hot air ballooning, have abseiled and wing walking is next on my list