I followed the path, as encouraged by most parents back in day (as they say now), of a stable career. At the time it seemed like the right thing to do, earning money, secure future etc etc. It sounds dull just typing it now so why oh why at 18 did it not sound as dull, or did it and I just didn’t realise there were other options???
So trainee ship secured at Kent County Council with university place for part time study of Surveying Degree. All the while keeping the Saturday job at Principles where I got to help people dress well.
Probably 3 years in, I realised surveying, property and the Council just wasn’t for me but instead of doing something about it I stayed and stayed, got qualified as a chartered surveyor, got promoted, earnt more money, spent even more that I earnt but couldn’t quite put my finger on why I felt like a square peg in a round hole.
Tried lots of different employers subsequently but still disliked the industry most of the time but continued to live beyond my means hoping it would make me feel better about doing a job I didn’t enjoy very much.
It reached a point where I thought I couldn’t really continue on that path for another 40 years and started to think about what I loved, what I was good at and what I didn’t need to go back to university to train in.
My granny had taught both sister and I to sew as youngsters and whilst I know how to do it I was never patient enough to be an expert. However I loved the fabric, the shopping for it and coming up with ideas for what to make. Friends always asked me to go shopping with them for outfits saying I had a good sense of style. I had loved working with clothes as a student and after some research I discovered the world of image consultancy. I took a month off work and along with a friend trained in all things colour, image, style and personal branding. Karen and I dabbled a bit mainly evenings and weekends and had some fun clients. The economy took its down turn and at this stage, knowing very little about business we abandoned our dream of giving up the day jobs to be full time image consultants. However what i had discovered whilst training was why the surveying had never fulfilled me. I had developed my personal brand. I identified my core values and my strengths and what was important to me. These values did not fit with the property industry and the role I was doing.
As such the image consultancy world continued to be a source of passion for me but my concern over finances kept me in the day job! That whole scarcity mindset!!
The turning point for me deciding to wholly embrace running my own personal branding business was social media. When I had first considered image consultancy social media did not exist. Social media enabled me to start to promote my business to my target market for little or no cost. It allowed me to build my brand and my profile. It was instrumental in building my brand awareness.
I have really benefited too from business coaching. Be it group, one to one or a mentor, business coaching can really help you gain clarity, vision and accountability.
I love running my own business. I wake up every morning and am excited to get up and get on. I am constantly buzzing with ideas. I have so much I want to do and of course like everyone I want to run before I can walk.
I would love to help others starting the same journey as I did just under 2 years ago. You do learn by your mistakes but if someone can help you avoid some of them on the way then that would be a great benefit I think. There is a lot of info out there and I think knee jerk reaction when you first start is that you need it all but personally I do not think that is true so someone to help you decide what is crucial and what not to waste your time or money on would be really useful. Sharing my experience if it helped others would be a great thing I would love to do. I have been amazed by the generosity of others when it comes to advice help and support and if I can do the same I would love to do so.
Anyone thinking of starting their own business, just do it!! Can’t recommend it enough.