‘Enterprisingly Me’ is a monthly feature where you can follow my entrepreneurial adventures. Names have been changed to protect the innocent but everything you read really happened.
I hope my story inspires you to take your first steps, or if you already have, then it lets you know you’re not on your own. Starting and running a successful business isn’t about being perfect. It’s about loving what you’re doing, learning from your mistakes and keeping the faith!
Well that’s it I need to have a conversation with my current employer as I have loads of ideas about how I could help them to set up a separate part of the business that wouldn’t depend on funding. It seems obvious. As I’ve been researching what I would need to do to start up my own business I’ve realised that its something that they could do themselves and I could lead on it giving me some sense of ownership but without the risk of losing my monthly salary.
Although it helped to talk things through with my mother I feel it would be good to speak to someone who doesn’t know me as well as she does – its great to get her views but then she will throw a spanner in the works by asking me if I’ve thought about the effect it will have on the kids with me having to dedicate so much time to running a business. What does she think I’m doing now? I’m juggling working 38 hours a week with childcare (often unreliable), dancing classes (often involving additional commitments not only in time but also producing the very best sparkly outfit with minutes to spare), swimming lessons (often requiring me to sit in an overheated seating area of the public baths watching my daughter swimming many lengths without even noticing that I’m there and the only time I popped out to get something for tea she managed to cut her foot on a broken tile which then resulted in a trip to the local hospital and many months of fighting a compensation claim for £100 which didn’t even cover the cost of the petrol), parties (why so many friends each requiring me to find the perfect present and the perfect party outfit no wonder I’m always exhausted and need my House of Fraser retail therapy), and a teenage son who although fends mostly for himself still depends on mums hotel for his every need. He will soon be leaving us to go to University and I’ll miss him as the man of the house, filling it with noise, laughter, music and the constant sibling bickering. For the past 5 years I probably haven’t appreciated how much I’ve depended on him to help me to manage my chaotic work/life balance. So although my mothers question was annoying she was right to get me to think about how I was going to manage the new challenges that would come from working for myself. Still it won’t hurt to get a second opinion and I will also book an appointment with my boss to share my ideas about a new business opportunity for them.
Bad news, after speaking to my boss its not something that they feel would fit with their plans for the future and they are convinced that their funding will continue. He told me not to worry, that my job would be safe once they got the contract agreed and in place. Oh no what shall I do?
I can’t stop thinking about it – what shall I do? Now that I have started to explore my options my mind has been working overtime. If I don’t do it now I probably never will and I have picked up lots of skills along the way which I’m sure I could put to good use if things didn’t work out. As you may remember I can pull a mean pint and I can cook so what am I worrying about? I’ve always been a really positive person and I’m sure I can make this work but I realise that it isn’t going to be all plain sailing and I need to be sure I’m going to be able to make it work out financially because I have the kids to think about.
I have decided to try to put together a proper plan –I have come to realise that I need to be able to explain easily to both potential customers and funders what I have to offer. Easier said than done when you’re not good at writing about what you’re planning to do in the future – it all seems a bit unreal……. I rang the local council who say that one of their business advisers would be happy to help me so I have made an appointment to see them early next week. In the meantime I have downloaded a template for a business plan from the internet. The problem is there are so many different types of plan to look at and I’m not sure which one I should be using. I made a start but my friend popped round and I got distracted googling cheap holidays – maybe not such a good idea after a couple of glasses of ice cold prosecco and a bowl of nuts!
Luckily for me and my potential new business I didn’t book to go on that fantastic holiday in the sun this summer (which was a bargain by the way). I’m starting to realise that if I’m really going to do this then I do need to hang on to my self-control. Well not too much that I become a boring fart but just enough to be able to make some sensible decisions based on the fact that I may have to make some sacrifices over the next few years until I get things going.
I’m starting to think I could really do this and have decided to speak to my employer again – its difficult as I’m not exactly sure how he will take it when I tell him I want to start up on my own. Obviously I won’t be competing with them as he has been very clear that its not something they would want to do themselves but I’m still nervous about how I should play it. The last thing I want to do is upset them as they have been really good to work for especially when I have had challenges with childcare. Maybe I should wait until I have a proper plan, what do you think?