‘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 what a week. I feel like my head is spinning. I’ll try and share with you what has happened without getting too excited. Oh dear, when I think about what would have got me excited in the past I can’t believe I’m now excited about a meeting with a business adviser. What is the world coming to? Could life as I know it be about to swirl out of all recognition? For the first time in a long time I feel I could actually be in control of my own destiny. No more redundancy letters!
I went prepared – a visit to the supplier (and confidante) I mentioned earlier, who has actually become a real gem in terms of helping me to get things into perspective, convinced me that I needed to be prepared. So armed with a lot of nerves and a sheet of A4 listing what I thought I could do I met with Bill from the Council. What if he didn’t like my idea? What if he didn’t like me? What if he thought I was wasting my time (and his)?
Just as I was about to run to the loo (the nerves had taken over) Bill came to collect me with a wide smile and firm handshake. I was so pleased to see he was ‘normal’! I don’t know why but I had in my mind someone older, more official, more like my dad and someone ready to tell me what I couldn’t do. Why is that? Why did I start to put barriers in the way before I’d even got started? Maybe its because I’m actually questioning myself instead of using the positive thinking I know I am good at telling everyone else to adopt. Reasons to be cheerful:
Part 1 I have prepared
Part 2 I don’t need a lot of money to get started – however Bill had other thoughts, more of that later.
Part 3 I make an attractive barmaid – well so I’ve been told.
(Granted my admirer had consumed quite a lot of falling down juice at the time. Still, as I keep saying, if all else fails….)
The meeting wasn’t what I expected - Bill didn’t really tell me what I should do. He did ask me lots of questions – some quite hard to answer and although I thought I was prepared I realised I still had some work to do. Bill is lovely – no not in that way! He’s really helped me to think about what I need to do next and has given me some information and links to websites to help me to firm up my plan. I came out of the meeting floating on air – well possibly an exaggeration given the takeaway I ate last night – with the promise of a further meeting once I have worked on my plan.
So I went to work on my plan and was making good progress when my boss called me into his office. Oh no, surely I wasn’t being made redundant before I’d actually got my business started? Well, quite the opposite actually. He explained that he realised I was probably going to set up my own business anyway and if I did would I consider working on a freelance basis for them. I could have kissed him! I didn’t obviously, and the moment passed very quickly given he’s a happily married man with two grown up children and 20 years older than me.
I had been thinking about how hard it would be to leave a group of women that I have been helping to get back into work but it seems that now I don’t have to.
The best of both worlds - I can run my own business whilst still delivering training on behalf of my current employer. Obviously we will have to agree terms as and when I get started but I do feel a lot happier knowing that I have some income already for at least the first few months and who knows maybe even longer if I play my cards right.
I couldn’t wait to tell the family. All I need now is to find out exactly what type of business will be right for me and arrange a meeting with the bank to see if they would be happy to lend me the money to get started. I only need enough to set up my office and to cover my costs until my customers start to pay me. I’m wondering whether I should start from home but could be difficult as I don’t have a spare room and the kids have a particular style of answering the telephone which isn’t really conducive to the professional image I want to project. It ranges from ‘Good Morning, thank you for calling the House of Sin’ to ‘Who is it?’ Saying that it would be nice to be around when the kids come home from school but if the business takes off in the way I hope I won’t be around much anyway during the day.
I’m thinking its probably best to work on my financial projections to see what is affordable although Bill said they have very good deals for office space for new starters. OMG I’m going to be a real entrepreneur ... or at least a business owner. Is there a difference? Note to self : Ask Bill.