How I became a Small Business Owner
Let me introduce myself - hi, I’m Victoria! I’m 32 years old and have been self employed for 10 years. I had three jobs before my business - I was a Receptionist, a Call Centre worker and then a School Administrator. None of these roles brought me joy. I always knew I could challenge myself more, there was something more out there but I have to admit, had it not been for my husband, Craig, I would never have taken this route. I am, by nature, what you would call “risk averse” - in other words, the complete opposite of a risk taker and in a lot of respects, that hasn’t changed.
I met Craig when I worked as a Receptionist. I was 17 (and he was my boss!) and we were married 5 years later. He was ambitious, had big ideas and was creative. As soon as we met, he would tell me he would work for himself one day, he was always brainstorming ideas (that I admit I didn’t pay much attention to). I didn’t know anyone who had their own business and just assumed it was something that you could only start with a bulk load of cash behind you. It wasn’t until we went on our honeymoon in 2011 that things changed. With a lot of time on our hands, we got talking about our hopes for the future. Craig spoke again about having a business, an outlet for his creativity and for once, I could actually imagine it.
When we got home, we purchased our first piece of kit - a Silhouette Cameo vinyl cutter and a supply of vinyl colours and tools. We set up an eBay shop and started selling wall art designs (10 years ago this was not the saturated market it is now!) and orders started coming in. It was a buzz, every time a “sale” alert pinged, I got that excited feeling in your tummy. Someone actually wanted to spend money on a design we had created and they would say lovely things about it - it felt amazing!
For around a year, we juggled the wall art with full time jobs. Working until 5pm, coming home and making the vinyls in the evening. I’d spend my whole lunch hour queuing at the post office to send off the postal tubes and the extra money went into being able to rent a bigger house (which we were soon going to need!).
In 2013, Maxwell was born. Like a lot of new mums, I wanted a change of direction that meant I could be home with him more. It was a scary choice but I decided to leave my job and focus full time on the business. It was already making more money than my salary and the extra time I had to spend on it allowed us to grow and expand even more. The following year, Craig left his job also and we were officially in the “self-employed” boat with no salary security. This now had to work, we had to succeed because there was no longer a back up.
A lot has happened in the last 8 years and a lot I will cover in future posts, but in short - we have grown, developed, invested and expanded to get to the point of having a £1million turnover last year. We have made deliberate choices and have learnt many things along the way that I hope to share with YOU. With our business now largely focussing on providing items for other awesome businesses, I thought it would be a great idea to share experiences and support in the scary world of small business ownership. If I can help anyone else navigating this journey, it’s always great to remember you’re not alone. If there are any areas in particular you’d like me to cover, leave a comment below or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I’d love to hear from you! I will be posting updates every week x