Your Name and Age: Sharon Stevens – 39
Tell us about your family:
Married since 2008 with a little girl who will be four in June 2014
What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition?
I worked as an IT project manager for a university. I thought that I would miss the camaraderie you have with the people you work with and the ‘routine’ that a regular job offers. While it was strange at first being responsible for setting my own routine and having to motivate myself, I’ve loved every minute of it. As my business is a franchise I have a tried and tested business model to follow which helped tremendously with the transition.
When did you launch?
What’s your favourite thing about running your own business?
I love being able to manage my own time and fit my work commitments around my family commitments.
What’s the thing you least enjoy about running your own business?
There are a lot of admin things that you don’t have to deal with as a normal employee such as dealing with HMRC and payroll which can definitely take you out of your comfort zone if you haven’t dealt with them before. Luckily as a franchise operation there is support available to help you and once you’ve done it the first time it’s OK.
What has worked well about your business?
Winning clients and getting paid!
What’s been your biggest business mistake? How did you deal with it?
I don’t think I’ve made any real big mistakes. I’ve faced a couple of awkward situations with clients but when that has happened, I’ve been able to speak to the franchisor who was able to offer advice on how to handle it because they had already dealt with similar issues.
How do you fit in work with the family?
Easily! I work from home, so after the school run I return home and prepare for appointments with clients. After my meetings and appointments, I do the school run and while my daughter is playing I catch up on admin if I haven’t had time to during the day. The amount of flexibility the business gives me really does allow me to fit work in around my family.
Is your partner supportive of your business?
Very, we are hoping that once it builds up enough he will be able to leave his day job to join me.
Are you working towards a financial goal for your business?
My husband and I are confident that the business will be able to support us both eventually.
Would you ever give up your business to do something else?
Do you have an exit strategy?
As the business is still at an early stage, we don’t have an exit strategy however I am planning to employ someone else when we are the right size to help me which will also me to work on new ventures!
Have you had your ‘I’ve made it’ moment? Tell us about it. If not, when do you think it will come.
I’m not quite there yet but I think in another year when it is properly supporting me I will feel as though I have made it.
Where do you hope to be in five years’ time?
In five years I hope that my husband and I will be running a successful business together and enjoying a good quality of life.
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