Your Name and Age: Pavan Riyat-Ward, 44
Tell us about your family
My husband Rick is an established Creative Director and we work with our daughter Polly who is also an experienced creative. Family is very important to me, and I have grown up being inspired by my father who has taught me the value of working hard. I am the eldest of three siblings, born in Leeds.
What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition?
I have worked in senior roles heading up Marketing for big brands such as The Co-op, Morrisons and Poundland. I’ve also spent years working for full-service agencies in the creative sector.
When did you launch?
How did you get started?
Sadly, my sister became seriously ill and during that time she inspired me to full fill my dreams of setting up my own business. After she passed away, I knew I had to do it so together with my husband we made a business plan. We researched the idea amongst leading northern agencies and freelancers to ensure there was a role for creative allies within the industry. After getting a big thumbs up, we decided to go for it.
What’s your favourite thing about running your own business
I have always loved creativity, working with over 200 creatives on the network is a dream come true. I enjoy having the freedom to come up with ideas and then making them happen. When you’ve worked in large organisations it’s hard to get things through which can be challenging and sometimes demotivating. Creative Allies is a creative business so we have free reign to try new things and make a real difference to the creative industry.
What has worked well about your business?
We have found a niche in the market and delivered a service that the industry has been crying out for. I think the way we have marketed the business has worked – we’ve used social media to drive awareness of what we are doing and it’s worked.
What’s been your biggest business mistake? How did you deal with it?
Not doing it sooner.
How do you fit in work with the family? Is your partner supportive of your business?
My family is very career driven. We support each other to realise our ambitions and career dreams. I spend a lot of time with my sister’s children – having my own business has enabled me to do this. I can put them to sleep and jump on my laptop whilst they sleep, or pick them up from school now and then…something I could never have done working for someone else.
Are you working towards a financial goal for your business?
Right now we just want to work as hard as we can. Hard work pays off, so I’m sure the financial goal will follow.
Would you ever give up your business to do something else?
Not now no. Running my own business such as Allies, was always the ultimate goal.
Do you have an exit strategy?
No – we aren’t even thinking about that at this stage.
Have you had your ‘I’ve made it’ moment? Tell us about it. If not when do you think it will come
I never think I’ve made it. I’m massively grateful for what I have achieved and will always be that way programmed. There’s never a day I stop learning, being inspired, feeling a sense of accomplishment – so until that stops, I think I’ll never say ‘this is it, I’ve made it’
Where do you hope to be in five years time?
I would like Allies to be national – celebrating freelancers and creativity across the entire country.