Rebecca Hartley, 44, is the founder of Saving Grace Events is a full-service events management company based in Cheshire with clients located throughout the UK. The team designs plan and deliver events and experiences for people-driven brands such as Virgin Media, Five Guys and Prevent Breast Cancer who understand the importance of engaging employees and clients alike. Rebecca lives with her partner, her 15-year-old son Zach, and Cora and Oscar the dogs. Read on to hear about Rebecca’s business journey and her fabulous events.
What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition?
Before Saving Grace Events, my career background was working in client-facing roles within corporate, B2B companies. My previous roles include Bids Manager for the Co-op, Head of Customer Experience at Virgin Media, and Commercial Director for an outsourcing Business. However, after finding out I had breast cancer and going through 18 months of gruelling treatment, I knew life was too short to be in a job I didn’t love. I was working with a business whose values were at odds with my own, and I wanted to create my own business on my terms with a positive, values-based culture that would empower people. That’s when I set up Saving Grace Events.
When did you launch?
I launched the business five years ago, in 2017.
How did you get started?
I developed the proposition, making sure it was something that resonated with clients, that people wanted to buy. Then threw myself into building the business, initially though my own business network, winning clients from Five Guys and Virgin Media to Café Nero.
What’s your favourite thing about running your own business?
My favourite thing has got to be the freedom and the creativity. I love selling the dream to the client. I’m motivated by the journey, how different everyday can me for the whole team. That people want to work with us, the endless opportunities.
What’s the thing you least enjoy about running your own business?
I’m not so keen on the admin side of things, which involves going through contracts and invoices. I believe you do what you do best, then delegate the rest.
What’s been your biggest business mistake? How did you deal with it?
My biggest mistake has been not to fully believe in myself. I don’t think it’s helpful to dwell or beat yourself up about mistakes, though, as there’s always a way forward to rectify and learn from it.
My biggest learnings is also definitely not to focus on the end destination but to just worry about the next stop and enjoy the journey.
How do you fit in work with the family?
The biggest change I made to balance my life and family life, especially as a single mum, is getting an office space outside of the home, so when I come home the focus is on my son, Zach, which is really important before he get bored and goes back to speak with his mates!
It’s so easy to have that mum guilt, but I’m setting a good example and know that I’m building a better life for me and him. In some ways, working for yourself gives you more flexibility for your family. I take Zach to school every morning, I leave the office to pick him up in the afternoon, then go back to work. In an office job working for an employer, I wouldn’t have the permission to do that.
Are you working towards a financial goal for your business?
I’m definitely working towards short term financial goals, such as recently moving into our new office and growing the team. I’m not particularly money motivated, though; I do what I do with Saving Grace Events because I love it. For Tatton Park Pop Up, however, financial targets are very clear because I want to sell the business eventually.
Would you ever give up your business to do something else?
No! I love what I do.
Do you have an exit strategy?
Yes, for the festival, absolutely within five years. For Saving Grace Events, it’s a passion project. I want it to be something that I enjoy, and that allows me to live the life that I want.
Have you had your ‘I’ve made it’ moment? Or when do you think it will come?
Not yet. I’ve had the “I’m making it moment” because we are a proper business now, and we’ve entered a different phase. In terms of Tatton Park Pop Up Festival, it will probably be when we’ve sold it – because then we will have gotten it to the stage when it’s something that someone will want to buy.
Where do you hope to be in five years’ time?
The first year was working on the proposition, and the third year was aimed to be a financial success – then the pandemic hit. Now, I can’t wait to see where the next five years will take us. 10 years will be a real achievement, we’ll have had a clear run.
In terms of long-term goals, I don’t really set many. From everything I’ve been through- divorce, losing both parents and 3 siblings and having breast cancer- I know that life can change in an instant and you can be holding out for that end goal which may or may not ever come and missing everything that’s great in between and right now.
I’ve always believed that rather than overwhelm yourself particularly in business, you should just focus on the next step, then the next one, then the next one, and you will probably end up somewhere better than any goal you would ever set. You’ll definitely end up where you’re meant to be anyway.
Find vout more about Rebecca’s businesses and Saving Grace Events
Facebook – Saving Grace Events
Instagram – @savinggrace_events
YouTube – Saving Grace Events
Linked In – https://www.linkedin.com/company/saving-grace-your-lifestyle-lifesaver/
Website – https://savinggraceevents.co.uk/