If you know deep down you should be somewhere else or be doing something else you are probably right! The gut is a very good instinct. Listen to other people’s advice but make your own decisions. If you make a mistake, what is the worst that can happen? If you never try...you could miss the biggest opportunity of your life. If you decide to go for it – make sure you do it with all the energy, enthusiasm and dedication you have got.P.s - It is never too late.
Nina set out to be successful in the City; become a professional and start working her way up the ladder to those big pay cheques. After five years as an Investment Property Agent, Nina could no longer fight a growing urge to break away from routine, the monotonous commute and big corporates. Taking one of the biggest risks in her life, she quit. And with no plan.
If you know deep down you should be somewhere else or be doing something else, you are probably right! The gut is a very good instinct. Listen to other people’s advice but make your own decisions. If you make a mistake, what is the worst that can happen? If you never try... you could miss the biggest opportunity of your life. If you decide to go for it... make sure you do it with all the energy, enthusiasm and dedication you have got.
P.S. It is never too late.
I have set up http://littledelivery.com/" rel="nofollow">littledelivery.com, a website selling unique and fun children’s presents which is keeping me on my toes! I run the business by myself so there is a lot to think about but I am really enjoying the challenge. There is a great amount of pleasure to gain from sending lovely presents to happy people!
I was an Investment Property Agent for around five years. I worked with some great people, incorporated a bit of travel and spent a year working in Paris. I remember starting out with lots of enthusiasm and energy, and the promise of a successful career ahead of me.
Unfortunately this energy and enthusiasm didn’t last long! I quickly settled into a monotonous working routine that I found extremely unfulfilling. I knew I was just a small cog in a large money-making machine.
I would slide into my own little world on the tube every morning and daydream of what else I could do with my life, and how I could feasibly get there. I came up with millions of ideas - some good and some not so good!
I had so many moments of truth! I think they were because I knew deep down that I was not supposed to be in the City. I love being outside, creating my own schedule, wearing clothes that fit my mood and not my company, and not being tied down to corporate rules and systems.
The real moment of truth came when I was feeling particularly unhappy with it all one evening and I called my dad in South Africa. With my unhappiness plain to see, he told me to write a list – the City vs ‘something else’ - and what I expected and wanted from my working life. It was glaringly obvious that nothing I did in the City remotely satisfied any part of my life. I decided that night that I needed to break free and move towards something that was more suited to me as a person.
To be honest, I didn’t really. While everyone told me to find another job before I left the current one, I knew I could not wait that long. Everyday that I went to the City, I felt like it took away a little bit more of ‘me’ and I had to leave before I forgot who ‘me’ was.
I have never felt so liberated in all my life and despite going into the unknown, I had a deep sense in my gut that I was making the right decision. I didn't doubt it for a second.
I needed to get my sense of self back and restore all that lost energy. I took a local job in a jewellery shop. Everyone thought I was mad – one day working in the City and the next in a shop. But I knew what I was doing. This was a start-up company where I could be involved in every part of the process from sourcing jewellery to selling it, and it is where I learnt the grounding for starting my own business.
My motivation and enthusiasm was returning and the idea for Little Delivery came soon afterwards. By working in the shop I would assess what would sell and why, and I noticed our online sales increase and the shop sales decrease. I began to formulate a good business model, that would also require very little capital to get it going.
When my nephew, Harry, came along and I struggled to find lovely children’s presents online, I knew what I wanted to sell.
The sense of freedom and power to control your destiny has made me happy and focused. I have a goal to achieve and am dedicated to making it happen. I don’t have a fall-back option; it has to work – and nothing motivates you more than that!
Starting something by yourself is daunting and often quite lonely. But it does teach you to be decisive and trust your own judgement. No one else is going to make it happen.
I have had very few low points in making it happen. I think I have been so energised by finally getting to where I want to be that nothing is too much trouble or too hard work. The hardest thing is switching off at night from the million and one thoughts and ideas I have running through my head!
When starting your own venture it seems everyone wants to offer their advice. This is great – as long as you take on board what is relevant and useful, and ignore what does not apply to your particular situation.
The best advice I have probably had is from my mum when I left school. She told me to do what I enjoy and success would follow. Although I totally agreed with this I think I was too scared to start at the bottom when I had the possibility of fast-tracking on a graduate scheme and earning more money. I have learnt the long way that if you are not happy in what you are doing, you will not make a success of it.
I have read plenty of entrepreneurial books that have given me lots of inspiration and also the realisation that if they can do it, you can do it. There is a pattern in many of these books, in that everyone has to start from somewhere, and often from very humble beginnings. In my eyes success is what you make of it.
I have met many people along the way who have branched out from the City. It is incredibly useful hearing their stories and listening to their advice. Having a quick coffee with someone new could lead to your next opportunity.
Great books I have read: