I had spent over 25 years working in the IT industry. For people not in it, it seemed exciting and fast paced, when you are in it and have been for a few decades, you sometimes get to that stage where you crave for a different life. You dreamt about that day when you would be your own boss or have more control over what you did. That day came for me about 10 months ago.
I quit my job of 15 years. I had been agonising over what to do for a few years and had debated about a cleaning franchise and had considered options like a Dominos or a McDonald’s but the capital outlay seems too high.
One afternoon, I was talking to my sister about what my plan B would be. (We had coined a name for it now, as I talked about it so much). She said you are always organising everyone, sorting out hubby invoices (he has a side business too), doing the admin for the house and mum why don’t you do that?
I thought for a minute, is that a job?
That is just doing lots of tasks. I remembered we had celebrated my husbands’ 50th birthday and a few people had said the party was brilliant with all the little touches like the folded napkins (no, I didn’t fold them, we had over 200 guests, I bought them pre-folded, who knew they sold them like that ☺), the saxophone player who serenaded us over dinner and the lovely food. They all wanted to know who was my events’ organiser. When I said I was, they were very surprised.
I had always thought to run a business you needed to be passionate about what you were doing and really love it. I went down a different route and found something I was good at and then grew to love it. I am really passionate about Netflix and still searching for someone who will pay me to watch it ☺. I was adamant that I wanted to find something I could work flexibly, didn’t need too much capital to get off the ground and helped people in some way.
Once I decided on the what, I needed to decide on the how.
With my background, building websites etc was fine but marketing was a different world completely so I decided to look for franchise options and found Pink Spaghetti. I met the owners and we clicked. The ethos and values were like mine. I am always keen to excel in everything I do and I continually like learning new things. I knew we would get on well with each other. However I was not their typical franchisee as had older children (adults, really both over 18) and wanted something I could scale as I got older. Most of the franchisees had young children.
I had to do some training with them and then I needed to get on with running my own business.
Day 1. I started to panic. Why was I doing this? How am I going to get clients? Networking? Go and talk to a bunch of strangers about what I could do? But I hadn’t done it yet. Who would give me a chance? Who was I to think I could be an entrepreneur? I was the corporate, steady, risk-averse person. Who was the woman trying to pass herself off as a business person?
A week later, I got my first client in the most obscure place. I had attended an informal event to discuss social media and sat next to a lady who was struggling to follow the instructions. I started helping her and she asked what I did and whether I would do some work for her.
Even now, I marvel at her courage. She felt confident in me and let me lose to complete the tasks she wanted. It has continued from there. It is still not plain sailing. I still wander where this months’ rent will come from. I am not used to the financial ups and downs yet. But I love the flexibility. Every day is different and I am exposed to the most wonderful people and experiences that would never have come my way when working in the corporate world. I am learning every day and have grown in confidence immensely. I am inspiring others to take their dreams seriously and try and realise them. I never realised what a fan base I had. Most of my friends have been encouraging, supportive and have referred me to clients as they have seen something in me that I hadn’t seen in myself. The franchisors are also very approachable and a constant resource for me.
The icing of the cake was last weekend at our Pink Spaghetti Annual conference, I won New Franchisee of the year for continuous growth, achieving my business plan and consistency. I now need to try and keep that up.
This has been the most rewarding, exhilarating and most scary experience I have had in a long time.
I am not out of the woods as still doubt myself sometimes but realise that is normal for everyone. Everyone has some misgivings about stuff and that is okay as long as you own up to them and find a way to combat them.
The challenge for me now is growing my business and exploring other firsts so watch this space!
Follow Abbie and her business here!