I have worked most of my life, mainly for a bank, up until Covid came to Northern Ireland. However, as much as my previous employment provided me with valuable skills, it was not what I had a passion for and I was not truly happy.
As a single parent I always struggled with my work/life balance and always had the guilt as my son was in childcare every day after school and was not thriving like he should be, but I had a mortgage and bills to pay so I had little choice.
When I found myself unemployed and thrown into home schooling I realized that my son's progress in his schoolwork and wellbeing was so great, that I knew that I had to find something to do which allowed me to be more flexible.
What inspired me to join the Exploring Enterprise Programme
I always had a dream from a young age to be my own boss but never believed enough in myself to do it.
Lockdown give me a new perspective on what was really important, and I decided to take the opportunity to discover what training was available to start learning about starting my own business.
How the Programme helped me
The programme was really beneficial. I started it with just an idea of what type of products I would like to sell but had no idea how to set up a business.
At the beginning of the programme we looked at the characteristics/skills of an entrepreneur and I realized I had many of them. This was a great starting point as it gave me the reassurance, I had found the correct path.
The programme was well laid out and interactive so it was easy to follow. It was very much at my own pace, I received guidance as I worked through each step and was given direction to help me complete each task successfully.
It has provided me with a structure to work off and upon finishing the course I have a clear plan to work on with a new confidence.
Key achievements from the Programme
My biggest achievement from the programme is the confidence it has provided me with and the realization that being self employed doesn’t have to just be a dream.
Also, the knowledge gained from the programme has provided me with a plan to move forward with confidence.
Where I am now
I am now working on my business plan and have registered on a food hygiene course and business administration course.
I feel it is important to be fully prepared in all aspects of self employment before launching to ensure the best chance of success.
Fail to plan, plan to fail!
How I found the support from Antrim Enterprise Agency
The support was amazing, I found that if I ever needed help with anything my mentor was only a call or email away.
I got so much useful information and professional business guidance throughout the programme that the tasks were enjoyable and easy to work on.
All the staff were very friendly and my mentor very much worked at my pace with me, so I didn’t feel under pressure, which allowed me to work on my tasks around my home life.
My advice for someone starting a business
Ask for help and seek any training or courses which are relevant to your business as there is lots of support out there, you just need to look for it. Seek and you shall find!