On the 24th January 2016, almost three years ago, I wrote a blog post titled ‘Jump in 2016’ about making the leap from part-time employment to working on my business, Girls Talk London, full time. This was inspired by a recent trip to the City of big dreams, New York!
I thought it would be pretty cool to share what has happened since I took the big leap. Was it worth the risk? Would I do it again? What did the experience teach me? All the answers that you may want to know and more are below..
So first of all the best thing I ever did was leave my job in 2016 as it was holding me back and I needed to fly! However, as I was in a long distance relationship at the time with my boyfriend who lived in Ghana, I was trying to build a start-up whilst constantly going back and forth between both continents which was challenging and I was distracted. If I could do things differently, I would have been based in London 100% of the time to really focus on growing my business. My heart was in Ghana and head was in London-a total mess when looking back!
Depression amongst entrepreneurs is real..it is a big change and shock to the system which I was not prepared for. You are very isolated alot of the time, working alone, especially from home and this has a major effect on your morale and mood in particular when you hit a tough time.
Leadership is hard work and there is no guide. I had to learn along the way.
I had to develop confidence in my abilities. I had a very tough time with having confidence in myself as a professional and young CEO of a social enterprise. My self esteem was low, I didn’t know how to take charge, push back on clients or freelance staff. I was a literal mess for about the first 12 months. I managed to understand after about 2.5 years that I deserved every single contract that I was given, I am bloody great at what I do and I know my stuff. My only regret is I wish I believed this deep down when I jumped.
Networking is KEY. I met some amazing life changing contacts whilst at events such as Facebook and Deborah Okenla, CEO of YSYS to name a few.
I don’t need a big team. I had this illusion that I needed to build a big team of freelance staff so that I could be taken seriously by corporates but also thought that is what businesses do right? You hire staff? WRONG. I wasted lots of money and realised that many people are only looking to get paid (which is fair enough) so I learnt that for me it was and is best to stay small and have my core team. I am in no rush to expand without great reason.
Co-working spaces are epic, life changers. Shout-out to Camden Collective and Huckletree West!
Take the personal out of business. Don’t take things so personal. Seperate yourself.
I like being around people so working from home alot is not the best environment for me.
I focused so much on my business for two years that I neglected and forgot that I have a career! You can get so lost in the day to day survival of running a business that you don’t take a step back to focus on your own personal and professional development. I realised about two years in, that I still do have lots to learn in diversity and inclusion especially in the broader sector. Running Girls Talk London is a very focused and niche area-Gender-but in the D & I space there are so many issues I lacked experience in such as disabilities, LGBTQ issues, religion and race. I was and am still young and my professional business skills have not developed in its entirety.
It was in 2018 that I realised that I preferred having a portfolio career (working part-time and running my business having multiple streams of income) When you also have a job you get so many benefits such as insight, paid for training, contacts, access to highly influential people, pension and a regular guaranteed income.
I also realised that I have the power to control what type of life I want to live as I found that my business ran my life and it should be the other way round.
Right now, I am enjoying working in Parliament in Diversity and Inclusion (since March 2018) aswell as still running my business, Girls Talk London, AND still presenting, podcasting, blogging, speaking and writing. If and when I decide that this does not work for me, I will then surely JUMP into whatever feels like the most natural next move for me.
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