What happened after I jumped?

13th January 2019

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..

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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.

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Leadership is hard work and there is no guide. I had to learn along the way.

I had to develop confidence in my abilities. IΒ 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.

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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.

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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.

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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) Β 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.

Vanessa xoxo

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