Setting up and running your own business is always a challenge – you already know that! But for Claire Jenks self employment was something she hadn’t quite planned! I recently had 5 minutes with Claire to find out more about her business journey so far …
What made you decide to work for yourself?
I started freelancing full-time in July 2011. To be honest, starting a business was not something I had planned! In June 2011 Barbour in South Shields approached me to ask if I would be interested in meeting to discuss freelance opportunities with their Global Marketing department. At the time I was working full time, so I had to say no, but as it turned out I was made redundant two weeks later, so I quickly made contact with Barbour again and luckily the vacancy was still available! That lead to my first freelance contract, so all of a sudden I was in business!
Tell me 3 things you’ve learnt since you started out
Definitely the thing that’s surprised me most is how rewarding running your own business can be, and if you’re willing to put the effort in you reap the rewards. In terms of what I’ve learnt:
- Don’t be a hero – at times I can’t do everything myself and have learnt to admit it!
- The value of time – there are only so many hours in a day, and only so many days in a week. I’ve learnt to invest my time wisely and focus on what I’m good at, and find experts and apps to deal with the rest!
- Look back in time – looking back at what I’ve achieved helps me to re-focus, to realise what I’ve accomplished so far, and to set realistic goals for the future.
What do your customers say about you?
I work with start up businesses or people who want to reinvigorate their current image. These customers tend to be really excited about their business, so they throw ideas about and are keen to get engaged in the process and learn about how to brand and market their company properly. I love that.
My customers tell me they like my creativity; that I’m good at interpreting what their business is about through their branding (I’ve been called a ‘mind-reader’ by one customer!); and finally that I’m easy to work with and meet tight deadlines.
How have Coworking Days helped you?
I started attending Coworking Days in May 2013 and found they added huge value to my business, allowing me to meet like-minded people in similar positions, who can offer support and advice from their own experience. Being in a work environment, outside the four walls of the house, also meant I could be more productive, finishing the day off with an empty to-do list.
It’s also a great way to share skills and network without the pressure of standing in a room with a handful of business cards. The office is full of a range of people across many industries, opening up opportunities for new jobs, referrals and collaborative projects.