Have you ever wanted to own your own business? Leaving a well paid job to set up on your own can be daunting. For Dan it was the best decision he could make as he could combine working for himself with being able to spend time with his young family. Read his story below.
Dan Owner of Solace Jewellery
Growing up everyone asks you, “what do you want to do with your life?” I wanted to be an accountant, don’t ask me why, but I knew I was good at maths and IT, and my Dad used to say they earn good money, so why not! I didn’t really apply myself as much as I could have at school, but I was good at exams so I got fairly good grades, with the plan to go on to A-levels and then hopefully University.
Then 6th form happened, I soon realised I couldn’t just breeze by like I had GCSE’s, plus we had moved quite far away from the school, so even just getting there was now a chore. I dropped out. All these dreams of having a high-flying career, a nice house and a flash car were out the window. I worked in the warehouse part time at the local Curry’s store, and resented it, I knew I was meant for better things.
I have never quite realised the significance of this moment until writing this blog, but one of my colleagues at Curry’s was leaving for an apprenticeship in accounting. That gave me a glimpse of hope, I stupidly hadn’t really researched what other options there were for me. Next thing I know, I’m pulling up at a BMW dealership for an interview, 18 years old, no tie, shirt untucked and no idea what to say or do in an interview. Somehow, I got the job! I think my desperation to do better for myself came across in the interview, as I certainly didn’t have the highest grades, or present very well.
Fast forward 10 years, I am Head of Finance for an SME. I worked hard, I stayed late, I always went the extra mile to help the business, and I had the title and job I’d always wanted. But I was still wanting for more, sick of the repetitiveness of accounting, and hating the fact I couldn’t spend much time with my friends and family.
I had started a small business on the side in my first job at BMW after discovering that my girlfriend at the time couldn’t wear earrings without getting sore, itchy skin, and that 1 in 7 people also suffered from the same metal allergy. There didn’t seem to be a company selling nice jewellery for this huge amount of people. I was amazed, yet didn’t have a clue how to start a business. I found out that stainless steel was hypoallergenic, branded the best metal for sensitive skin. So, I found a supplier, and set up using Shopify, a drag and drop software for making websites.
It had been ticking along nicely for a few years, paying for a holiday or 2, and giving me an escape now and then from the repetitive job. But I had neglected it, not doing any marketing for months at a time, relying on Google ads to bring in customers, My Mam was even packing the orders to help me out, and had been for years bless her, even though I had moved down south to be with Lindsay, my now fiancée. I decided that this was my way out, and made a commitment to take the business back and push hard.
18 months after making the decision to take the business back, I made the leap and quit my job. It had no way of paying me a wage at that time, but I knew I had 6 month to make it work or worst case I was getting another job! Thankfully this is the best decision I have ever made, my son was born just a few months before I quit. Not only is it now paying me a wage, but it allows me to be there for every breakfast, dinner and bath time with my son. This is something too many fathers don’t get to enjoy because of the work culture.
I would encourage anyone out there working long hours, and a slave to their job to re-think their situation, is there a way out? There are so many amazing businesses starting up every year, and it is not that hard to grow a business if you are focused on making people’s lives better.