I had never really considered owning my own business. It is funny how life opens doors when you are least expecting them. The question is, are you brave enough to go through them?
My journey to business owner was accidental, you might say. I was a Primary school teacher for ten years before the birth of my third baby. I made the decision not to go back into teaching, but in all honesty, didn’t really know what I was going to do. I was given a Beauty Treatments voucher when I left teaching and whilst I was enjoying a Pedicure, I had a light bulb moment. I had trained as a beautician in the evenings many years ago, more for pleasure really, but had never done anything with the qualification.
I went home and asked my Husband what he thought about me setting up a beautician business from home. He was very supportive and encouraged me to go for it. Within two months I was up and running, mainly carrying out treatments for friends. Someone asked me if I would consider carrying out a Pamper Party for her daughter. It seemed like a fun idea, so I came up with my first party concept.
Although apprehensive beforehand, I felt an excitement rise in me whilst carrying out the party. I had found my ideal job, combining both my skills as a teacher and beautician. I knew then that I wanted to pursue the party business idea, and ‘Pamper Parties Oxfordshire’ was born.
I knew next to nothing about running a business and didn’t really know where to begin. I started making a list and gradually went through it. I confess to not having a grand business plan. I just took baby steps and followed the path that naturally opened up to me. I had little money to ‘play with’ so I tried to do as much as I could myself. With three children, I was working in the evenings on marketing ideas, going to local school events and generally working on getting my business known. I set up a Facebook page, and utilized its potential by offering competitions, with more ‘entries’ offered if the page was shared. I downloaded graphic design software and designed my logo. I needed a website, but couldn’t afford to pay a company to do one, so I spent hours making one, and learning about SEO.
Within a year, I have carried out over 110 parties, offer four different party options and have set up another company ‘Princess Parties Oxfordshire’ for younger girls. I absolutely love running my own business. Before, work felt a little like renting as opposed to having a mortgage. Now, the effort I put in is for my benefit. The targets to be met are my own targets.
I am not anyone special. I do not have any snazzy business qualifications. I still snigger to myself when I think of myself as a ‘Business Owner’. I am just a Mum who was brave enough to go through doors when they opened. Someone once said they would love to have as business but didn’t know what they could do. I told them to think about what they really like doing, what gives them that thrill inside, makes them happy. Then build a business idea around that. If you enjoy your work, you never actually feel like you are working.
So what is your passion? What do you enjoy doing? Is there a baby step today you can take to create a business from that? Go on, be brave. Walk through those doors…
Karen Paine is a Mum of three, a qualified teacher and beautician, and a keen Blogger. She owns Pamper Parties Oxfordshire which provides fun, interactive parties for girls aged 6-15. She also owns Princess Parties Oxfordshire, providing the Ultimate Princess experience for girls aged 4-6.