I’m going to do a series of blogs on working mums with small business set ups From office based mums like me to shop owners, jewelley makers and fashions stylists… Lots of amazing motivational women. Friends that I admire and respect.
I’m hoping that there are many of you out there thinking about change. Maybe you have a new idea, maybe you want to do what you do now but for yourself – not someone else.. or maybe you have a creative passion you would love to bring to others.. Whatever the reason I hope some of the people you get a glimpse of in the following weeks will inspire you..
I thought I’d kick it off with me..
What do you do?
I am an agent for photographers, stylists and hair & makeup artists. Angeli & Co
How long have you been doing it?
Eek many many years ago.. maybe about 15…I had one agency for about 8 years then I had a break for 5 years when I focused on my family and lived in Sydney ( where I had another business) then back to the UK where I set up again..
How did you start doing it?
I worked in advertising when I left university and make my way up the corporate ladder until I was a Board Director. I had specialized in Fashion Retail and loved producing photoshoots, – being involved in the whole creative process from initial visuals through pulling the shoot team together to overseeing the final images go to print.. I loved the energy and excitement of it all.
So I made the momentous decision that I wanted to focus on what I loved about work and leave the office politics behind.
I joined forces with an existing client of mine who wanted out of the rat race too, plus we convinced a friend who had been an agent for some 15 years already to join us and we setup..
We rented a small office in Smithfield Market, as it was the only place I could find that was cheap at that time (ironically it is one of THE most expensive places to rent in London now!). The building had been an old bakery with old loading doors and a winch opening out onto the street. We all painted the bare brick walls white, put down a wooden floor and installed a sink unit. We were open for business!
What skills do you need?
Drive, determination and a real love for the job as it continues to he hard work and long hours..Good organizational skills are a must and the ability to juggle the proverbial balls as you have so many different projects going on at the same time. Plus the industry is really sociable so you definitely need to be chatty and up for networking
Did you leave a steady job to set up – if so how did that feel?
I had been employed all of my working life when I set up my first agency. I walked away from being a shareholding board director but to be honest the decision was easy..It sounds trite but it felt right. When I resigned, a weight lifted off my shoulders. It was flattering that my MD tried to keep me but I knew the leap of faith I was making was right for me.
I remember wanting life on my terms and needing to break out of the work bubble I was in – 24/7, no social life, up at 5am writing presentations and a suspected ulcer. Things were bad..
What I couldn’t really have anticipated was the rollercoaster ride I was embarking upon as Ii that first 12 months I set up the business, moved into a new house that needed total renovation and had my first child..
Life was madness and joyous at the same time!
Did you need finance to start?
We did a business plan and went to see the bank manager he helped us raise £20k to set up. the main costs were the office rent, office equipment, setting up the website and creating a corporate identity and advertising materials. We had paid in back to ourselves within the first year.
How do you drive new business?
Get on the phone, schmooze and go to see people.. set aside a set amount of your day/week to do this. Be disciplined. These days social media is really important too so LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook help get the message out there..
What advice would you give other working mums who want to set up?
This is a tough question but I truly believe if you have a passion, a good business plan and the drive to see it through – go for it..
I made sure that when I set up initially I minimized the risk. I insisted we had an existing agent on board as a partner, plus we had at least 4-6 artists that we recruited prior to set up so we were off and running..
What is an average day?
There is not an average day and that is why the motivation is still running through my veins. This morning I’m heading off to a photoshoot, then I have work schedules to juggle for many of my artists and I’m taking on a new stylist so need to go through images to put on my website and start planning for her – very exiting!
What is your favorite part of your job?
Being surrounded by people I admire and love working with.. Every day is fun, stressful, exhausting and fulfilling in equal measure
What is the worst part of your job?
Finances – Billing, VAT and tax returns – without a doubt!
What are your plans for the future?
More of the same I think – I’m addicted! But I want this blog to take off too.. I love doing it as it’s for me – and you hopefully- the rest of my world is about other people and sorting out their lives – its great to have a little jewel just for me!
any comments? Any questions? happy to answer!