That seems to be a common question on the various threads so I thought I'd start a thread all about just that!
I am an online media specialist. My training is in graphic arts and digital layout and I've expanded from there.
I actually received my degree (What's called an Associates degree in the US, where I earned it. Not sure if there is a UK equivalent. Maybe a qualification?) over 20 years ago, on top of a BA in Theatre Lighting Design. And then didn't use it except here and there and to keep my hand in for a good chunk of those 20 years. I was in California at the time and on every street corner there was an other GD with a sign 'Will design for food.'
So I became an admin assist to pay the bills. And kept doing that until I worked my way up to Personal Assistant to Vice Presidents and CEOs.
Then I moved to Belfast and was hired as PA to the CEO and Chairman of a very small company. Who need web and graphics help as well. So I wore both hats.
Then I left to have my son. And knew I didn't want to go back to work full time. So I sent a proposal to my boss suggesting they bring me back part time and flex time, as their web person.
He counter offered with "Why don't you resign, start your own business, and we'll hire you."
And I said "GULP! Okay!"
And Designed To A Tee (Named by a fellow MNetter, BTW) was born. NOTE: Website needs a huge update. The Web Designer has not time to update her own site!!!
Finished my second year in business this past April. I have several long term clients and have had one or two one offs for logos and such. Thanks to nearly no overhead (I work from home) I made a profit, albeit a tiny one, my first year.
So my story is unique in that I already had the training. But that doesn't mean someone else can't be success by retraining right now!
I didn't have training, or even any business experience but I started my business when I had an idea for a new product to help parents.
I was visiting friends with a new born who had the sort of conversation that I remembered from when dd was born- Hes crying, I think hes hungry Well, when did you feed him? I think it was when Bargain Hunt was starting No, that was yesterday, today you were feeding him when I popped out to the shop You havent been to the shop today
I joked she could use a parking disc to set the time to note whenever he had a feed-It just struck me that this seemed a useful idea, so I spent a couple of months designing, researching and sourcing suppliers. I then took a really really deep breath, applied for a design patent, and commissioned the first print run of Baby Feed Wheels. A few years down the line, I'm still running my business, Chiggs , and have a couple of other products too that I supply to lots of other businesses, like card shops, gift shops, nappy cake makers etc
I shamelessly used my start-up story as a way of attracting publicity in the first few months!
I was made redundant - so decided to completely change direction. There were a series of steps leading up to it - I'd got to the final of a local cooking competition the previous year, I had met/fallen in love with my DP while teaching him to cook as a favour, and I had recently been on the Springboard programme sponsored by my employer! which included lots of navel gazing about what I wanted to do with my life, and I came to the conclusion I didn't want to do what I'd been doing anymore!
The local media loved it - photos of a former public sector employee, a victim of the austerity measures, starting out on my own in a totally different direction Not only did I get some direct bookings as a result of the publicity - it opened up a new market which has become a significant part of my business
That's brilliant, NotaDisneyMum, I've seen a few media requests for people who've set up new businesses after being made redundant-a sign of the times! There's a hashtag on twitter that's good to follow for these sort of requests #journorequest
I have always had a gift for stories, and a definite "pied piper effect" that draws DCs to tell me random stuff wherever I go. I had been working in a day nursery for years, becoming increasingly disillusioned by the increasing workload, decreasing respect, and stagnant pay level. One sleepless night I concluded that it was time to stop plodding away for pennies and time to start making a living doing what I really love. I handed my notice in and registered my web domain the very next day, and began my adventure as the Short Story Lady Now I spend my days as a storyteller and author of properly personalised and illustrated framed stories, and life has never been better.
I was looking to go back to work after nearly 10 years of shouting at careful nurturing of our kids.
I'm a physio, and the changes in the NHS meant my hope of getting a school hours/school term contract was met with laughter. Naice lafftir, but no chance!
So, I set up a visiting service for elderly people - which is the job I am trained to do, and am good at, and love...
...but, thanks to a thread on mumsnet on the entrepreneur board, and another one that made talk of the week (!) I realised it might be possible to combine my hobby of stand up comedy with physio and teach women stuff about their pelvic floor in a way that might be more effective than the traditional "here, have a leaflet" way.
So, gusset grippersstarted as a trial, but has gotten a lot of interest, and the parties I've done have been really positive.
I'm doing a Giant Gusset Grip on Saturday night as a fundraiser, but really, it's to get some feedback and see whether it's worth putting some money into. I'm hoping to run it as a show in the Edinburgh Fringe in the summer.
If I could make my living from talking about fannies, I'd be very happy. Stopping women from wetting themselves would be an added bonus.
My story: I was a producer/director/series producer for TV working as a freelancer until my DD arrived. Mostly i made science programmes as i was a scientist (to phd level) prior to that. Non family friendly working hours put me off wanting to go back to TV, so I set up my own company specialising in science communication, public engagement and film production. www.themultimediarefinery.com We never had a "hard launch" it kind of evolved from an idea, to a two person thing, to needing an office, through a year of me working PT back in telly to support it to now being a "3 Of us plus freelancers" company. Initially my husband helped support me as I was still at the tail end of mat leave but we haven't had (or sought) formal investment. The last year was hard hard work and financially, it still feels precarious but I guess that is start up territory.
Marking my place here. WIll be leaving my good, pensionable (dull as ditchwater but pays well) job at Christmas through redundancy and am planning to contract as a mediator and counsellor and coach so I will be hoovering uo your stories and ideas! You're an inspiration Mums!
I myself started a business venture last year after a life changing personal event made me reevaluate my life, and I decided to pursue a hobby with the hope that it could generate some income.
After a slow but promising start, I have stopped progressing the business and have had to stop working on it after not even earning back my startup costs! So very disappointed, and still hopeful that I may be able to pick it up again in years to come. It was mainly childcare issues which have made me feel forced into stopping, that age old problem of ad hoc childcare and how to combine sporadic work with small children! DH and I just can not think of a way round it at present so my business will have to go on the back burner.
It's very inspiring reading about all your stories though!