2020. Amongst all the negatives, it’s been dubbed The Year of The Side Hustle. Women in Business is nothing new, but this year there’s definitely been a boom of business start-ups that has been impossible to miss.
Social Media is suddenly full of women with kids, day jobs, and hectic schedules who’ve turned into Business Women that would put Oprah Winfrey to shame, or aesthetically beautiful Insta grids that would make Molly Mae quake in her Pretty Little Thing limited edition jumpsuit.
Whether you’re setting out to achieve a lifetime dream, a way of keeping busy and fighting off the demons of boredom and/ or anxiety, or the main income desperately needed to pay the bills, the rise of small businesses and MLM (Multi Level Marketing) ventures is a beacon of inspiration in a pretty gloomy year.
Women who have been salaried worker bees for their entire life are turning their hand towards learning new skills, pushing themselves out of their comfort zone, and proving that when the going gets tough, the tough really do get going.
I’ve been speaking to some of these amazing women- some to whom were already veterans of being their own boss when Big Ben chimed in this Annus Horribilis, and some who have made the leap during these tricky times.
KAMILA J PHOTOGRAPHY
Kamila is a professional photographer who established her business Kamila J Photography in 2018. If you live in Newport or the surrounding areas, you’ve probably heard of Kamila, her Women of Newport project, or seen her amazing work at some point.
What do you love most about your job? Meeting new people, being independent and being able to be creative. Being my own boss is pretty cool 😊
How important is social media to your business? Very! If not crucial – meeting new people, spreading word about my work, getting new clients
What inspired you to start your own business? Always loved photography. I was on maternity leave with my daughter and my priorities changed. Didn’t want to do the same job anymore. Also wanted to feel like I’m doing something for myself and feeling fulfilled
What have you learned about yourself since going it alone? That I actually can do more than I was I imagined. Didn’t know my full potential. Its very rewarding. I also realised than I’m more people. Learned about my strengths and weaknesses
Is there anything you wish you knew when you started out? To go more simple at the start. I wanted to do it all and tried to do all kind of photography. One step at the time. Also, to be more confident when approaching new customers
What advice would you give to anyone starting their own business? If you really want to do it go for it. As long as you will promise yourself to commit. Because its a big commitment and if you won’t work hard, it will be harder. Also, be papered for some failure. But failing once in a while is good, treat it as a very important lesson. And it will make you stronger and bolder.
CASA DE CRAFTS
Grace is the owner of Grace’s Casa De Crafts, and at thirteen years old is our youngest feature. While I know most of the women featured here today personally, I will admit some bias here as she is my eldest daughter, child number two of my four. Grace makes wish bracelets and jewellery cards which she sells through her Etsy store, social media, and local gift shops.
What inspired you to start your own business? I’ve always been interested in designing, and I’ve always loved jewellery. My mum’s best friend has a successful jewellery business, and I thought that it was something I would like to try my hand at.
What do you love most about your job? I love making new designs and trying out new products. It feels great to make something from scratch and know that it’ll bring a smile to someone’s face when they receive it in the post.
How important is social media to your business? I’ve only just started my business in the last few weeks, but social media has been really useful in getting the word out about my products.
What advice would you give to anyone starting their own business? It’s all very new to me, and I’m still learning, but I don’t think anyone will regret giving it a go!
Lilly is the owner of Lilly Labels making personalised products and labels for gifts, businesses, and home.
What inspired you to start your own business? I started the business as a distraction during lockdown. I love interior design and adding little personal touches to my own home. To be honest, I was dying to buy a label machine for myself, and the business helped me justify the cost!
What do you love most about your job? I love making things look beautiful. I find it impossible to say no when somebody wants me to create a personalised cake topper, or bespoke decorations for their home, business or celebration.
How important is social media to your business? All my sales and contacts are through social media. I don’t have a website as this is just a part time interest to me, so social media is my only way of reaching new and old customers alike.
Rebecca is the owner of B Cosmetics. At just 25 years old she has been self-employed for six years starting out as a Nail Technician before she launched her own range of cruelty free cosmetics in June 2019.
What do you love most about your job? I fully enjoy working for myself and developing my very own products from scratch. The thing I love most about B. Cosmetics is seeing customers use my products and love the results they get from them. I’ve always had such amazingly positive feedback and encouragement from customers who are always looking forward to the next product launch.
How important is social media to your business? Social media is really important to my business. Social media is like the modern form of ‘word of mouth’ and the way customers can instantly share their feedback via messages or sharing their orders enables my business to reach potential future customers.
What inspired you to start your own business? I’ve always known from an early age what it was that I wanted to do and as time went on I was able to firm up my plans until I got to the point where I could launch B. Cosmetics.
What have you learned about yourself since going it alone? I like being in control of my own destiny and I am really determined to reach my goals.
Is there anything you wish you knew when you started out? The one thing I wish I knew before I started was how rewarding and fulfilling running your own business is.
What advice would you give to anyone starting their own business? If you have an idea and passion for that idea, don’t wait. Just go for it and put your all into making it a success. Passion and belief are crucial because it will be a 24/7 journey.
SCENT FROM ABOVE
Leanne launched Scents from Above in June 2020 selling FM fragrances. Unlike some MLM businesses, it costs nothing to get started as a distributor and Leanne is happy to talk to anyone who would like to start out too. Just get in touch via her page!
My name is Leanne. I’m 36 years old and a qualified hairdresser. I’m married to my wonderful husband Kurt and we have 1 child together who is almost 12. I sell mostly fragrances but I also have access to body and face care cosmetics, makeup, household cleaning products, coffees, teas and food supplements.
What do you love most about your job? I absolutely love the products so it makes it easy to enjoy selling them! I purchased a bottle of FM18, that was it I was hooked!
How important is social media to your business? Social media has been very important to my business to advertise and get myself out there in order to make sales.
What inspired you to start your own business? I watched my upline grow within her business which inspired me to start my own. My only regret is I wish I had started sooner.
LASER BY LISA TATTOO REMOVAL
Lisa is registered with the HIW as an Independent hospital and she launched Laser by Lisa Tattoo Removal in April 2020. Lisa’s aim is to remove unwanted tattoos. After completing her Laser technique and machine training, she launched her business during Lockdown.
What do you love most about your job? I love meeting, chatting, and helping clients remove their unwanted tattoos, the ones people had when they were younger or drunk and regret. Every client and tattoo is different and has its own story so the job is really interesting, more of a hobby than a job.
How important is social media to your business? Social media is how I get the word out that there is a Tattoo removal clinic in Cwmbran, also my way of reaching people from outside my friendship group.
What inspired you to start your own business? I had a Laser treatment to treat ache and was amazed by the results. Lasers can be seen as scary, but the results are amazing. Not being a beauty girl or having a beauty background I wanted to do something a bit out there and looked into what other treatments Lasers could offer. My partner had had removal of his hand tattoos a few years previously, so decided to go on a course and learn some more about it. Ifell in love with it and wanted to keep learning more.
Have you learned anything about yourself since going it alone? I have learnt that if you want to do something new to take the chance. You can always learn new skills and achieving is rewarding.
What’s the one thing you wish you knew when you started out? I wish I knew how challenging it can be starting a business that not many people understand or know about. All businesses are different, and I am not one for a hard sell. I give a personal experience and only offer my services to clients that I think I can meet their expectations.
What would your advice be to anyone thinking of starting their own business? I would advise people to go for it, listen to your heart and take the challenge. Getting your first customer feedback is the best feeling ever.
Becks became a Bodyshop at Home Consultant in mid-June during Lockdown.
I’m 37 and happily married. I’ve been with my husband for 8 and a half years, married 3 years in November. By day I am a Finance Manager for a training company based in Cardiff. I’ve worked in finance since the age of 19 and absolutely love it. I love my current role. Work for a fantastic company and work alongside the best people! My family and friends mean the absolute world to me. Spending time with them is a huge passion of mine so in the current climate of a pandemic, it’s been tough!
What do you love most about your job? I became a Bodyshop at Home Consultant mid June. When the UK went into lockdown, I was lucky enough to be able to work from home but I found I was working more and more and needed something to do. There is only do much cleaning you can do! So, a friend asked me if I fancied giving the Bodyshop a go, and the rest as they say is history! So sales is not something I really do. Neither is getting my face on social media to demonstrate products. I grew up being bullied and even though that definitely doesn’t happen now I’d be lying if I said that didn’t feature in my thoughts at the start of this journey. Would people laugh? Would I be mocked? But, I actually really love showing the products on my Facebook page to the amazing followers I have. I love the community that my group has grown into and the new friendships I have made, and old ones re-established.
How important is social media to your business? Social media is hugely popular. The only platform I have for my business is Facebook. I show all the products and demo’s via the page. Whilst I do hand deliver catalogues and get orders via text, Facebook is key for me to make this work.
What inspired you to start your own business? Honestly, I was bored. Sat in the house most of the day, an hour of an exercise and only being able to talk to friends via video or telephone was hard. There is only so much housework to do as well. I needed to do something. I’ve been a Body-Shopper since a teen and after buying of a school friend who then encouraged me to give it a go, I did!
What have you learned about yourself since going it alone? What have I learnt about myself? Wow that’s a toughie. Well I guess I have learnt that actually I’m quite good at this selling malarkey. And that I do have the confidence to put my face out on the page to showcase the products. I’ve learnt that I should be more confident and more support of myself. I guess I have do learnt to let the past go, leave the things that made me feel doubt about this in the past because a lot has changed since those school days. Its also reaffirmed that the network of people in my life are awesome. I knew that anyway but the support on this journey from them has been immense.
What’s the one thing you wish you knew when you started out? Wow another tough question. But I guess the answer is nothing. Odd I know. But this experience has blown my mind and I’m not sure I’d want to do anything differently. I’ve grown with the group.
What would your advice be to anyone thinking of starting their own business? Go for it! Bite the bullet and do it. I’ve most definitely learnt that life is far to short to wait. So, put your heart and soul into it and enjoy every minute of doing something you love! The hard work is worth it!
PEBBLE CRAFT AND HOME ART BY ELLIE & GEMMA
Gemma and her daughter Ellie began making their own pebble pictures and have set the business up very recently.
What inspired you to start your own business? The business I’ve set up is pebble pictures and home decorations. I set it up last month so still all very new to me. I was inspired to set it up because my daughter is looking for ways to earn her own money so we are doing this together, in time my daughter will hopefully do it herself. It’s nice to have a little venture together extra mother and daughter time.
How important is social media to your business? For the type of venture it is I think Social media is very important to our business because by people sharing our items or adding to our page, it helps to get a lot of people viewing our stuff.
What would your advice be to anyone thinking of starting their own business? My advice to anyone who is thinking of starting up a business is to just go for it, you have nothing to lose. Setting yourself ambitions will keep you thriving in life.
ZOE’S BLISSFUL BODY BUYS
I’m Zoe, 37, after 13 years in the RAF I had a total change of career and went into the IT recycling industry. I live with my partner Matt and our four kids and it’s always 100mph in our house.
What is your business and when did you set it up? I started selling body shop in June, so 4.5 months ago. I was on furlough and bored out of my mind.
What do you love most about your job? That I believe it in, I love what I’m selling. It also helps people, sometimes with just their eye lashes, sometimes when they’ve had cancer and are trying to regain confidence. It’s more rewarding than I ever thought it would be. It’s also brought friends back into my life as friends, not just social media acquaintances.
How important is social media to your business? Very important, but it doesn’t take away from the fact it’s not my main income, and if it gets too much, as much as I love it, it would have to go.
What inspired you to start your own business? Going mad in the house doing nothing, I don’t like cleaning that much! Plus my main job salary reduced and I needed the extra money.
Have you learned anything about yourself since going it alone? I’ve learned I need to do something I love. I was so so miserable in my last job.
What’s the one thing you wish you knew when you started out? I wish I’d done this sooner, I wish I’d believed it was as easy as it has been.
What would your advice be to anyone thinking of starting their own business? Stop waiting, get your ducks in a row and do it.
Louise Jones- Independent Scentsy Lead Consultant Newport
Hi! I’m Louise, I’m 34 and have 2 amazing children Coby and Rory. I’ve been with my husband for 17 years and although he drives me nuts, he’s so supportive of everything I do. I work part time in car insurance and have done so for 10 years.
What is your business and when did you set it up? I’m an independent Scentsy consultant and I absolutely love my side business. I was furloughed at the start of lockdown and was really struggling with my mental health. I decided that I needed something just for me to focus on other than just be “Mummy” 24/7. I started my own Scentsy business in May this year and I’m so glad I decided to to it.
What do you love most about your job? The flexibility and meeting new people. I love my part time job but I’ve always liked the thought of working for myself. With Scentsy I work it around my kids, part time job and it’s really grown my confidence that I’ve had the ability to run my own successful business. I’m also incredibly lucky that financially from my own business I can have the luxuries needed for my family, without having to worry!
How important is social media to your business? Hugely important. I do all my work on social media, I think it’s a fantastic platform to use and really wortks well when you are unable to do the normal things during lockdown. Without social media I definitely wouldn’t have had as much success.
What inspired you to start your own business? I’ve always wanted my own business but have always lacked confidence in myself. I always watch other people’s live videos with network marketing and I just knew I needed to try it before my confidence had gone completely. I used to be so nervous of group meetings etc but since starting my own business it’s really pushed me forward to get out of my comfort zone.
What’s the one thing you wish you knew when you started out? How well I would do and how busy I would be. I never expected my business to take off as well as it has. I’m so lucky!
What would your advice be to anyone thinking of starting their own business? Don’t hesitate to do it. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and believe YOU can do it.
The Little Cheesecake Company
Zeena is the talented baker behind The Little Cheesecake Company. She decided to make her passion her job after a successful career in banking. I can personally vouch for the deliciousness of her creations!
What is your business and when did you set it up? I set up The Little Cheesecake Company in 2019, a year after I took voluntary redundancy. I decided that I wanted to work from home and this time not pay thousands in nursery fees and use the skills I have to make money outside of most of it being taken up by private nurseries.
Have you learned anything about yourself since going it alone? Unfortunately not to go into business with family!
What’s the one thing you wish you knew when you started out? To never let anyone in on your plans or dreams, this will leave your vulnerable.
How important is social media to your business? Its hugely important, as its easy access for my followers and the best interaction for my customers.
What do you love most about your job? Making people smile and most importantly the people they gift! The icing on top is wowing my customers.
Thank you to everybody for taking the time to speak to me about your businesses. No matter how big or small the business, it takes bravery to make that initial leap, and put yourself out there. I think the one thing that really shines through is that it’s not just about increasing your bank balance, or your transferrable work skills, but about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and believing in yourself.
Good Luck to you all
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