Until a year ago Sarah was a childminder and now she runs her own plumbing business. Sarah had already run her own business in her thirties, and always loved the flexibility and the immense sense of achievement being self-employed gave her. Plumbing did not originally press her buttons, but her husband’s passion for the trade started Sarah thinking why couldn’t she combine his skill as a plumber and heating engineer with her ability to run a business? She now has an increasingly a practical role – especially in putting together bathroom and kitchen projects.
What inspired you to start your own business?
To be honest I am no spring chicken, and as the years tick by I look back with regret that I swapped my self employed life with The Body Shop (regional manager for The Body Shop at Home when it first started and built up a business with 250 women in my team – that takes a lot of motivation, organisation and goal setting!) for an employed one, to give me security after a number of years with roller-coaster seasonal income and a family to support. They were however the best of times. I was lucky to work with the greatest woman entrepreneur Anita Roddick and her stories were a constant inspiration.
Also as I get older I am looking to build a legacy for my children, to ensure they have a secure start in life – and that means a dedication to working long hours and building a business which is recession-proof and well respected.
What have you learnt about yourself since you became self-employed?
I’ve learnt that you can’t live with regrets, that you really do have to seize the moment, because the moment is fleeting.
What has been your biggest challenge?
1. The strange looks I get when I walk into a plumbers merchants and the other plumbers think I know diddly squat about ‘ their trade’,
2. avoiding watching Poirot repeats with a cup of coffee in the afternoon instead of working and
3. making difficult choices such as giving up my beloved minded children in order to pursue my dreams
What has been the best thing about being your own boss?
The bond between my husband and myself has strengthened, we talk about plumbing A LOT, perhaps too much! I love waking up in the morning and determining my own day, how much I will work and being able to do the school run most days. Being able to be my own boss but also still being MUM!
If you could give one piece of advice to someone with a ‘dream’ an aspiring ‘mumpreneur’ what would it be?
Have a plan – have a vision of what your end goal is. Is it a car or a certain income. Then work backwards, and research/plan how you are going to get there. But my most important advice would be …only spend what you have. Don’t build your business on credit, at some point you have to pay it back and that may mean you giving someone else control of your business.
I’ve had a scrap cut out of a magazine , covered in cellotape, for about 15 years now and I keep it in my purse. “It is Oprah’s 10 commandments for your success:
• Don’t live to please others
• Don’t depend on externals to get ahead – look inside
• Strive for compassion and harmony in work and life
• Avoid any backstabbers
• Be nice, not catty
• Get rid of your addictions
• Surround yourself with people as good as you are
• Don’t make money your sole aim – have spirit too
• Never give your power to another person
• Don’t give up – continue the climb!”