Debbie Atkins, like so many mums in business, set up her own company after the birth of her daughter in 2008. She loves the freedom of running her own business and has a very strong idea of where she wants it to go.
What inspired you to start your own business?
Whilst employed I was looking for a new challenge in my career and working for a firm dominated by male directors, I felt my choice to start a family would hinder any further progressions for a long time to come. I felt that the best chance would be to run my own business. It’s a scary thought to leave a well paid job and then have to find countless clients to be able to generate an income which pays the mortgage! … but I was focused, determined and optimistic and with the arrival of my daughter and a new chapter in my life it seemed the perfect time!
What has been your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge was the thought of trying to ‘sell myself’ in order to gain new clients. I had found networking in the past an awkward experience and then I came across ‘Mums The Boss’ meetings, these were a very different experience. Rather than full on networking it was a welcome relief to go along and meet like minded ladies, to share our experiences and achievements. Just by being myself and talking to people I have already made some great contacts and even several new clients.
What have you learnt about yourself since you became self-employed?
Working from home has so many advantages but there are also one or two distractions! I often find myself cleaning or doing a load of washing instead of working. I never thought I would start my own business from scratch. I had seen ex-male colleagues do it and often thought wow that would be so good but never had the guts to do it. Until one day, just over two years ago and I am not looking back! It’s been the best thing I could have done.
What has been the best thing about being your own boss?
Being the boss! Not having to answer to anyone or feel guilty taking time off, and avoiding the office politics. I love the fact that my achievements are all my own and one day soon I WILL progress my business to the level where I can have my own premises on the local High Street. I am driving this business wherever I decide to take it!
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring ‘mumpreneur’ what would it be?
Be positive – you CAN do it. From my own personal experience the best way to progress your business is by networking. Of course mums networking’ is the best, but also just spreading the word to family, friends, neighbours and acquaintances. Often people don’t realise what you do or that you are looking for work – this has worked wonders for my business.