THE CAREER CHANGERS

Meet the local people who ditched their day  jobs to pursue their passions…

 

LAURA PARKER runs Freckles and Fire – a business hosting craft workshops, selling products and celebrating all things creative. Previously she worked in brand marketing, and took the plunge to start her new business three years ago.

When did you decide you wanted to change careers, and what made you decide?

As with so many parents out there, the decision to shift from the career path was driven by the arrival of our second bundle of mischief. Suddenly childcare, commute, logistics and all the other stresses that come with being an ‘employed’ working parent just seemed too much. I gave up work but knew pretty early on that I needed, and wanted, something else to fill that gap. Having your own business certainly isn’t the easy road though and it has taken so much family time, energy and strength to keep the business going!

What steps did you have to take to set up your business? Did you face any challenges?

Freckles started with just a little nugget, I wanted to create a space and place where people could come, take a little bit of time out and immerse themselves in some creative pampering. It’s evolved so much since then. I’ve learnt so much along the way; I don’t really believe in mistakes – as long as you always take something from an experience then it can only be a learning curve.
I think the biggest challenge, and the one that I still face today, is presence. Having somewhere that keeps you front of mind, for both my workshop and retail side of the business, is incredibly hard in Tunbridge Wells! I continue to work on this challenge and fingers crossed one day may have somewhere to call Freckles home!

What’s the best thing about your job now?

There are quite a few things I utterly adore about Freckles; I love the people I meet, watching little ones and big ones have a bit of down-time and create something that they are always pretty darn proud of, but without a doubt the BEST thing is working with the kids on my crochet classes. Something really magical happens when various ages, backgrounds and experiences come together – the chat is infectious, the stories and tales are hilarious and the connection that develops is really rather lovely.

What tips would you give to someone wanting to pursue their passion and turn it in to a job?

The best advice I was once given was to start up the business on someone else’s time – so if you need the regularity of income try and shift down to three or four working days and then use the other day/s to plan the business.
The worst advice I was once given was when I was told to ‘dull the passion down a little’. I have to say that my advice now would be completely the opposite. Keep the passion alive, if you feel it fading and the job becomes more of a burden then take some time out, go back to the start and relight the fire. Then, if the fire is still there, pick back up again and set your trail alight!

www.frecklesandfire.co.uk

DAVID BARRETT is the director of All About Home Care – an independent home care company. Prior to changing careers three-and-a-half years ago, he worked for over 25 years as a management consultant.

When did you decide you wanted to do something else, and what made you decide?

As I entered my fifties, I reflected on how I should spend the last 10 to 15 years of my career. I could continue advising others, but had a yearning to create a more tangible legacy. Having enjoyed a stint as managing director of a troubled Dutch company, I considered ‘doing my own thing’.
I had worked together with a friend for over a decade from the early 1990s. We kept saying we should work together again and looked at a several opportunities associated with providing care and support for the elderly and vulnerable. Eventually we decided to provide care for people in their own homes in the Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge and Sevenoaks areas. All About Home Care was born.

What steps did you have to take to set up your business? Did you face any challenges?

We had other commitments to sort out before starting in earnest; we used this time for detailed research and planning. We obtained regional growth funding from KCC. Finally we recruited our registered care manager and registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), our regulator.

What’s the best thing about your job now?

I am so proud of the special care and support our team of wonderful carers provide every day, making a real difference to our clients’ lives. The CQC recognised this when they inspected us earlier this year and rated the service ‘outstanding’ – we are the only home care company in West Kent rated ‘outstanding’ on three of the five fundamental standards.

What tips would you give to someone wanting to pursue their passion and turn it in to a job?

Pursuing your passion arms you with determination to overcome inevitable challenges. But be realistic too; do the research, have a plan, and review it regularly. Finally, see if you can find co-conspirator(s); two minds are better than one (and three better than two).

www.allabouthomecare.co.uk

NATALIE FARRELL is a Health and Wellbeing coach, NLP Psychology Practitioner, Hypnotherapist, Yoga teacher and founder of Yummy Yoga Girl, who was formerly a singer and vocal coach.

When did you decide you wanted to do something else, and what made you decide?

In 2014 curiosity was making me think bigger, personally and professionally. My passion was helping people live healthier lives and be the very best versions of themselves and I knew I wanted to do this globally.

What steps did you have to take to set up your business? Did you face any challenges?

I defined my vision and surrounded myself with experts like fashion designer Sue Mee Maudsley, who worked with me to make my range of activewear clothing a reality. My challenges were mostly technological, but I taught myself and went on training courses. This remains ongoing, but I love to learn, constantly developing my skills and growing as an entrepreneur.

What’s the best thing about your job now?

My vision is a reality. I am helping people address the voices in their heads and make positive changes benefiting their health and wellbeing. I am utilising existing creative and practical skills and learning every day. I have more freedom, versatility and, yes, I still have challenges, but they are exciting.

What tips would you give to someone wanting to pursue their passion and turn it in to a job?

• Ask for help and enjoy the learning process
• Look after and be kind to yourself
• Reassess frequently and question your answer, not your question
• Be brave enough to make changes because this is when
the development happens
• Remember, it’s more than a dream. It is a devotion to who you are and the belief that you can achieve more than you can dream.

www.yummyyogagirl.com

After 30 years as an insurance broker, CHRIS SCOBLE turned his love of travel into his day job.

When did you decide you wanted to do something else, and what made you decide?

I have always harboured an ambition to own my own business, and recent life events pushed me to think deeper about life. My mum actually won the lottery from the grave so to speak and that gave me the push to go for it as it paid for my set up costs. My sister and I found out two weeks after she passed away that we had won 14K, and I thought life’s too short not to follow the dream.

What steps did you have to take to set up your business? Did you face any challenges?

I felt that I would need support and only had a limited amount of capital therefore franchise seemed the logical route. Not Just Travel are a fantastic company and formed by people that are very likeable, passionate and supportive. I spoke to a number of travel related franchises and loved what NJT had to say to me. My challenges are that like all start-ups it takes time to build a client base and gain people’s trust, but I am pleased with how it is going and have had some fantastic feedback. I also have my six year boy Alfie and as a single dad it’s very busy to say the least!

How long have you been in your new career?

In April 2017 I underwent my initial training with Not Just Travel – strangely as I love travel I feel like I have been in the industry for my whole life.

What’s the best thing about your job now?

I have my own company Go Scoble within my franchise and I love that I get to meet people who are always smiling whether it be a supplier or a customer booking a trip. I have continual training every week which I love; you never stop learning.

What tips would you give to someone wanting to pursue their passion and turn it in to a job?

Just think about what life is about and go for it. Research your market/product and costs, but don’t think negatively because
no-one did anything with a negative mindset.

ESTELLE LANGRIDGE is one half of local party planners Dilly + Diti, a huge change from her previous role in financial institutions.

When did you decide you wanted to do something else, and what made you decide?

It was a huge decision to make as I loved working, life was hectic but it worked for us. Then little man number three came along, we moved out of London, our eldest started school and suddenly hectic wasn’t as easy to manage. We spent many hours discussing who would step away from their career and we decided it made sense for it to be me. That was two years ago.

What’s the best thing about your job now?

Flexibility. Without question, I work even longer hours than I did previously (if that is indeed possible!) but the hours fit around the family.  I can be at drop off/pick up, help with homework, volunteer for school trips (haven’t quite got around to that one yet!), and spend time with the boys. Having the autonomy to manage your work/life balance is really empowering.

What tips would you give to someone wanting to pursue their passion and turn it in to a job?

• Be prepared for life to get harder rather than easier… having your own business is an emotional rollercoaster. You eat, breathe, sleep work and just can’t forget about it when you leave the offi ce.
It is without doubt worth it though, just be prepared for this bit!
• Ensure you have support around you from loved ones/friends and they understand what you’re about to embark on. For example, having someone you can call on who will pick up the kids from school/nursery so you can go to a meeting is invaluable.
• Talk to friends/people you follow on social media/contacts who have been in a similar situation. Their beads of wisdom are invaluable and you’ll be pleasantly surprised how many are happy to help.
• Work out your finances. Not having a regular income is a shock to the system!
• Go for it!

www.dillyandditi.co.uk

AUDREY WILLIAMS, the founder of www.theenglishbeagle.com previously worked in product development before starting her new company in 2017.

When did you decide you wanted to do something else, and what made you decide?

During the last 18 months or so at my last position I could see that the company was heading in one direction and I wanted to go in another. It was at this point that I knew I had to take the leap of faith and follow my dream and support British manufacturers.

What steps did you have to take to set up your business? Did you face any challenges?

Before I took the plunge and set out a business plan, I was able to talk through my idea with a few people I knew within the industry, all who gave me sound advice on what to look out for and do. I had expected negative feedback, yet all were very supportive.
I was fortunate to know what I was getting in to with regards to product sourcing, pricing etc, but it was the areas I knew very little about that I found challenging.
Social media for one was a whole new world to me. Branding is key and I was fortunate enough to find a wonderful branding company who were able to take my dream and put it on paper. I also acquired the services of a business solicitor who was able to talk me through various legal aspects I needed to know. There are challenges every day and it is just how you deal with them, learn from them and move forward.

What’s the best thing about your job now?

Although I feel far busier now than when I was employed full time, I am able to work around school hours and be a mum to my daughter.

What tips would you give to someone wanting to pursue their passion and turn it in to a job?
Don’t give up!

www.theenglishbeagle.com