Aged 23 I set up in business for the first time. Two years later, I’m still going strong! Read my story here.
Like many businesses I come to work with, there’s a very personal story behind Rose Writes. But at first, I wasn’t able to share it with anyone. The company was born in a time of adversity (I tend to find that all the best things come from bad situations!) and my morale and bank balance were at an all-time low. Difficulties with my ex-employers meant it was impossible to be honest with anyone about how the business was conceived, and why. Then I was so busy concentrating on growing, taking on new clients and learning along the way that I didn’t have time to reflect upon what I was doing, or how far I’d come.
So on my second anniversary I thought it’d be great to share my story with you, and explain why I do what I do – and why I love being Rose Writes. One of the best things about my job is discovering the personal stories and motivations behind businesses (find more on the theme of my competition below) – so as the company turns two I felt it would be fitting to share my own. I’m so pleased to be in this position and celebrating this milestone – and I’m grateful. To me it almost feels like fate, or karma. Because although this was always a dream of mine, I actually started the business out of necessity.
When I set up Rose Writes, I literally had nothing. I’d had a very bad experience with my previous employer – an experience that ended in legal action against them, the loss of my job and a complete lack of references or recommendations I could move on to a new position with. I was proud of the career I’d built at that stage – I was doing well for my age and I’d worked really hard. Yet naturally with legal action rumbling on and no way to explain to prospective employers what had happened to me or why I had no reference to my name, I struggled to secure a job. I’d often get to the interview stage, but as soon as they knew my position I became instantly less attractive as a potential employee.
So really it was out of desperation that one night I decided to try a little freelancing and see how I got on. My last month’s salary hadn’t materialised and that wouldn’t likely be resolved until my solicitor progressed my case. I needed cash quickly – but more than anything I just wanted to crack on with my life and rebuild my career. My mental and physical health had massively deteriorated and remained fragile as a result of my experience – but the prospect of earning my own money and having something to distract me from the legal issues gave me hope. I also threw myself into building Tough Cookie, my non-profit organisation raising awareness for people with eating disorders and body dysmorphia, and writing books on the subject to help others.
I even started initially as a sole trader, because I wasn’t really sure how it would go. I had zero experience of setting up in business, and no clients.
For me, it wasn’t serious at that stage. It was a stop gap – even though in the back of my mind I hoped it would develop into more than that. I quickly created a brand, set up a Facebook page and invited my friends to like it. Within a day or so an acquaintance from a previous role got in touch and asked me to do some email marketing for them. Then a past client of my ex-employer also reached out and asked if I could take care of their marketing and social media management. It was perfect. I joined an agency to supplement the two regular clients and worked day and night for just £4 a blog to make up a small wage each month.
A month or so later during a meeting with my solicitor he complimented me on a piece I’d written to support my case. I told him what I did and also explained that I was freelancing as a sole trader, for the purposes of my schedule of loss. Straight away he told me he’d like to invite me to the networking group he was part of. And from there, the business grew and grew. I was quickly unable to take on any more agency work – now I had clients of my own to take care of!
I’m doggedly determined – it’s one of my most prominent personality traits. And once the business gained momentum I knew I could never go back to working for anyone else. In my heart of hearts, I couldn’t stand the thought of having my destiny, career and reputation in the hands of someone else – someone who could be willing to throw it all away for the sake of profits, or because they couldn’t care less about a person’s future goals and past achievements. People talk about ‘stability’ when they refer to employment, and describe ‘taking the plunge’ when they discuss starting up in business. But for me, being my own boss means stability – and so much more.
Now I can travel and see the world – fulfil my dream to work anywhere and have a real sense of achievement and pride for what I do. I get to meet so many people and learn about so many different types of businesses, products, services and markets. I’m able to manage and even actively use my anxiety and perfectionism in a positive way. Although running the business can be stressful and I never take a day off, I’m much happier and healthier than I was working the 9-5 for someone else.
Since then, the business has just gone from strength to strength. I feel lucky – and I am – but I also know that I have worked hard, and that is why Rose Writes is turning two this year. The majority of my business comes from word of mouth referrals and my reputation for producing high quality work – something I am incredibly proud of.
I’m so proud to be sharing the next chapter of Rose Writes’ journey with you – and as such I decided to celebrate my two-year anniversary with a competition!
To mark the business’ second birthday I’m running a competition that is open to anyone – even current clients! Simply share your story or ‘secret to success’ with me for the chance to win a free blog. You can copy and paste a link to your ‘About’ page on website, or send a personal anecdote. How you share your story is up to you – you can find me and submit your entry on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or good old-fashioned email. Just be sure to include your email address or alternative contact details so that I can notify you if you’re the winner. I’ll pick from the entries at random on the 30th December – so you have a whole month to enter yourself and invite others to have a go too, if you like.
If you enjoyed this blog and would like to find out more about my services, take a look at my About page here.
Graphics by Rose Writes – images courtesy of Freepix.com.