This post is part of a series – Number 2
We asked successful businesswomen to share their experiences of starting a business. We looked to interview women of different ages, backgrounds and business sectors, asking them to share the good and the bad. Here’s what they told us:
Elizabeth Kuhnke – www.kuhnkecommunication.net
Why did you start your business and what age were you?
Knew I couldn’t work for anyone else – too old to dance to someone else’s tune! I wanted the freedom to work for myself and to create something that I was responsible for. I like the sense of ownership. How old? Let’s just say 40+!
What was the most important piece of advice you were given and why?
Watch out for the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves. While I love what I do and if I could afford to I’d probably not charge for my services, business doesn’t run that way. If you take your eye off the balance sheet you’ll find yourself without the funds to maintain your business and keep doing what you love. Money matters.
What do you wish you’d known from day one?
That I don’t have to do everything myself. Do what you’re good at and hire the best people you can find to fill in where you’re not so good. Then you’re free to do what you enjoy and are good at even better!
With hindsight, what would you do differently?
See response to above question and also, follow through on opportunities. Met some really interesting people who were keen to know more about what I do – then I failed to pick up the phone to make the next appointment. Sometimes I acted like making a good impression and generating interest was enough. Without following through, you have no business.
What’s the best part of running your own business?
Working whenever I want and dressed in whatever kit I choose. Because my office is away from the house yet still on the property I’m able to come and go as I please. I’m in the office most mornings at 5 am in my dressing gown with Henry, my devoted dog, in his basket under my desk. Peaceful with no disturbances. In addition, I like the feeling of responsibility – knowing that my team depend on me for their salaries and my clients turn to me for their personal development fulfils my needs around fulfilling my potential and making a difference in the lives of others.
Any additional comments? If you want to run your own business, do it. Life’s short and you don’t want to bow out wishing you had given it a go. If you want something badly enough and are willing to work hard for it, then nothing, and no one, can stand in your way. Your only block to success is yourself. Believe in yourself. And have fun. If it’s not fun, what’s the point??!
Interviewed by Tracey Jefferies for Networking Women. Tracey runs her own successful marketing and PR consultancy. She also writes on a regular basis for various publications and reviews the newspapers on BBC Radio Oxford. www.traceyjefferies.co.uk
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