In the second of my series interviewing female entrepreneurs who’ve taken that big step of starting their own business, I spoke to Ellie, Director of http://www.exhibitionplinths.co.uk. Ellie also has a blog at http://www.ellieentrepreneur.com talking about her journey to self-employment. You can also find Ellie on twitter as @EllieExhibition, and she has a list on there (inspiration) outlining the seminars and workshops she attends.
Ellie. What inspired you to start your own business?
What made me decide to start my own business was, in total honesty, the fact that I could not cope with a 9-5 job! After over 30 jobs between the age of 20 and 24 (!) I felt the strong urge to be able to create my own path rather than living on someone else’s. My background is Dentistry and there was something about the job that just never sat with me straight. A very difficult concept to put into words but I’m sure many others unhappy at work will feel the same.
What do you think has been your biggest breakthrough so far?
My key breakthrough in business was getting Rachel Elnaugh on board as a business mentor. I realise that all the business and marketing advice in the whole world will not work on your business if you are not in the right mindset for success. I expanded my mindset greatly with Rachel and also by attending the Millionaire Mind Intensive Seminar where I was able to – over 3 days – expand my mindset and energy to the place it needed to be. From small thinking to big thinking! It’s really key (I find) to learn from someone else who has done it already, because you can sail past most of the pitfalls because they have already fallen in them often not once, but many times before.
What advice would you give to other aspiring female entrepreneurs?
I would advise you to use social media and network, network, network. The networking hours on twitter are great for making valuable contacts and friends! Remember your customer is king or in my case probably Queen! I pride myself in giving an outstanding service, working with my customers to achieve the results they want. Nothing is too big an ask. Be positive – you need to believe that you are the best in your industry. If you don’t believe it no one else will!
The advice I would give to other women would be: firstly, to believe in yourself and try to steer away from an either/or mindset. We tend to think we can either have our own business, or go to work and earn money. We can either have a business, or a happy marriage. I’d advise getting used to thinking that you can have it all! For those who say you can’t have your cake and eat it, I truly believe you absolutely can both have your cake, eat it and most of all enjoy it.