This series is about understanding the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ of quitting a job and starting a business.
Before I left my corporate job, I was so in awe (and still am) of women who had taken the leap and set up their own business. I wanted to know how they came up with their idea and what gave them the courage to finally go for it.
This week’s interview is with the founder of a Digital Marketing Consultancy and co-founder of JSixQ!
If you love what you read, here are the other interviews in the series for you to peruse at your leisure!
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I run a digital marketing consultancy where I help companies with SEO, online advertising, email marketing, website development and social media.
I also started a company called JsixQ with a friend. We are building a polling/market research app with a twist.
I was CTO at a publishing firm in the City in my last full-time role. I dealt with everything digital and IT related; from website development to implementing software and integrating various software, to the IT infrastructure, and moving the company from in-house servers to the cloud. I even fixed the printers on occasion!
After a series of office jobs, I decided I didn’t want to work for others, but for myself. I’d been thinking about it for a while before taking the plunge.
I started my consultancy to earn money while I figured out what I really wanted to do. After a bit of trial and error with a few other ventures, I decided to focus on the JsixQ app idea.
For the most part, people were supportive but there were a few who had reservations. Hopefully, we’ll be able to prove them wrong!
I started saving money while I was working and also started helping other businesses in my spare time (for free) in order to gain experience in the start-up world and confidence in myself.
It sounds weird, but although I knew I was good at my job the idea of venturing out on my own and charge people for my time seemed scary. I wanted to prove to myself that if I could add value for free I could do it for a fee as well.
I had some savings, which came in very handy, but also had support from my family when I needed it. However, I would recommend saving double what you think you might need. Money has a habit of vanishing on nothing when you don’t have a regular income.
After I left my job, I took a Scrum Master and Product Owner course (project management qualifications) just to feel more confident in my ability and to have that “piece of paper”.
I guess the main worry was: “Will I be able to make enough money?”. I really tried to put it out of my mind, it’s no good being ruled by fear and sometimes you have to just go for it.
I always thought I could go back to permanent or contract jobs if I was really stuck, so I just focused on ways to put myself out there and find people I could help.
Starting JsixQ however, was easier as I wasn’t doing it on my own and already had the income from my consultancy to help.
Setting up the companies was easy, the accounting though… I tried to do it on my own, but company taxes, VAT, personal taxes, I couldn’t spend my time trying to learn all that and decided I was better off hiring an accountant! It’s a good lesson that sometimes you can’t do everything.
Hmm…where should I start? Joking aside, I must have made loads of mistakes! Setting up a business is a huge learning curve and you learn something new every day. It’s half the fun!
I took me around 6-7 months before I started earning enough money, but it felt like a lot longer!
At first, I was terrible at time management. I would wake up around 7-7:30am, get on my computer but stay in my pyjamas until 3-4pm, sometimes even later.
Things had to change, so I forced myself to become more disciplined, get up, have a shower and THEN get to work.
I work from home or from coffee shops with my business partner and I tend to divide my time by spending some days on my consultancy and some days on JsixQ.
I found it a lot easier to be disciplined with my time once I got really busy with work.
Yes. I try not to, but there are some things I don’t like doing so I put them off for as long as I can, then, when I know there is a deadline looming I click into gear.
I think procrastination is fine on occasion as long as you don’t beat yourself up or feel guilty; you can’t be switched on all the time.
For my consultancy, I get most of my jobs through word of mouth, and a group of freelancers called Hoxby Collective.
As the JsixQ app isn’t out yet, we’re working on social media and spreading the word in as many imaginative ways as possible.
I love being able to manage my time however I like. I love the fact I can take a week-day off if it’s sunny and go shopping with my mother or babysit my niece and work at the weekend if it’s raining and miserable.
Do it. It’s hard work, but totally worth it.