Tell us something about you by way of introduction, Angelika
My name is Angelika Davey. I was born in Germany and grew up there and I still call myself German, but, actually (surprisingly? scarily?), I’ve had a British passport longer than I had my German passport. I am a qualified teacher but after having worked in schools for several years I started working for myself nearly 7 years ago.
Now tell us about your business. What’s it all about, how do you think and feel about it now, do you have staff and premises or work mainly alone at home?
My business is Angelika’s German Tuition & Translation and it’s as varied as it can get. I work on my own, mainly at home, teaching private clients German either at my house or via Skype, but I also have some groups locally and teach business clients as well. I also teach children and the age range of students so far has been between 3 and 80 years! When I don’t teach I work on translations or blog or continue writing a book which – hopefully – will be available as a kindle this year. I don’t have any staff but I do have some colleagues who help me out with translations or teaching when I can’t fit it in.
This series of interviews is designed to inspire others, mainly women, on the same path. What tips would you share with them which would short-cut their journey to happiness being their own boss?
Trust your instinct, but also have a plan B like a temporary/ flexible job you can do while things are tough.
What did you struggle with most in your start-up phase, and how did you crack that?
It took a long time to get enough clients to earn enough money to pay all my bills and the mortgage. I anticipated that, so when I was still in full-time employment, I saved as much as I could to keep me going. I also joined an agency as a supply teacher, which meant if I couldn’t do my own teaching I was available to teach for the agency. In the beginning I did a lot of supply teaching, which gradually became less and less until I left the agency for good.
What have you learned about yourself while working solo?
I think I can say that I became ‘me’. I wasn’t somebody’s wife, mother or teacher at some school anymore. I now do what I like to do and I’ve found out lots of things I didn’t like before, which I now thoroughly enjoy. Computers, for example. I still remember when they arrived in schools. I was teaching at a primary school and this thing arrived and stood in a corner of the classroom and I was supposed to teach it. How did I do it? I managed to find the ‘on’ button and told the kids “There it is, enjoy!” I didn’t want to be anywhere near it! Since then I have learned how to build my own website and blog, and I wouldn’t be able to teach via Skype if I didn’t use my computer.
Did you choose self-employment?
I did. I was unhappy in a job and the thought of applying for jobs and going for interviews didn’t really appeal to me. I had worked for myself briefly a few years ago, while in-between jobs, and quite liked it, so this was a good time to start again.
What one encouraging thought sums it all up?
If you think you can do it, you can do it! And if you need help, you are bound to find people online who can help you – very useful, if your offline friends can’t!
Do you have a current project you would like readers to know about?
My most popular service is my ‘Teach yourself German … with a little help’. Lots of people can’t join evening classes or afford weekly lessons on their own, so this is a possible compromise, which some of your readers may have never considered.
Do you feel lonely and isolated when working for yourself?
No, I don’t. I have family and friends off and online and I spend lovely times with them but also enjoy time on my own.
How can we find out more about you and become your fans and followers?