My name is Sarah Newton and I run a business around youth engagement and motivation, which has been in operation for twelve years now. My first ever job was at Disney World in Florida, where my most strange experience was having my tarot cards read by Donald Duck and my last job was in the police. I am not sure we have enough time or space here for me to repeat some of the things I saw there.
And your business?
I work at home and mainly alone. I wanted my business to give me freedom, so having an office and staff was never what I wanted. My business is mainly around my 20 years’ experience of working with and engaging youth and most of my work involves speaking and writing, which I love. I want my business to build me and my family a secure future and leave a legacy behind for them and others. I want to do what I love and what make me happy, so things often change.
What tips would you share with other business owners and newbies at working for themselves?
- Follow your own path; often what others suggest doesn’t work for your clientele
- Get support; a coach or someone similar who has your interest at heart is a God send
- Don’t spend lots of money on branding and a website as it may change. You don’t need to get something that looks great
- Have someone you can call when it all gets too much, as it inevitably will.
- Get clear in your focus and work towards that as if your life depended on it
What did you struggle with most in your start-up phase, and what solutions did you find?
I struggled mostly with focus. As an ideas person, I was overwhelmed sometimes with all the things I could do. I set myself three priorities for the year and worked only on projects that lead me in their direction. I also had lots of friends and coaches that kept me on track. And I allowed myself time each day to play with new ideas, so I didn’t feel I was missing out.
What’s been the best discovery about yourself while working solo?
That I love my freedom. People are always telling me how I could have a huge business if I did this and I did that, but that is not what I want. I also quite like my own company. I have also learnt to surround myself with people who understand what I am trying to achieve.
Did you choose self-employment or did it choose you? Any regrets?
I choose it for sure; left a very secure job in the police because I wanted to do things a different way after having my second child. Sometimes I have days where I wish I didn’t have to earn every penny, but then I remember that I want that more than I want a boss. I think I have become unemployable anyway.
What one encouraging thought sums it all up?
You will never have a more understanding boss. The freedom is worth it!
What’s closest to your heart right now?
The project I am most excited about at the moment is one I am working on for Mothers and Daughters called Project Artemis
Do you feel lonely and isolated when working for yourself? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? How do you get your social needs met? What do you recommend to other solopreneurs in this regard?
I am an extrovert so yes, sometimes I feel alone and I have got very friendly with the postman or in fact anyone who comes to the door! To meet this need I have people I can talk to if I am feeling low, or I go to a coffee shop and people-watch. I try to get out of the house once a day and meet up with someone who inspires and helps me once a week, and this has worked for me. Make sure your business doesn’t become all you have.
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