1. Tell us about you and what your business does?
I run my own hairdressing business and work as a full time stylist. As well as juggling the books, I also stand behind the chair all day, cutting, styling, colouring and other various bits as required.
2. Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Yes, most definitely. I'm one of these folks that likes to be in control of everything I do, so choosing my own hours, what I do in my day and so forth was something I had planned right from the beginning of my training seven years ago. Unfortunately, hairstylists don't generally get paid very much, particularly in this area, so I knew that if I wanted to make any money in this industry, I had to go it on my own.
3. Where did the idea for your business come from?
I was actually thrust into self-employment a little over eighteen months ago, a little sooner than I would've liked, really. The salon I was working in went up for sale and as I was unable to afford to buy out the owner and being unwilling to work for someone new, I decided to just go for it. A lot of people said I was crazy for opening up in these troubled times, but so far, so good.
4. What were you doing before starting up?
I was working in the salon that I had actually trained in, as a stylist.
5. What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Never give up. There is so much help out there if you need it. You only have to look. Look for start up grants in your area, take any free business courses you can get your hands on. Find out what's lacking in your area and offer it. Plan, plan, plan and still expect the unexpected. Write up a business plan and learn it inside out. Be best friends with your bank. I needed a start up loan and by building up a rapport with my account manager I get every bit of help I need. Be prepared to work harder than ever, but remember that you reap what you sow.
6. Where do you want to be in five years' time?
In five years time, I hope to be still here! We made it past the one year mark, but we've still got a way to go in paying back the business loan, but once that's done, I would love to branch out and have maybe one other salon open too.