Starting up a new business and keeping it going always has its challenges, but wow – this year has been particularly difficult. A global coronavirus pandemic, economic uncertainty, and national lockdowns? These are far from the ideal conditions for nurturing self-employed workers and small businesses.

Which is why I was delighted to be asked to feature in an article about starting and running a business through the COVID-19 crisis. You can read the full article along with all of the other features here, but here are my highlights.

I am a freelance graphic designer and, in February of this year, I took the plunge to become a Limited Company, working for myself full time.

Since becoming a mum in 2016 I have questioned whether my happiness really lies in the workplace. Working part time hours made me feel less than adequate at my job. I was always playing catch up with colleagues working full time, and feeling a growing divide between myself and them.

This was having a profoundly negative impact on my mental health. I needed a solution that was going to reignite my love and passion for design, as well as give me the opportunity to be the best mum possible.

Discovering the real value in myself

Leaving the luxury of annual leave, sick pay, and a regular pay cheque was the biggest challenge to overcome. Understanding that I needed to discover a new sense of bravery within myself was something that was incredibly difficult to get my head around. But, after years of feeling like I was constantly playing catch up, I knew that my mental health needed to be my number one priority, and so I took the plunge.

And then lockdown. Wow. What a challenge in itself, even without the added pressure of being a mum thrown into the mix. Luckily, a few weeks before lockdown I signed a one year contract with a company in London. It gave me the flexibility of working my part time hours, but also being able to financially support myself and my family during such a difficult time for so many. My husband and I shared the childcare, so we were able to support one another, as well as be there for our son during such a weird and unusual time.

Business growth and my development

I have never wanted to employ anyone other than myself, but I set the challenge of gaining at least 3 new clients in the first year. As soon as lockdown hit, I knew that would have to take a back seat.

It felt really selfish to have a fantastic contract under my belt and also want more. So I decided not to promote myself and to simply let lockdown take its course.

The growth has been organic and I have loved every new call that has grown and evolved into a beautiful working relationship. I love the fact that I am busy during the day, working hard on my contract, and I can dedicate my time to them 100%. Then as soon as my son is in bed, I am able to dedicate myself to all of my other clients.

It’s giving me the freedom to be my own boss, plan my own schedule, take time off when I need, be the best mum I can, but most importantly, make my own fortune in life.

I am so much braver than I ever was before, and sometimes in life, when things don’t go the way you want them to go, it isn’t so bad. As long as you can pick yourself up and look to the future, and that’s exactly what I am doing!

"Leaving the luxury of annual leave, sick pay, and a regular pay cheque was the biggest challenge to overcome."

So, there you have it. I often wonder whether it is a good thing to show off your personal success when there has been so much devastation facing the world. But if we didn’t sprinkle a little bit of joy around the place, we’d all act like Donald Trump and that wouldn’t be good for anyone.

Photos by Esteban Lopez, TK HammondsJoey Nicotra and Arièle Bonte on Unsplash