I mentioned in my previous post that I was receiving some help with my business start-up. Today I am going to take some time to talk over what got me to this point and finally put me in a position to take the plunge in to the WORLD OF COMMERCE…
Firstly, all of my work experience has been in public facing or public sector roles – a bit of retail, some hospitality, some local authority, then museums – my chosen career and area of greatest expertise. Museums have been my professional focus for around six years now and I find working in them both fascinating and fulfilling. However there are certain aspects of this type of work that seem particularly challenging.
Security: Short term contracts, frequent restructures and competitive recruitment procedures can mean it is difficult to hang on to a job long enough to settle anywhere. I see people dealing with this in a most heroic fashion, but as I learned, it really stresses me out and I’m sure I am not the only one.
‘Going Where the Work Is’: This could be moving between cities or commuting every day. Both tiring, not to mention costly. Would I do it for my dream job? Possibly. But not right now.
Career Progression/Politics: Several times I have been in positions where big changes in staffing or job descriptions have resulted in unpleasant competition and emotional upheaval. It’s just difficult to keep going full tilt when you have a burden like this on your shoulders and everyone feels it.
Considering factors such as these and their effect on my mental health are a substantial part of the story. Looking at them, they could occur in any profession, really.
So, the last time a contract ended and I found myself unemployed, I started to claim Jobseekers’ Allowance and think very carefully about what an appropriate next step was. Part time work seemed like a good bet. But the chances of me getting a local part-time job in a museum were pretty slim – fortunately volunteer work was much more readily available.
I casually mentioned to my Jobseekers’ ‘coach’ that I was thinking about selling handmade things and she made me an appointment with SENTA (Sheffield Enterprise Agency) at the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce. SENTA has a pretty good record of supporting business start-ups and development, so I felt very lucky to have access to their expertise.
The New Enterprise Allowance Scheme entitles me to a degree of financial support to start the business, which decreases the longer I am trading. Before starting, a basic business plan is checked over and (hopefully) approved. During the first year, I am entitled to ask for advice at any time, and can get help with my first tax return. Being given this opportunity didn’t seem like something I could refuse!
In conclusion, it’s all change yet again, but this time I don’t have to move cities, be away from my partner or take a job that I know will leave me feeling like a hollow little ghost. It feels like the right thing to do!
Wish me luck…