“Cool your jets”. That’s what my Dad said to me when I announced in January 1999, aged 22, that I was going to quit my job and start my own business. His comment wasn’t negative, it was protective. As a family we had just come out the process of my Mum and Dads insurance business going ‘tits up’ after being part of the landscape in Paisley for 17 years (The new wave of ‘telephone’ insurance companies led to the charm of paying your annual car insurance over the counter obsolete) and just as things started to settle I decide to rock the boat and make a bold move.
So there I was, 22 years old. I knew what I was good at and I knew what I enjoyed doing and I just wanted to do my own thing as I decided the role of ‘employee’ wasn’t for me.
My career is short and sharp. Left school at 16 half way through 5th year when bullying and disillusionment collided to give me the guts to tell my folks I wanted to leave school. They were incredibly supportive, they even found the job ad for a junior vacancy in a design company that I ended up successfully applying for.
I spent 5 years at The Edge Creative Consultancy learning for my then bosses exactly how not to run a business and how to not manage a team, but I learnt a lot. I worked my way up from making tea to managing clients and developing my design skills. I then spent two years working as part of a small team at Designhaus.
Finally I decided it was time to give it a try. “I’m young enough to make a mistake” was my mantra. I got funding from The Princes Trust and went for it. A computer was purchased, an office was located, a business card was designed and ‘Shine Design’ as I was first known was started. Two rules I had for the first year of business. 1 – Don’t employ anyone 2 – Make a profit. I achieved both.
I had 3 months of planning and getting everything in place while working my notice. I was working at Designhaus during the day and then trying to get everything set up for Shine Design in the evening I was very busy for those 12 weeks.
I remember my first day in the office very well. I had no clients and no work. The busyness of the previous months fell off a cliff. So I sat there and once everything was in its place I phoned by mum!
After some sage advice, day two was a lot busier as I set about getting some clients.
The next 18 years have passed in a blink. Running your own business regardless of size is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time and I wouldn’t change a thing. Shine has had some great highs and a few lows, but it got me out of bed every morning with a spring in my step.
There are many people besides my family who played a big part in the opening of the Shine doors and I thank them. Some know who they are, some just taught me valuable lessons without knowing.