One day, I will set up my own company and make a profit doing something I love. In the mean time, I make it my business to learn how to get there so I can set it up in the next few years. Josie told me about the Cosmopolitan Careers Talk, and I was game for going. The Gentleman very kindly bought me a ticket and we were ready to go!
I left work with a freshly applied face of makeup – I’ve always said, if you bump into someone that can change your life, you may as well look your best. I was Managing a Beauty Salon when I met The Gentleman, made him think I was naturally that good looking didn’t I… see? – then made my way to Kings Cross Station to try and find The British Library.
For once, and if you’ve been reading a while you’ll know this is a big feat, I was early! Josie finally joined me, and we made our way to the lecture theatre bar where we had a glass of champagne waiting for us!
After a chat about our ideas and finalising our questions (Josie’s questions really… I’m WAY too un-organised to have written my own) we bustled into the lecture theatre scrambling for the front row seats.
Jo Behari – Entrepreneur, DIY Expert and TV presenter (bringing building back from the boys)
Melissa Burton – Sweet Creator of Goody Good Stuff and Entrepreneur (Sweet, but highly intelligent)
Jaqueline Gold – Chief Exec of Ann Summers and 16th richest woman in Britain (you go girl!)
Kanya King MBE – Entrepreneur, Public Speaker, CEO and Founder of MOBO (yes that’s the MOBO awards to you and me)
Shaa Wasmund – Ex cosmo intern, PR woman, helped launch Dyson to make it what it is today and now she puts it all back into helping others launch their own businesses.
Notably, I didn’t take many pictures as I didn’t have my SLR and it wasn’t quite appropriate for the circumstances. Hence the unclear iPhone pictures!
The panel introduced themselves, and away they went to talk about how they had got where they are today. They are all thoroughly driven and incredibly powerful ladies who saw gaps in the market and jumped directly into them.
The main theme that grew from the panel was startups; everyone agreed that the hardest thing to do was actually start the company in the first place and every single one of them poured all their money and free time into their businesses. Half re-mortgaged their houses and others sought financial help from various sources.
They told us in great detail about various start-up loans companies and how to get into it, but I’ll start with the stages. If I miss anything, please do leave a comment below;
Business Plan is key – I’ve searched this online and you can actually find templates that you can manipulate to suit your own business ideas. Without a business plan, you may as well give up. Have you seen Dragon’s Den? You need to have your facts and figures straight before anyone is going to take you or your idea seriously.
Protect your business – Did you know, if you are setting up your own business, you are entitled to free legal advice? Have a google and see what you can find, but if you’re going with the government loan scheme, they can talk you through it. Make sure that no businesses already have your name and then protect it. Copyright it or do whatever you can – you have legal rights to your ideas too, so it should be difficult for people to jump on your idea.
Get a loan/advice – The best advice I can give you, and the best advice the panel could offer was to apply to the Government loan scheme for start ups. You are eligible for the loan scheme if you are aged between 18 and 30 and have legal rights to live in the UK. I’ve mentioned already that you need to have a business plan, the scheme will actually help you create a plan, but it’s good to be pre-prepared and have an idea of where you could get to!
After that, you launch! I think they say that you know whether a business will be a success in the first three years, if it isn’t a success go back to the drawing board. But if it is wahoo!
Of course, I would have taken notes if I had been prepared, but I rushed over straight from work and wasn’t. Half way through the presentations I started to get that familiar pang in my stomach, I felt my muscles tense in defence at the noise I knew would follow. A deep growl erupted from the depths of my tummy and I flushed scarlet instantly. I never learn. When I was at school, I used to have to eat a whole meal before exams, as my stomach is constantly making strange and exotic noises to accompany the quietness of a room. I remember in one particular exam, I had obviously not eating enough and had to eat paper from my answer booklet to mimic the motions of eating to stop the growls. Luckily, Josie had brought sweets with her and that seemed to be enough to keep my belly at bay for the rest of the talk.
I realise that this is become an extremely wordy post, so will wrap up with this, The Goody Bag!
Packed full of exciting things to keep us going, and even including a website for each of us to kick start our Business careers.
I would definitely recommend going along to one in the future – I think they hold them fairly regularly, so if you can get tickets in time, do!
Thanks to all the speakers, and to Cosmopolitan for putting together such a great event. (and apologies for my rumbling tum)