Taking another route
A business start-up can be the much-yearned for escape tunnel from the corporate world for some.
It is the route that Lisa Sourbutts, owner and managing director of Burnley-based Cube HR, took three years ago.
She initially left her well-paid HR job with the intention of getting another salaried role, but instead took a different route and started her business when people asked her why she wasn’t striking out on her own.
She says: “It never entered my head, but so many people said I should set up on my own I thought, why not? It seemed to be the only opportunity I’d get to do it.
“I’d had enough of the corporate world. I’d always been in HR but really I wanted be more people-focused.”
Lisa set up business from her house. She says: “I literally Googled ‘help for start-up businesses in Lancashire’.
“Most people start their busines because they are technically good at something. I was good at HR but knew nothing about running a business.”
She tapped into the advice that is out there in Lancashire, had a website built and started networking, which “scared her to death”.
In the first four months she earned the princely sum of £300. “I thought, ‘what have I done?’”, she says. “I’d left a really good job, with a car and bonus, for this. It was hard.”
Today the business employs three people, with plans for more and has helped more than 100 companies since it was launched.
Lisa says: “We’ve got a good growth plan. I’ve got a business coach and he makes sure the things I need to do are getting done.
“But don’t think working for yourself is easier than being employed. It is way harder; you work more hours for less money.”
She advises others setting out on their start-up journey not to undervalue themselves. “You know the worth of what you do. Set your prices and stick to them.”
Lisa adds: “Being responsible for other people is also quite scary when you start to grow. But there is so much satisfaction when it works, the buzz I get from helping people. I don’t see it as work, I love what I do so much.”
Gordie Smyth is another who has stepped off the career treadmill for the chance to go it alone.
He has set up Flower Accounting, which is based in Preston, leaving his position at a medium-sized company at the start of the year.
The 36-year-old qualified accountant says: “I couldn’t have set it up at a stranger time with everything that is going on.
“I started the business because I really wanted to work with clients at a deeper level.
“It wasn’t about money, it was about putting my stamp on things, making an impact and wanting to make a difference.
“I spent ten years climbing up the ladder. To come away from that was a difficult decision.”
Gordie operated from home for the first few months, now he is based at a co-working space at Society1 in Preston city centre.
He says: “It has involved me with the community there. I’ve also got Boost for support.
“It is very important that when you set up on your own that you surround yourself with like-minded people, so it is not the lonely place it can be.”
He adds: “There have been up and down days. Family support has been really important.
“I’m working towards a five-year plan. It is important to have something to aim at and to have focus.
“You have got to be clear on your value proposition and have that clarity and cast-iron belief that will make you robust enough to go on the journey.”
Gordie also echoes Lisa’s advice. “You’ve got to know your own worth,” he says.
And he adds: “I passionately believe that I can help my clients build their dream lives and in doing so I’m building mine – how powerful is that!”
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