It is always important to learn from other people’s experiences. They could save you from making a disastrous error or give you new ideas or an alternative approach. So, we are starting a regular blog were MYST residents will enlighten us on the do and don’ts of being self-employed and give us an insight into what self-employment is really like, so you can learn from their experiences. We’ll always finish with an ‘odd-blog’ question to find out something about the interviewee that has nothing to do with self-employment! So, here we go 10 questions in 10 minutes, recorder on and stopwatch at the ready…
Jemma Rafferty- Lady Graceful- www.ladygraceful.co.uk
1- Where are you from?
I’m from Anfield in Liverpool.
2- Tell me a bit about your business?
My business is a make-up service catering to all women and all ages but specialising in mature women. I help empower and bring the fun back into make-up and also give confidence to those who need it.
3- Brilliant! So, what made you start your own business?
I had my son in August 2012. I didn’t have a job at the time because I was working temporary. I suffered with post-natal depression when he was about 6 months old and needed to find something to make me happy as well as build a future for him. I wasn’t happy in any of the jobs I’d had. So, I found that make-up was little bit of a release and when I built the business I found a niche that hadn’t been covered in the market. So, in a way I had two loves at once.
4- Do you have any advice for new start-ups or people thinking about starting their own business?
Research. Research is the biggest problem. If you haven’t done your research, if you haven’t organised properly then nothing will work. Because mine was such a niche market, I’m still struggling now 6 months on to find the work. So, it’s quite a difficult thing to do. It’s not like just running a shop; you have to be a specialist. When you specialise in something you have to make sure you’re confident in what you’re doing and that you’ve definitely, definitely covered all areas in the field.
5- Great, that sounds like some good advice. What have your experiences been like so far at MYST?
Lovely, everyone is so friendly. I’ve found I’ve got a lot more work done while I’ve been here because I can separate my home life and work life, even though I do work as a mobile make-up artist. I can concentrate more and I find that I’ve got my own little room that I can escape. It’s nice for me to have that.
6- So, what’s the best thing about being self-employed?
The freedom. The freedom of being able to make your own decisions, whether they are right or wrong. I feel that in my previous employment there’s not been a place that I’ve been able to say what I want to say. So, being here, I’m able to make my own decisions. I don’t have anyone else to answer to and I know that, if I do fail which I know I won’t, but if I do then it’s only down to me and I can’t blame anybody else.
7- Well I’m sure you won’t, so, what’s the worst thing about being self-employed?
Probably lack of business and not planning enough for it. If you’re not already in an organisational space, if you want to call it that, and you’re not organised then self-employment will take a long time for you to make money. That’s probably one of the worst bits, is not making the money to cover the ground but I know that, as long as I keep working hard enough and keep going regardless of the money, that I will eventually make some money. I think even though that’s one of the worst bits, it’s actually one of the best bits because you’re learning a lesson and you’ll always be grounded.
8- Yeah so, it’s about doing the groundwork because nobody starts making money straight away. So, what are your hobbies and interests away from work?
Make-up, haha! Even though it’s my job it’s still make-up. I love it. I love going shopping with friends and my sisters and finding them new kinds of make-up. It’s still my job and it’s still my hobby. I used to sing but I don’t anymore (to which I requested a tune but was flatly refused!) I think from being a performer I found such a creative work. Otherwise just general chilling, being with my family, spending time with my son and going on days out with my son. I’m building memories through the money that I’m earning from this job. To me that’s the best hobby, to spend time with my son.
9- So, how do you find balancing your social life with being self-employed?
It can be quite difficult because I probably get to go out one night a month but it’s planned. I prefer that it’s planned. I like that, because I have my son, I’m more wary of what I do with my money and particularly, when I go out. Socialising? I like to go to friends for cups of tea and see how they are but I do that mostly through the week because most of my work is at the weekend. So, it’s nice that I can take days out with my friends and their children and we can go to the beach in the summer and I don’t have to book days off to do that. So, it’s nice.
10- Last question- the OdD BloG question- would you rather be able to time travel or fly?
Time travel. My mum always said I should have been born in the 1930’s and I love the 50’s so I think it would be fabulous to go back in time. They would definitely be the first places I would go.
Thank you very much to Jemma for taking part in our first 10 questions in 10 minutes blog. Please take a look at the Lady Graceful website or follow her on Twitter (@lady_graceful). Look out for more blogs coming soon.