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  • Notes from a Teacher

Using my skills to become my own boss

“I don’t know what I would do, I’ve always been a teacher.” This quote comes from one of my colleagues when we were discussing what we would do if we changed careers or resigned from teaching.


Teachers are rarely made redundant and it is rare that we are forced to change careers or question other jobs out of necessity rather than choice. Once a teacher, always a teacher and in these times of transient jobs it is one of the few professions that can still be considered “a job for life”.


If the recent closure of schools has shown us anything, it has proved how much children need the socialisation that they gain from being in the classroom and the confidence, skills and learning that happens when they are in the presence of teachers, support staff and other children.


Last year I took the big leap of changing my career path. I resigned from my job and set up my own company which incorporated 3 small businesses. This was both terrifying and exhilarating. I am still getting used to the fact that there is no guaranteed pay cheque at the end of the month!


So, why did I give up one of the most reliable and stable jobs in the world (not to mention a generous pension) in exchange for running my own business? 


In 2017 my husband and I adopted our three amazing children. I took nine months off work on adoption leave and when I returned my life was very different. I had gone from being able to work until the job was done to my working day be guided by nursery and school pick up times, after school clubs, sports days, nativity plays, meal times, bath times, bed times….the list goes on! I loved my work and I loved my children, but I didn’t feel I was giving my best to either of them and I knew that changes had to be made. 


Starting my own business didn’t happen overnight, it took eighteen months of planning, soul searching, courage and spreadsheets, but I’ve done it. And it’s the best decision I could have made. 


If you are also thinking about starting your own business, my advice is; look at your skills and make them work for you. Define your own success and work back from there. When I resigned from my teaching job and set up my own business, success for me was not having to ask permission to attend my children’s nativity plays, while also earning enough money to cover my half of the bills and mortgage. Within the first few months this goal had been achieved and, as my business changes and develops so do my goals. 


So, if you are in a job and thinking of a change, look at what you have achieved and the skills you have used and developed to accomplish this. How can use the skills to do what you really want to do? Not only this, make your job work around the life you want, or what you feel those around you need. In my case, I even looked at my husband’s skills to see how I could utilise those (the poor chap!). He trained as a chef and still works in catering, so I had the brilliant idea of setting up a pop up restaurant in our house – surprisingly there was very little eye rolling on my husband’s part and he just cracked on and created some brilliant menus. Up until lock down, our little restaurant was fully booked for 4 months and we had a waiting list, hopefully, one day soon, our culinary adventure will be up and running again. 


It’s not easy, in fact, naively, I had no idea how difficult setting up your own business is. It really is like starting a brand new job, but with no hand over period. I am now knee deep in spread sheets, learning about tax and accounts, social media marketing, websites and so much more. Don’t get me wrong, there are elements of my old job that I really miss, particularly my wonderful colleagues and the staff room camaraderie….but would I change it? Would I give up self-employment, being able to go to all of my children’s plays, story times, sports days setting my own hours, meeting hundreds of lovely new people, not to mention a brand-new adventure? As my children would say…No way Josè!

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