In this latest interview in the Inspiring Businesswomen series, we caught up with Debbie Whipps. Debbie struggled to find suitable senior positions which would give her the flexibility to look after her children and fit her work around school runs. After being made redundant she decided to pursue her dream of owning her own business.
Business: Pink Spaghetti
Self-employed since: 2017
Why did you start your own business?
DW: Becoming my own boss was something I’d dreamed of doing for years but not quite had the courage to quit my high paying career to start my own business. In October I was made redundant and it gave me the push I needed to set up my own business. I decided to set up my own PA and marketing business since I had these skills. I had looked at Pink Spaghetti, many years previous, a franchise business with a great ethos but had never quite been able to walk away from the corporate life. So I signed up, started my training and launched the business!
Tell us about your family life, how do you manage to juggle work and other commitments?
DW: I had just split with my husband and was made redundant. I have 7-year-old twin girls so they really needed me to be around more. I couldn’t leave the house at 7 am to head to work like I used to, as I was in sole charge of the school run, juggling the housework and my work. Life became more about work-life balance than advancing my career. It became about finding a balance which allowed me to utilise my skills I’d learnt over many years but still having time for family life.
What goals did you set yourself for your business when you launched?
DW: To survive the first year! Short term, that was it, to be able to say I’ve done it. Longer term, I want to grow my business and have a team of mum’s working for me. Offering others, the chance to have a rewarding career, whilst still being able to balance family life.
What are the main challenges you face and how do you overcome them?
DW: I am still getting used to not having a regular salary coming in each month but, with careful planning and budgeting this is overcome. I know what I need to achieve each week to be in a good position and I make sure I keep track of my finances. Juggling school holidays is another issue, I had to make sure I had planned cover. I’m lucky to have a fantastic support network who helped me.
What advice would you give a female entrepreneur starting out or growing her business?
DW: Research as much as you can, plan as much as possible, take on board advice and connect with others in a similar position. Find networking groups which are about supporting each other and use them to support your journey.
What does an average day look like for you?
DW: My day usually starts at 6 am, I tend to check my phone for notifications and emails first thing so I know what’s coming up that day. I then feed the dog, the cat, our foster kittens and the hamsters! Pack lunches, wake up the kids, breakfast and out the door for the school run. Once I’m back, I get started on my work; content writing, business card design, holiday researching, telesales calls, etc. Some days might involve a networking event or client meeting. As I work from home, I take a little me time during the day. I walk the dog or pop out for a quick coffee. Then it’s back to school to pick up the kids and complete their home time routine, before a few last minute tasks to finish off the day.
If you were to start all over again, what would you do differently?
DW: I would have made the decision to set up my own business sooner! It took me a long to time to take the leap of faith into being self-employed.
How do you motivate yourself to keep going when it gets a little tough?
DW: I’m extremely lucky to be part of Pink Spaghetti and they have a great support network. We help each other and pick each other up when we’re down! I also only have to look at my girls and it’s a great reminder of why I’m doing this.
Thanks to Debbie Whipps for sharing your experiences as a business owner. If you’re interested in creating a life you want, I’d love to hear from you! Get in touch and connect with me on social: email here or connect on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn.