By Daphne Thissen of Thissen Consulting
After building a career working as a Civil Servant in an international environment, when I turned 50, I decided it was time to take the leap and become my own boss. I wanted to build a business of my own that could provide me with a long-desired sense of professional space and the creative freedom to shape my own work environment.
Since making the transition, I have undergone huge personal and professional growth and have learnt an array of things about myself, the industries within which I work and about becoming a female entrepreneur aged 50.
- Collaboration is key
Since launching my consultancy business, collaboration has been at the heart of all I do and is where some of my best successes have come from. From networking with others within the industry through to joining groups such as my local chamber of commerce or professional organisations.
Starting a business can be a lonely and daunting time. However, by being a part of these communities, I have been able to build connections that I would have missed by not having a team around me.
In addition to this, I have been able to build relationships with other business owners who have been happy to make introductions to help grow my business whilst in its infancy. Being a part of these communities has been inspiring and there has been real encouragement from those I have met, it is true that the British entrepreneurial spirit really does exist.
This collaboration has also been cost-effective for my business. As a start-up, every pound counts so by having access to commercial services I would have otherwise had to pay out for has been extremely helpful in the growth of my business.
- I love working with SME’s
When launching a business, aiming for the big players in the industry can seem like the smartest business move. With larger budgets, it can be easy to think they are the most likely to have the money to spend and will therefore have the biggest impact on your business and its growth. This can definitely be the case in terms of selling your services.
When it comes to support for my business, working with SME’s has had one of the largest, and most positive impacts on the growth of Thissen Consulting.
In general, I have found that SME’s and freelancers, are very loyal to their clients and suppliers. Whilst servicing many clients at a time, they don’t lose focus and tend to build partnerships that are long lasting as opposed to one-off projects.
From my experience, I have found that the SME’s I’ve worked with have also been very willing and invested in supporting my own business to grow alongside theirs.
- Women are celebrated
Working across typically male-dominated industries including construction, engineering and property, I have been pleasantly surprised to see how much women are celebrated across the sectors by both males and females.
Whilst there is still work to be done in terms of encouraging more female talent into those industries, I have been impressed with the commitment many businesses and organisations have made to improve gender diversity and provide equal opportunities.
I have also learnt a lot from working with other female entrepreneurs on a range of projects. This has given me the opportunity to share my growth and experience to both help my own development, and the development of others.
Starting my own business as a woman has certainly empowered me.
- Values are at the heart of business
When I launched Thissen Consulting, I knew that no matter what, I would not compromise my personal values of kindness, representation and respect. I wanted these values to be at the forefront of all that I do, and I am proud to have adhered to this aim.
I have kept these values in mind throughout all my projects and whilst delivering my service and I am confident that my values-led approach has contributed to the success of my start up business. It has ensured all clients I work with are aware of and share these values and has therefore helped ensure that the partnerships I am building with my clients are long-term and beneficial for both parties.
These values have also led me to be a part of two charitable boards within the creative industries. Being a board member has kept me aligned within an industry I am passionate about as well as exposing me to new ideas and people. Most importantly, it has provided me with the opportunity to give back and help others which is something that as a business owner, I have always known that I wanted to do.
- It’s never too late
After deciding to make the jump from a stable, employed job to my own self-employed business aged 50, I can honestly say it’s never too late.
Whether you choose to launch your own business in your 20s, 40s, 60s or even 80s, there are always opportunities for those with a plan and a purpose.
The professional experience that I have gained over the years has contributed to my success and I am excited for what the coming years will bring as an entrepreneur.