How to find the courage to start a small business

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Kerrie Denton is a motivational coach who launched her website motivation2conquer.com as an online business in 2016. She says, “I am a fairly new small business. I commenced with my motivational coaching service. I do offer a one off session to help give some direction but I specialise in a six week personal development program. This program is completely centred around focus and motivation. I began my online business out of my home office in Sydney. My business has grown from being a motivational coach to now an online active wear shop”.

Kerrie started her business because she was committed to access and equity. She says, “I believe you can reach far more women nationally and globally who may not necessarily have the time or resources to be able to attend the traditional methods of a face to face coaching service or going out to shop for active wear. I believe my active wear is unique as my clothing speaks out. It gives voice not only to the people who see you wearing it, but to the person itself”.

Prior to starting her own business, Kerrie was a health educator with over 20 years of experience working in both women’s health and community health. “I am extremely active in preventative health care. I believe strongly in holistic health which encompasses all aspects of self-care including mental health”, Kerrie said.

Motivation2conquer offers a one-hour motivational coaching service via Skype or phone, a motivational book with powerful affirmations titled My Secret is Your Secret and Fight Style Determination Activewear. Motivation2conquer active wear is premium quality, hand produced on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Kerrie caters to all sizes and shapes. She says, “I believe women are all unique with our own individual body type”.

Kerrie works alongside her daughter, Belinda. She says, “I am so blown away that she shares my vision and my passion. She handles all of our social media. This is 100% a joint effort”. Belinda is the only employee at Motivation2conquer. However, Kerrie is excited to expand their team as the business grows. She adds, “I work on my business 7 days a week which I fit around my current paid position outside of this. I definitely have a goal to make my business completely full time so I can focus on expanding and growing my active wear shop”.

There were a few trials to endure when Kerrie started her business. “The main issue for me which I am sure that many people starting a small business would share, is finding the courage and self-confidence to take that leap. You have an idea that you truly believe in but you do not know how to actually go about bringing that idea to life. So there is a lot of research, exploring different avenues, overcoming the feeling of isolation, trusting which advice to follow and then making a plan that you feel comfortable with”.

Kerrie also experienced challenges with marketing and advertising her activewear. She says, “As we live in a world of social and digital marketing, this is completely foreign to me. It is knowing who to trust with advice and how much you are willing to risk in terms of money. I have been given many different opinions as to what avenue I should follow, it can be really overwhelming. I have been taken advantage of because of my ignorance and I have wasted money contracting with someone I thought would help me”.

Another challenge Kerrie was faced with was not giving up when she felt discouraged. “I have overcome this by attending events and workshops where guest speakers give talks on what has worked for them and what hasn’t worked for them. These events really help me to feel energised and inspired. I stay clear of webinars and workshops. I did attend one and in reality their formulas didn’t help me and they always require larger payments to receive any further education. I now trust me own instinct and if something doesn’t feel right, I do not follow that path. I also belong to Facebook groups who are women with their own business. On these groups you can post a question and get a lot of practical tips of where to go and how to do something. These groups offer a lot of support and encouragement”.

Kerrie would like to see more improvement made to small businesses in Australia. “I would like to see a lot more training offered by the government. More grants made available in terms of funding small business ventures that can assist in understanding more about the laws and regulations, how to address red tape, copyright and patent laws etc. I also would like to see more training that is affordable in social and digital marketing so the smaller earners can attend.

There is a website which offers an online course in the basics such as how to create a business name and structure, registration for GST and PAYG etc. it costs around $300 but I believe there should be a lot more training that can assist a small business after they have set their business up. The pros and cons, what to be aware of and what resources are available to help you. One that I feel very strongly about is child care subsidies and assistance for mums who are operating from home. I feel mothers contribute immensely to the economy and should be rewarded for starting a small business at home so they can generate their own income to support a family”.

Being a small business does have its perks. Kerrie loves the fact that her small business is hers! “Regardless of how many hours you put in, all the ups and downs associated with being an an emotional rollercoaster, this business is mine. I am responsible for the success or failures and I do acknowledge that in finding the right formula for success there will be some failures but overall, it is so satisfying and rewarding knowing that you and your family are the creators and beneficiaries of your business”, she said.

Running a small business requires owners to always look after themselves financially. Kerrie states that she doesn’t pay herself anything at all. She adds, “I am only in the early days of starting my business and I do completely understand and accept any profit I make, I put straight back in. I do agree that I need to take care of myself financially but I continuously look at the bigger picture and those times will come later”.

Creating a work-life balance is also important. Kerrie has very strong family values. She spends a lot of time with her two children and takes time off whenever she needs to just sit back and relax. She believes in being organised and planning ahead of schedule as this keeps her from feeling overwhelmed and focussed.

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