Mandy Blackwell of Mandy Blackwell Recruitment in Lancaster shares her journey.
Attending the Chamber of Commerce Big Breakfast event in 2015, was the first time I met Jane Binnion whom I had emailed earlier in the month to make an enquiry about the Growing Club.
It was at this meeting I realised The Growing Club may be a great option for me as a business training course.
Since 2013 I had been running my own recruitment agency business from home and at that time, was starting to feel very isolated with no-one to speak to when I came up against any problems or issues.
Running a business from home can be a very lonely business and often it was the absolute quiet which I found disturbed me the most (and the distraction of last night’s washing up or the cats needing feeding). I realised I was not being as successful as I wanted due to my lack of focus and often it seemed like a great idea to ‘pop’ into town or buy some clothes online..anything but doing some work.
I had reservations about The Growing Club, worrying if I would be the only business that was working with business-to-business, but after starting the course, I quickly realised this was the best thing I had ever done for me!
To invest in ourselves is often a very hard thing to do but from day one I realised I had been fortunate enough to find this unique course. Having 11 other like-minded businesswomen all trying to grow their business was inspirational. It was again quickly apparent that this was the thing that would launch my business properly and I loved my year with The Growing Club.
Shortly after finishing the course, I left my home office space to start working at Halton Mill, which is a co-operative co-working space. This again was a decision I was concerned about as it was more expensive to have an office but another ‘ah-ha’ moment was when I discovered that the more we professionalise what we do the more professional and successful it becomes.
I keep in touch with many of the women from The Growing Club course and my accountant is also a Growing Club graduate which is lovely as we get on so well and she understands and supports the financial side of my business.
My business has evolved in terms of its size and the number of clients and candidates that I work with. This is turn has led to an increase in turnover which has made a huge difference to my life.
Where would I be if I had not got involved with The Growing Club? I really am serious when I say I don’t think I would ever have taken the leap to find an office and take on staff if I had not have been on The Growing Club. I was low on confidence and focus and the course gave me this in a huge way. Running a business on your own is very hard and every single person needs support and encouragement, as without this, it is so easy to lose your way.
Looking back to where I was five years ago, as a person, I have changed so much. I am still as passionate as ever about helping people to find fabulous new jobs but I really know that I am adding value to many businesses in the area by matching up talented local people.
I love what I do and I feel that by being successful I can now easily give my experience to my industry. I also love the fact that I am a Director of the Growing Club and can now help other women to find the success that I have been fortunate enough to have.
If anyone had told me six years ago I would be writing this, I would have said they were crazy. I would never have foreseen that my dream of running a successful business was so easy in many ways to attain. I just had to believe in myself and let go of my safety net which was a job working for someone else. I hope I am a kinder more patient person since attending The Growing Club and I also feel a lot wiser and happier in myself.
To get the most out of the programmes that we run, I would say ask for support. Ask for help. Invite others to have coffee with you so you can discuss ideas. Attend as many workshops as you can and keep using the information you acquire to make your business a reality.
Finally, the best thing about running my own successful business is that I can now treat my family to make some amazing memories and in July, I took my Mum to the Ritz for her 80th birthday. This is what makes me work hard every day and without The Growing Club maybe I would never have been able to take her there.
If you want to find talented new staff, or, find a rewarding new job please see Mandy Blackwell Recruitment Agency Lancaster website.