In the Words of Nike "Just Do It "
by Sonya Poleon
Having worked in the Housing Sector for 16 years, I finally decided that it was time for change, in my role as a Housing Officer, I had on several occasions experienced threatening behavior from various tenants, these threats included getting my throat cut from ear to ear, being beaten with a piece of wood, being locked in to properties and many others.
Working in Housing was not easy and as the years rolled by, I worked hard at trying to reach my targets. At the of the year I would be informed that although I was good in many areas I would be penalized on the areas that I failed at. (if there are any Housing Officers out there, you will know that you could never exceed all your competencies).
Wrote my Resignation-Followed my Dreams
My manager always had good reports about me and I was doing really well then, one day we had a meeting and all Housing Officers were informed that we would “not get a pay rise”. Of course we challenged this but it was not over turned, I was angry and coupled with my thoughts, I decided it was time to go and chase my dreams. I spoke about it with colleagues who encouraged me to stay but the thoughts just kept on coming back, I needed to fulfil my dreams, I wrote my resignation, handed it into my manager who gave it back to me saying she would not accept it, but still the thoughts just kept on coming back so again I wrote my resignation and handed it in again.
I needed to fulfil the part of me that had other ambitions and desires, so off I went to University to Study my Degree full time. I resigned from permanent employment in the summer of 2002, I have since worked on a temporary basis till my business was able sustain paying me a salary.
Lettings Management Company
Having worked in the Housing Sector for a number of years, I grew fond of houses and I decided that I would set up my own business, so I researched relevant courses, booked myself on some property courses. Soon after, I set up my own Lettings Management Company. I had some leaflets printed and advertised my services, eventually got some properties to manage, at the beginning it was ok but as time grew, I noticed that people only wanted me to manage their problem tenants, so after about 2 years I closed that down. Starting the Management Company took very little money a few hundred pounds.
Property Developing Business
In the meantime I had started purchasing my own properties, I raised the finances from a property I had purchased some years previous and the equity had increased, I sold the property made a lot of money and bought a number of houses across England, at this time I didn’t have a strategy, I just did some research to see where the regeneration areas were in the UK and calling all the estate agents arranging viewings until I saw something I liked then I purchased.
Looking back now, I think I was crazy but at the time, it worked for me!
The Management Company didn’t really make lots of money, or should I say not enough for me not to continue to work. So I only took temporary contracts and when I was offered permanent work I always said thank you but I have a plan for my future.
Doing Something for the Community
By this time I was hitting my 40’s and I think maybe I had a bit of a midlife crises. A friend and I decided we wanted to do something for the community to make an impact so we decided we would open a Children’s Day Nursery. We spent 1 year researching and visiting other nurseries to see what a difference we could make. We found a building and went off to raise our funds against our own properties.
Nannys Day Nursery has now been running for nearly 3 years, it has been hard. Neither of us have childcare qualifications both our backgrounds are from the Housing Sector but we ploughed our way through and have learned lots. We have a good manager who runs the nursery; this has now allowed us both up to go on to do other things.
Our Newest Venture The Sole Lounge
September 2008 will I will be opening the doors to the public with my new shoe shop called Sole Lounge.The shoe shop has taken longer than I anticipated, at first it was just an idea but I took it to the next level.
A few years ago I was asked to speak at a Business Seminar, at the same time I attended the customer focused seminar, I soon learned that all participants at the seminar were seeking to start a new business and it appears that I was the only one that had already started a business. The facilitator went round the room asking everyone what their business idea was, because I didn’t want all eyes on me I said I was going to open a shoe shop!! It was something that just came into my head at that time and since that seed was sown it germinated and will be born on 27th September 2008.Because I had several rented properties, I was in a position to sell to raise the capital needed in order to finance this venture.
Best Advice For Others
In the words of Nike “Just do it”.
Don’t be afraid of failure because it’s not final
Nothing is easy in life but if you persist at whatever it is you want it will surely happen, if at first you don’t succeed try and try again until something happens.
What does it take to be a entrepreneur/small business owner
Someone that is persistent, someone who is willing to take risks, someone that is positive no matter what the outcome is.
Happiness keeps you Sweet,
Trials keep you Strong,
Sorrows keep you Human,
Failure keeps you Humble,
Success keeps you Glowing,
But God keeps you Going!