Up until this year I had the best job I’d ever had . . . until now.

I worked for the BGL Group (who own compare the market, Budget Insurance and Beagle Street to name but a few) as senior Visual designer. For those that don’t know, BGL is one of if not the largest employers in Peterborough and UK wide employs something like 3,000 staff.

The pay was good, the benefits were excellent and the people I worked with were among the best in the country . . .

So why leave?

I have always had a burning desire to work for myself, my aim was by the age of 40 to run my own successful business and be comfortably self sufficient – at the time of writing this I’m 35 . . .

Just over a year ago my wife (Emma) finished her maternity leave and decided not to go back to work in a busy and successful design agency. Instead I pushed her a little into giving things a go herself with the aim of making a little bit of extra money each month whilst I held the fort down with my regular paychecks.

At first things started slowly for Big Bear. Emma had just 15 hours childcare each week – alongside all the other aspects of running your own business, it was tough for Emma to get much client work done in this time, let alone to find time to bring in new clients.

But I had a belief, a gut feeling that once people saw her great work things would start to happen. Well, it did. After meeting an excellent network group in and around St.Ives and getting the confidence she needed, things quickly got much busier and Big Bear Creative went from strength to strength.

At the start of 2017 I said “At the end of this year I’ll come and work with you if you’re making enough money” . . .

The end of the month soon changed to November, then September, then Summer . . . then tomorrow!
And that was it – 4 months into the year I was sat next to Emma wondering what I had done 🙂

Burnout is not cool . . .

We were both working hard up until then, I was effectively working 2 jobs and the work life balance was, let’s say very out of whack . . .

I realised that there’s more to life than money, that spending quality time with my family was even more important. I also believed (and still do) that we as business owners should try to help others around us, by offering our expertise and sharing knowledge.

Now I am away from the hectic corporate life I have had my eyes opened to a whole new world. We get to work with some fantastic people and get involved in their businesses. We have a much better work / life balance and I get to spend more time than I ever have with our little boy Noah.
Financially things are good also which is a bonus.

I think the reason I am writing this is I have already come to love having our own business. There is no feeling of dread when Sunday rolls around about work the next day, no mid-week slump and every time Friday comes around we wonder where the week has gone.

My advice for anyone thinking of starting a business is if you believe in your gut that it’s what you should do, there is probably something to it. I’m not telling you to go just quitting work on a whim, but think about what you want to do, spend time seeing if it stacks up financially and test the market to see if there is a need for what you’re offering.

Nothing replaces the feeling that you have made your own way or that you are supporting yourself. If like me you’re working away from home, never seeing your family and missing out on your kids growing up I highly recommend looking at trying something yourself. Gone is the 9-5, now we work around our life rather that trying to fit life in around work.

Happiness is at stake people, this is serious. Put your happiness first (with a lot of planning and a well thought-out business plan of course!!) and see what you can achieve.


Thanks for reading – as always feel free to comment below.

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