Don’t Tell Me I Can’t… Start my own busi­ness at 47!

Sherry Can­non-jones ex­plains why it’s never too late to fol­low your dreams

Woman (UK) - - This Issue -

For some peo­ple, their light­bulb mo­ment hap­pens in the mid­dle of a meet­ing, for oth­ers it’s an epiphany in the night – mine came while I was scrolling my way through emails.

Alone at the lap­top, sud­denly it dawned on me, what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I was go­ing to set up my own busi­ness – and I wasn’t go­ing to let the fact I was 47 stop me.

I’d worked as a pri­mary school teacher since my 20s. I loved my job and had two sons – Jack­son in June 1996, fol­lowed by Louie two years later. Af­ter sep­a­rat­ing from their dad, life as a sin­gle work­ing mum wasn’t al­ways easy – but we’d share the chores at home and spend week­ends as a fam­ily. I met my now hus­band Scott in 2011 and when he pro­posed in 2015 I felt like I had it all.

But then in March 2016 my mum Jean got pneu­mo­nia. Af­ter stay­ing in hos­pi­tal for sev­eral months and sur­viv­ing a mini stroke, she passed away that Oc­to­ber. I was still griev­ing when my dad had a heart at­tack. As he re­cov­ered in hos­pi­tal, it be­came clear that he would need more help at home.

Dad moved in to live with us, but I knew hold­ing down a full-time job and be­ing there when he needed me would be im­pos­si­ble. Some­thing had to give. With Scott’s sup­port, I handed in my no­tice at work.

Al­most im­me­di­ately we no­ticed the fi­nan­cial im­pact. With just Scott’s wage as a crane su­per­vi­sor and the boys still liv­ing at home, we knew our sav­ings wouldn’t last long.

But I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Look­ing for mo­ti­va­tion, I be­gan read­ing a book on mind­ful­ness. I found it so in­trigu­ing, I signed up for a course. It was so help­ful – it felt like the mist was clear­ing.

I started to think about what I was good at, and what I loved – help­ing oth­ers. One day I saw some in­for­ma­tion about coach­ing through a net­work mar­ket­ing busi­ness. ‘I’m go­ing to start a coach­ing busi­ness,’ I told Scott, later that night. ‘I want to help peo­ple re­dis­cover what they want to do with their lives.’

He thought it was a great idea; but Jack­son, then 21, and Louie, 19, were a bit more scep­ti­cal! ‘Do you re­ally think it’ll take off?’ they asked.

The truth was, I wasn’t sure. Af­ter all, surely most peo­ple start new busi­nesses in their 20s or 30s. But I knew I’d re­gret not try­ing.

To get started, I used sav­ings to hire a designer who built me a web­site and a so­cial me­dia coach to help in­crease the in­ter­ac­tion on my Face­book and Instagram pages. Be­ing part of the net­work mar­ket­ing com­pany also helped me make bet­ter con­nec­tions.

I ploughed £1,500 into the new ven­ture. Of course, I had some doubts. A nag­ging voice in my head made me ques­tion my­self. ‘No­body will want me to coach them,’ I’d worry. But I had to prac­tise what I was preach­ing and ap­ply a pos­i­tive mind­set. Word about my new ven­ture spread across my so­cial me­dia plat­forms and in De­cem­ber 2017 I had my first client.

I knew that in or­der for my busi­ness to take off, I needed pos­i­tive tes­ti­mo­ni­als. So I didn’t charge my first few clients.

I worked with each one in­di­vid­u­ally and, if they needed emo­tional sup­port, I drew on my skills to help them.

In De­cem­ber, my story was pub­lished in Mumpreneur on Fire, a book fea­tur­ing 20 sto­ries about in­spi­ra­tional women.

Five months on, I love be­ing my own boss. I work around see­ing Dad, and when I get emails from clients, telling me I’ve helped them change their lives, there’s no greater sense of achieve­ment. A year ago I was the one who felt lost, it just goes to show how quickly things can change – for the bet­ter.

‘I love BE­ING my OWN Boss’

Sherry wanted to help peo­ple the mum-of-two is now a suc­cess­ful life coach

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