From Redundancy to Resourcefulness: Ann Little’s Story

From Redundancy to Resourcefulness: Ann Little’s Story

I Thought I Was Happy
I’ve always wanted to be my own boss, but when I was in a full-time job it paid for the bills and paid for my lifestyle; there wasn’t enough motivation to take the jump out of my comfort zone. After university, I went into retail, retail management and customer service. My favourite thing throughout all my jobs was helping people. My last employer was a small family business, and it gave me the opportunity to take on tasks across the company and not be confined solely to my role as Customer Service Manager. I thought I was happy, I thought I was challenged, I thought I was fulfilled.

In 2014 I went on maternity leave to have my son, expecting to go back to work. While I was on maternity leave the company went downhill; it went into administration and all staff were made redundant. At the time it was a shock, it was stressful, and to make it worse no one in the company had the decency to actually tell me what was happening, they simply stopped paying me. At this point, I couldn’t foresee that this was the best thing that had ever happened to me.

When the redundancy had sunk in, decisions needed to be made for the future. I had 3 choices; find a new job, be a stay at home mum or start my own business. I applied for one job, but my heart just wasn’t in it. I didn’t want to be a stay at home mum, I wanted to work. That left one choice. I started thinking about what I wanted to do – that took quite some time! Being addicted to To-Do lists, naturally organised and able to put my hand to most things, I was guided down the VA route. It felt right.

Settling Into A New Role
I’d decided that I wanted to be a VA, and then started the research into opportunities and local competition. It was then that I came across the Pink Spaghetti website, and I saw that they had franchise opportunities – that’s where my VA story started. I am cautious by nature, so there was more research, deliberations and conversations with my husband about the future. I applied, went through an interview process and knew as soon as I was offered the franchise that the answer would be yes! And then came the hard work...

I chose to buy a franchise as I wanted the support and the established business model. Looking back I think I went in a bit naively, but I didn’t know then what I didn’t know. I have never been afraid of hard work and always go the extra mile, but there were unexpected challenges, things I didn’t know to expect. These are the things that have made me more determined. I chose this route because it had the potential to fit around my family, to fit with the hours I wanted to work, and in reality that has turned out to be completely true. One of my first challenges was child care, and that took a while to be ironed out. My flexibility and discipline were tested, and at one point I had a timetable for the week so I could clearly see when I could fit work in.

Overcoming Challenges, and Loneliness 
Loneliness was also a challenge to start with; no one tells you that working for yourself at home can be isolating. Business networking was my saviour. Getting out, meeting like-minded people and building relationships, all while I was pitching my business made a huge difference. I can’t recommend networking enough to any small business owners; I have made friends and business connections, and the majority of my clients come through networking. The first year was tough, satisfying but tough; it was a huge learning curve. There were ups, there were downs, and all my experiences have, good and bad, have made me stronger. Through the second year I have faced challenges, overcome obstacles and celebrated success.

Year one let me build a strong foundation, and in year two I built on that. At a recent company-wide conference, I won an award for the highest growth, year on year. A very proud moment, representing how far I have come on my journey as a small business owner. I have learnt a lot and evolved over the last 2 years, and each lesson has been invaluable. I do sometimes feel like I work more than when I was employed, but every minute of it is for me and my family, not an unappreciative boss! An unexpected but fabulous side effect of being self- employed is that it has brought out my “Go-Getter” side; a resourcefulness and tenacity has been uncovered. I have really pushed myself. On the personal side I have taken up running, and now run 5K races for fun, this girl really can! On the professional side, I identified that the networking opportunities in the very local vicinity were limited; to combat this I have started my own networking group that fills a gap. My business will continue evolving, and I’m looking forward to the journey

Learn more about Ann and her business here! 

Ann Little

Ann started her business, Pink Spaghetti Luton Bedford and Surrounds, in April 2015 and helps small business owners and busy people reclaim their time. Ann is on-call for all outsourcing needs from social media management and office administration to research tasks and gift wrapping, and everything in between. She’s a very proud mummy to Jamie and Flash the cat, the office companion, must also get a mention.
Ann Little

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