WRITING THE SECOND ACT OF YOUR CAREER IS SCARY AF BUT YOU SHOULD DO IT ANYWAY
3 MIN READ
Changing careers, going out on your own, starting a business – it's all scary AF, especially when you're in your thirties. Laura Weldon did all three when she walked away from a successful media career to open her own coffee shop Honey Honey.
Here, she shares some of the highs, lows, and "what am I doing?" moments she's experienced along the way, and offers some insight for anyone considering making the leap themselves.
I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit and knew I wanted to be my own boss one day. I started my career later than most of my peers so I put pressure on myself to get an office job and do what everyone else was doing. I liked the fast paced-ness of the digital media industry and being part of a team, but I didn't like the rigid structure or sitting at a desk all day – it all felt very unnatural to me.
When I looked at the career progression in media I wasn't interested at all. At one point I actually thought about having a baby just so I could get time off work. Imagine! I knew then I needed to quit. I didn't dwell on it, I just walked away.
I had a very clear idea of what I wanted to do and how I was going to go about doing it. I have always worked on and off in the service industry and loved it. All my business ideas have been food- or drink-based!
I needed to save money and wait for the right location, so I spent the next year planning. I'm deeply thankful for all that Excel experience I gained in media – it made things easier and a lot more organised.
The most difficult part was getting the actual space. Navigating the estate agent, the solicitor, all the formalities involved – I had to jump through a few hoops and it was quite tedious. I started to have doubts at that point, but I kept going and now I understand the process. I'll be more prepared if I have to do it again.
My family helped me prepare for opening. We cleaned second-hand kitchen equipment, reupholstered chairs, painted, built IKEA furniture – everything!
Now Honey Honey is up and running, the most fulfilling thing for me is chatting and interacting with with my customers. They keep me smiling all day! Seeing people enjoy what we are offering is so rewarding, even if it's just a cup of tea – I feel so proud.
My biggest challenge is finding a management style that works for me. Being the owner and manager requires a different type of management, I think. Spending time in a professional role has given me more confidence in dealing with people and communicating, but I naturally hate confrontation. I feel that personality trait is holding me back from being as effective as I can be. I'm learning though, and I see every day as an opportunity to do better.
For anyone thinking about choosing a different path, know that it's hard, but you can do it! Once the wheels are in motion you just need to keep doing what you need to do to get to the next stage. You'll be surprised at what you end up achieving.
Some of the advice you'll get will be invaluable, but taking on too many opinions can make you question yourself. Most people are afraid and will reflect that onto you, so don't take it on board. Be open to suggestions, but ultimately do what you are comfortable with. Stay focused and go with it.
Everyone's career path is different. I wish I had known that, or been taught that, sooner.
Interviewed by Dee Behan
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