Joy spent 10 years as a Legal Conveyancer—but wanted to do something more creative. “I looked around one day and thought to myself, ‘Joy do you realize that shortly you are going to be the eldest one around here?’ I didn’t feel enamored with that thought.”
One day she was driving to work, stuck in traffic, thinking, “What am I doing? This just isn’t me.”
She was passionate about interiors and fabrics, and all her life she had dreamed of owning her own store. A simple quote, and her desire for change helped her decide to leave the security of her steady wage.
“I had read the quote, ‘Don’t make a permanent decision for a temporary feeling’ but I knew my feeling would not be temporary. I was determined it would not be, and I would not let it be.”
Her long-range vision was always to start up a successful interior design business. However, before branching completely on her own she brought into a franchise operation called Biggie Best.
“Buying the franchise was a great way for me to learn the skills required to be in business on my own. Because of all the backing of head office, and the fantastic systems and support I received, I was able to build my confidence as well as gain some experience, which all helped me to know with certainty that going out on my own in this industry was something I really wanted to do.”
Reinventing Joy Again
Joy’s desire to bring in more diverse stock clashed with the franchisers strict control forbidding diversion from their theme. It became clear it was in both their interests for her to gradually transition out of the franchise.
Joy was excited to finally be able to step into her own independence and opened her own interior design store, Maypole Interiors.
“I had no idea whether it would be successful or not but I was following a passion, and I knew I could pass that passion on to other people who did not have the same exposure to things beautiful.
I found the right product for the right market by finding the wholesale distributors who imported the things I loved.”
Joy says hard work supplies energy if you love the work you are doing. She believes it is virtually impossible to run a good business if you have other things to concentrate on.
“A business takes full concentration. There is no room for anything else if you are to be successful. It cannot be played with.”
Maintaining some balance came naturally, she says. “My family was independent of me, and my husband was fully supportive. He loved the business. Cobwebs did appear—and stay—in the house.
Natural Talent and Good Management
Her beautiful window dressing, natural talent, great fabrics, products and success with clients meant finding clients came easily.
Joy never trained formerly as an interior designer, but had a natural talent for interior design and a passion for creating beauty. Something another astoundingly successful interior American-based designer Barbara Barry also shares.
Joy says her secret to success, managing cash flow, and generating regular income lies in keeping good records of sales every month and through the year.
Other strategies that contributed to her success, she says were: “Having budgets set for both staff and myself of daily sales, knowing how much has to go through the till every week, and if not reaching that target working harder on shop displays and advertising.
Always presenting yourself well, being honest, truly honest with people when they were looking for something, even putting them off and losing a sale if you knew the product wasn’t right for them and having a smile to greet them no matter what you were feeling”, were also effective she says.
Be Brave and Fully Passionate
Joy’s advice to others thinking of starting a business is:
- Be brave, but don’t start a business without being fully passionate about what you are trying to achieve.
- Don’t do it for the money. Do it because you feel you can make a difference and make a happy experience for your customers.
And her steps to self-employment?
“They say you should have a business plan. My plan was only to make my shop irresistible.”
If she could have done anything differently Joy says she might have moved to a different location where there was more foot traffic. “Location is perhaps the most important when you have a physical store.”
Following the death of her husband, Joy, now in her 70’s, decided to change the way she ran her business and works from her beautiful home, consulting for wealthy clients. She has also designed and had a self-contained cottage built on her inner-city Wellington property. In addition, she also runs a business through Airbnb where she shares her uniquely beautiful home with appreciative guests from New Zealand and overseas.
What You’ve Learned So Far
- Not everyone is suited to being self-employed; but don’t prematurely discount it as a viable option
- Starting small and starting something on the side may wet your appetite, give you confidence and intensify your desire
- Start smart before you travel too far toward self-employment. Be sure to assess the pluses and minuses, learn from other people’s mistakes, and plan for success
- Don’t assume you need to go into debt to begin—take the pressure off and look for more affordable ways to get started. You can always invest more capital when your profits begin to soar
- Keep an eye on cash-flow, and ensure you have access to a line of credit for emergencies
- Commit to ongoing growth—personally and professionally
- Determine which of the six ways to employ yourself suit you best
- Be courageous, brave and passionate. It’s worth it!
Lack of money doesn’t have to hold you back. Let’s look at how financing your career can be more affordable than you think.
This was an excerpt from Mid-Life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself
Start a business on the side while holding down your job. Or take the leap to self-employed bliss. Choose and grow your own business with confidence. This handy resource will show you how.
#1 Amazon Best-Seller. Available in print and eBook—getBook.at/EmployYourself