I’m a wife, and a working Mum who for the last five years has run her own business.
When I look back over the jobs I have done, I can see that I have gained lots of confidence in the various roles I have carried out, and I come from a family background where I became very self-sufficient at quite an early age.
I’m sure that much of the confidence I have in myself is down to the control, and feeling of being in-charge, which I’m realising is such a major part of who I am.
When I ask myself if I’ve always been confident, what I realise is that some of that exterior confidence is a bit of bravado, mixed with quite a lot of ‘jumping right in’ and a dash of “I know that I can pick things up really quickly, so let’s just wing it and see where it gets me”.
So I’m asking myself “Do I feel CONFIDENT?” – well the answer to that is the old 80/20 rule rearing it’s head again…80% of the time I do feel confidence: in my abilities to tackle the job at hand, learn the skills I might need to complete & do a good job. 20% of the time I might be questioning whether I can do something, whether I am the right person to be doing it and if it’s all actually going to turn out ok!
I’ve learned over 30 years that I CAN handle most of what is thrown at me in a work scenario – the times I have chosen to move jobs have been for new challenges or promotions, and only ONCE in all that time did I decide to get out because of a fairly difficult work colleague who made it awkward for our team to fully function when she was there.
I make conscious decisions to surround myself with people & work colleagues who have a positive influence on me, or my work. I enjoy working on my own initiative, working with others and leading teams.
Looking back at some of the managers I’ve had, I don’t even need a whole hand to count the ones who have motivated me and, for me, have been inspiring role models. What often happens is that a person is promoted to manage a team because they are technically very able, but they are hardly ever supported to learn the soft skills of people management – that can have a really draining effect on team & individual confidence. And let’s face it I don’t actually think many of them felt very confident in their abilities to lead.
Probably because I like to be in control, I can sense when others are finding it difficult, and I like to jump in and help out – I’m not sure that’s always the best solution!
In 2008 I was made redundant after being with the company 11 years, along with around 20 others across a couple of teams, it was a real shock to the system – lack of control you see (spotting a pattern anyone?)! For a week or so I felt really out of sorts and had no clue how to get my bearings. I took the time to enjoy my family, meeting my son from school and spending time with friends.
After a few weeks I began to realise that I was in a good position to try my hand at self-employment, and with the support of my husband and family I set about finding out how to go about setting up my company and grabbing hold of as many new skills and free workshops that Business Gateway could give me!
I can honestly say that during the first year of business it was the most exciting and scary time – I don’t think for even one moment I questioned whether I could do it or not…what I do remember is constantly evolving during that year, testing my products & services, the marketing messages I was using etc.
I was getting the confidence to continue from the success of running the business, getting new clients and meeting lots of new people.
I am often questioned about the fact that I seem to know lots of people and whether I had a large network of contacts and existing business that transferred to me from my old role.
I’m proud to say that 99% of the contacts that I had pre-My Pinkie Promise were based in Edinburgh & Glasgow, and south of the border – none of the work that I generated came from existing contracts or customers…I’ve built from the ground up.
I know that the work that we do is highly regarded, and that’s important to me from a personal confidence perspective – maintaining that quality, while gaining new customers and working on new projects is what inspires me.
I get real inspiration from the people around me, and role models in my life. I’ve got huge respect for two previous female directors that I worked for, who gave me enormous support and confidence in my abilities to succeed.
Many of the women that I now work and collaborate with give me confidence too – learning how they got to where they are now, or understanding that we all face the same challenges in running a business while juggling families & relationships serves to remind me that others have worn a path that I know I can follow, while doing it my with my own spin!
I’m absolutely an Optimist through and through – but I’m also an Opportunist. I may finally be beginning to believe that I’m a natural entrepreneur – now that I have the heady rewards of running a business, my antenna are SO switched on to new projects and exciting possibilities that I’ve no idea why my feet touch the ground as much as they do – confidence in myself is the key!
Guest article from Alison Henderson, My Pinkie Promise & Fraser’s Whisky Tastings
Alison has run her own business, My Pinkie Promise Limited, a marketing & events management consultancy, in Dundee for five years and manages the team from their city centre offices.
Before starting the company Alison worked in the corporate sector for over 20 years in a variety of roles, from relationship management; planning and arranging a range of corporate events to strategy, marketing and project management of all aspects of marketing and promotional campaigns.
Alison is Past Chair of the Women Ahead Businesswoman’s network and Vice-President of the Association of Scottish Businesswomen, and is passionate about helping grow the national network and expand the range of opportunities to promote, support and link women in business across
Alison recently launched a new business – Fraser’s Whisky Tastings – aimed at the corporate event market and business tourism. Outside of work, Alison is a wife, mother, an avid reader, social media-holic and Dundee United fan. She likes nights away, longs for more holidays and is addicted to her iPhone!
t: 01382 221078