After finishing at University in the mid-90s I found myself a job as a credit controller with a local firm. It was a good job, relatively well-paid and not too taxing on the grey matter. This set the tone for the next ten years of my life, although I did get married and move to London in that time but, essentially I just went from one finance related job to another. It was safe, secure but most of all it was boring!
Then in late 2006 I saw an advert on TV about training to become a driving instructor. I looked into it a little more and I was convinced that this is what I really wanted to do, my husband on the other hand wasn’t sure that giving up a safe comfortable job was the best idea I had ever had. We talked it through and despite his initial misgivings, he agreed to support me if it was what I really wanted to do.
It took me over a year to qualify as An Approved Driving Instructor, (falling pregnant shortly after starting the course slowed me down a little bit). Once I had qualified, my initial thought was to take the safer option and join one of the national driving schools as a franchisee, however, as I could initially only work part-time (as I now had a small baby to look after) financially it made more sense to try and go it alone. To say that I was a little apprehensive at the prospect of working for myself, after years of enjoying the relative ‘safety’ of a monthly salary, would be a bit of an understatement to say the least. But having given up a good job and spending a chunk of our savings on the training, setting up on my own was the only realistic chance I had, in my circumstances, to make a go of this.
I would be lying if I said that it wasn’t hard initially, starting a business from scratch is, (that’s what makes it ultimately so rewarding). Money was tight, and it took time to build up a reputation and a customer base. We made mistakes, sometimes it felt like taking two steps forward and one back but slowly and surely I got the hang of it, our reputation grew locally and in 2010 we actually took on a franchisee of our very own.
Now almost 4 years later, our driving school has five instructors and we cover all of North and West London. I am working harder now then I had ever done in the past however, I am doing something I really love and the satisfaction and confidence I have gained from being my own boss and setting up what is now a thriving little business means that I can genuinely say it has definitely been worth all the blood sweat and tears.
So if you have always thought about being your own boss and starting your own business, I can heartily recommend it. Of course you need to do your homework, research your potential market, make sure you have a good business plan in place then, take a deep breath and take the plunge! With a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work, it may be the best decision you ever make.
In 2007 after seeing an ad on TV she decided to pack in her job as a Credit Manager and retrain as a driving instructor, she qualified as an ADI (Approved Driving Instructor) in 2008 and started her business Drive2Pass School of Motoring.
She now works much harder then she has ever done before but really enjoys what she does and has a real passion for teaching people to drive, as a result of this, Drive2Pass SOM has gone from strength to strength and currently have 5 instructors working across NW London. See her blog for more tips and news!
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