Thanks to the internet, the barriers of entry to start a business are lower than ever. Couple that with a generation raised in a world economic turmoil, Gen Y have proven to be the most entrepreneurial yet. According to a recent report by oDesk, 72% of those still at regular jobs want to quit to be entirely independent, and 61% will likely quit within two years.
For that huge majority of you thinking about taking the leap, we spoke to young entrepreneur Emily Ko of online teacher resources website Reaching Teachers, who manages to juggle her job AND a successful business. We chat to her about what life as a working entrepreneur is truly like.
Emily, thanks for taking the time out to chat! Congratulations on your successful business. How did you end up taking the leap into starting your own business?
Hi Owen, thanks for inviting me! I would have to say the two keys are passion and determination. As a teacher, I am passionate about education and understand the difficulty teachers have with achieving work life balance. I was determined to ensure to the concept of not having to consistently “reinvent the wheel”. I wanted to make this into reality for teachers enabling them to collaborate their wealth of knowledge.
The other key is self-belief. I know what I am capable of, and know that failure and success go hand in hand. You just have to keep going and know what you can do.
Fantastic Emily! Do you have any particular inspirations that keep you going? .
Definitely. I’m inspired by the students that I have in my class over the years. Some of them have been brought up in unfavourable life circumstances. I have enjoyed working with them, encouraging them, seeing their exponential growth in learning and development and that is what inspires me to become a better teacher. It also keeps me passionate about what I do each day- to make change, whether it is one child or the whole class.
It sounds like you are extremely busy. How do you keep a healthy work life balance?
There are really three things I make sure of.
Ensure I consistently make time for friends
Training sessions has been great to achieve work life balance because it clears my mind from thinking about school and I can catch up on the news. Training in the morning allows me to ensure that I can do this consistently and this energises me for the rest of the day.
I block out time dedicated to relax and unwind in which I put aside all work related activities. I usually spend this time with my family or catching up on TV shows.
I also make sure I keep up with my hobbies. Going to the gym, trying new restaurants and shopping are three of my favourites.
Great Emily. For those aspiring entrepreneurs out there, what top 5 tips fo you have for them, in looking to start their own business?
Hmmm that’s a great question. There are so many! But these are what I would say are the most important.
Ensure that you surround yourself with people who support you and your ideas. There will be people who don’t understand what you are trying to achieve. Do not to be disheartened by their comments.
Pick your team wisely. Don’t try to master every area of your business. Surround yourself with professionals who are experts in their respective fields and have excellent track records.
Set small goals and celebrate each achievement. When starting a business often you will become overwhelmed and have unrealistic expectations of how the business should be performing. I have learnt to set goals regularly and recognise all achievements.
Never forget your “Why”. When you have a strong understanding of your ‘why’ and constantly remind yourself, it really helps during periods when you experience set backs or difficult challenges.
Don’t forget about you. It is important to schedule time to have a chance to look after yourself; physically, mentally and spiritually.
Thank you very much Emily, some amazing tips there. Great to chat to you!
You too Owen, thanks again. I hope it helps everyone who wants to start their own business!