As my big birthday looms I have been reflecting on this decade change and what my younger self would think of me at 50. I think 20-year old me would say “you took your time but you’re doing great!”
And yes, I probably did take my time especially for someone who’s always been in a hurry. I was 30 by the time I went to business school. I married at 35 and had my kids at 37 and 41. And that all seemed later than most at each point.
Even now I’m still in a hurry. I like to get things done straight away – which drives the rest of my house nuts.
Freelancing suits my always being in a hurry state of mind. In my early career it allowed me to progress quickly up the production ladder by jumping from production to production with a promotion each time.
The flip side of always being in a hurry is the perpetual question in my head “why am I waiting for someone to do this? I can do it better myself” and that’s where my entrepreneurial side kicks in.
The first obvious signs of this were during my time at Cambridge. Producing fashion shows were a big thing at the time and I fancied having a go, but my college, St. John’s, didn’t want to host one at their May Ball. Undeterred, I detected interest from Trinity College (our neighbours and arch-rivals!) in holding one at their May Ball so I merrily pitched a fashion show to them to which I got the go ahead. And was delighted when, after the event one of the organisers said to me “I never believed you’d deliver what you’d pitched to us originally but you did and it was fantastic!”
Fast forward a few years, I learned on the grapevine a company was interested in commissioning an animation project, so I pulled a team together and submitted a pitch. The pitch didn’t come off, but I it did get me a job offer!
During my freelance TV production years, I periodically considered starting a production company but was acutely aware I wasn’t the ideas person and would need a creative partner, and I never quite found the right match.
It was after INSEAD that I really launched myself properly as an entrepreneur when I founded Girls Angels, a motorbike training school that specialised in training women and I haven’t really looked back since.
I can’t help but chase opportunities when I see them, and the entrepreneur in me sees lots of opportunities. Over the years this has taken me to some exciting places – working with the British Council took me to destinations including Moscow, Macedonia, Izmir and Alexandria. Closer to home the excitement has been seeing the lightbulbs come on with hundreds of creative freelancers and entrepreneurs as I work with them transforming their ideas into a business reality.