I received an email a week or two ago from a young, aspiring entrepreneur who was keen for a bit of advice. I suggested she send me 5 questions and I’d send her my answers. This young lady’s eloquence and very apparent determination was inspiring, even just by email. So, below, with her permission, are the questions and their answers. Enjoy!
How do you approach risk in your career?
People often look at entrepreneurs and think that they are HUGE risk takers. In fact, great entrepreneurs are really good risk managers. I think taking risk in your career early on is really important as when you’re younger it is often much easier as your risk profile isn’t as limited. As you get older, you risk profile is likely to change. E.g. you might have kids or a house (or both) which often changes the level of risk a person is willing to take. When I was 21 and started Au Pair Link, we had nothing (other than student loans) so they couldn’t take anything away from us. When James and I started My Food Bag, while we’d just had our son, we still didn’t have a house so we were prepared to invest money in the business rather than get a mortgage. Many people thought we were crazy but it made sense to us!
What education did you pursue to put you on the path to entrepreneurship?
No specific education and I didn’t complete university. I think the lessons you learn in your formative years that are most important to entrepreneurship are more around being agile and building relationships with different people. I’d encourage anyone who is interested in entrepreneurship to look at opportunities to get involved with business and in your community.
What was your biggest challenge in setting up my food bag ?
Our biggest challenge was everything we didn’t know. Going into My Food Bag, we didn’t know anything about logistics, warehousing or food so we had to make up for those shortfalls. We made sure that we found the right experts in each field and through working closely together, found out everything we didn’t know!
What advice would you give to your 16 year old self about getting into business?
Well the first thing I’d say is that school isn’t always easy and while you’re going through it, it can feel like your whole world. But the truth is that once you leave school no one cares if you’re the cool kid or the geek. If you were great at maths or really average at science. In business attitude matters, emotional resilience matters and simply just your ability to start and take action really matters!
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
Even our hardest and worst days I don’t regret, they’ve brought us on this journey and made us who we are.