Sometimes we like to share a story of an experienced business woman starting a brand new adventure. Carlie Parkinson joins us today to share her 6 month old start-up story.
‘Our business Covet Girl showcases London’s hardest working women and their amazing businesses. It’s the who’s who and where to go guide, leading you through the unique neighbourhoods that make London special. From Brixton to Barnes, Holborn to Notting Hill this book will show you hidden treasures you didn’t know about and celebrates your favourite haunts.’
What drove you to start your own business? What was the turning point?
I have owned my own business in the past – a fashion and art market that I started in Vancouver after having been inspired by London’s amazing markets. When I knew we were returning to the UK, I drew on my experiences in Canada and realized that a project I completed in Toronto had not been done in London yet.
Who do you admire or look to for inspiration as a business owner?
As a business owner, I think it’s important to always look for inspiration and stay connected with other entrepreneurs. Networking and other simple activities can lead to inspiration. I also find that constructive criticism pushes me to improve, and the best ideas often come this way.
In terms of particular people that inspire me, I’ve always admired Richard Branson. I like the way he embraces new ideas and trusts his employees to carry things through. I have also been inspired by the many women I am getting to know for the book, they have an amazing passion and drive.
What are your goals for your business?
To complete the first edition of Covet Girl by Autumn 2013 and begin our second book covering Brighton and Hove on completion of the London Book. To develop a brand that is recognized as a resource for the best places to shop, the tastiest places to dine, and the most exciting events to attend.
What would you do differently next time around?
As we are in such early stages I do not have anything I would do differently yet, but I’m sure there will be some!
What difficulties and challenges have you had to overcome and how did you keep going?
The biggest challenge to date is launching a business as a mother. My previous business was launched when I had all the time in the world and now work-life-balance is a priority.
What legacy would you like your business to leave to the world and your family/friends?
I would like to leave a business that recognizes and celebrates female entrepreneurs.
What support did you seek out and what difference has that made to your business?
The support I needed in the beginning was a network. Going to the Women Unlimited business club was a great help as I made connections with great women and got their advice and opinions regarding my business.
How far ahead do you plan and what keeps you on track and motivated?
I like to have an annual plan that I revisit monthly. I get a strange sense of accomplishment from crossing things off my “to do” list, and I find it keeps me motivated.
What has been one big success that you have achieved in your business?
Getting started! Actually getting things off the ground and starting from scratch again was a big success. As all entrepreneurs know, the hardest part is launching, and we’ve had such a great response so quickly, it’s very encouraging.
What piece of advice has had the most impact on your business?
The advice was for me personally but had a huge impact on my business. I was feeling a little overwhelmed, and I had a great chat with another entrepreneur that really helped. She reminded me to live in the moment and focus on one task at a time – especially when it came to balancing the business with my family life.
What are your top 3 tips for someone who would like to start a business now?
Do your research – Everyone says it, but you really do have to have some sort of business plan before you get started.
Talk to people – I know people are nervous about sharing ideas early on, in case someone will steal it, but I’ve always found the best feedback has come from sharing my ideas. It’s especially helpful when you get someone who challenges your idea and really makes you think about the potential weaknesses.
Don’t expect to get rich quick – Starting your own business takes time, and there are many sacrifices you’ll have to make along the way.
What are 3 books, websites or resources that you would recommend to other business owners?
I would recommend business owners read The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur by Mike Michalowicz, INC magazine and follow inspiring people on twitter. I never thought twitter would be that useful, but it’s led me to a number of great articles and connected me with great people.
Web address www.covetgirl.com
How can people connect with you on social media?