City firm, Solicitor, London
|Starting a business - The Urban Garden|
Career Change Story
I left law and set up The Urban Garden, an online store for all your stylish garden and indoor needs. I was extremely unhappy as a lawyer. I found the work dull, repetitive and very limiting - there was no outlet for my creativity. I knew very early in my legal career that I had no desire to be a partner, although it took a little longer to work out that being a lawyer in-house wasn't for me either.
I was motivated into leaving law as I knew that it wasn't viable to be that unhappy in a job. You spend most of your time at work - you might as well do something you enjoy. Had I loved working a a lawyer, I would have stayed a lawyer.
I did a lot of research into various businesses, for a couple of years, prior to leaving the law. When I left S&S, I was ready to hit the ground running. I made contact with my local Business Link, in the Portobello and they were invaluable about providing advice and common sense.
In terms of the practicalities of starting an online business, I sourced a graphic designer - this was probably the most difficult area as it was challenging to find someone whose work I thought was brilliant, whom I could work with and who had vision. I did a lot of research into which CMS system to integrate with the website and then visited lots of companies to see their systems in action. I also visited lots of fulfilment companies - ie companies to whom you outsource the warehousing, picking, packing & dispatching of orders. I visited trade shows, contacted suppliers about being a potential stockist. I found a good photographer to photograph the products for a catalogue, which I designed with the graphic designer.
Career Change Reflections
Do as much research as possible into your chosen field. Who are your competitors, why do you think your business will work etc.
Speak to as many people as possible before setting out on your own and pick as many brains as possible.
There is loads of government help and advice for starting a new business - use it!