Now, we know that we do our jobs well. Each and every day we are a team of people who one simple mission in mind – To improve the lives of the women that we meet. But as you know, sometimes daily life gets on top of us all and that’s why it’s so amazing to be reminded of why we do the work that we do! Anne Pennington was just the woman for this and we couldn’t be more delighted to have helped her realise her dreams of self-employment!
Anne Pennington has one of those business that we hear about and think; ‘Now that sounds interesting!’ Anne is an award-winning researcher and leader in the use of insights in the public sector; she works with clients from across many different sectors from their first idea through their planning, design and implementation all the way to evaluation. And since launching her business has worked on an incredible variety of different projects including; a campaign to raise awareness of domestic abuse, a campaign to improve breastfeeding and even the massively influential campaign This Girl Can.
Prior to setting up her business Anne was a Principal Insight Analyst with Public Health Knowsley for 10 years and before that worked for National Museums Liverpool for 17 years as a Research Officer. She told us; ‘I had always been interested in working for myself but I’d never had the courage to make the leap from employment to self-employment. But when I took redundancy in December 2015 it was the perfect opportunity to have a go on my own. I was ready for a new challenge!’
The promise of a few contracts gave Anne the confidence to dive into self-employment, but not before she did some research to find out what organisations could help her. Going online she found out about The Women’s Organisation through Sefton Council’s website and got her first appointment booked in. Anne then began working with Business Adviser; Jo Mountfort and started the programme of support that we have to offer including courses, one-to-one advice and networking.
‘It was so easy to get involved with the start-up programme and when I visited for my first meeting with Jo, I felt like I was coming home. I then attended the courses and it felt like a great weight of worry was lifted from me because Jo and the rest of the team help to nurture your confidence and skills with their expert advice and encouragement.’
On top of the advice and support that Anne has received through her work with Jo and the courses that she attended, Anne has found that she’s been able to build a strong network of friendships through our Business Club! She told us; ‘It’s been great meeting all the other women and finding out what they are up to, their challenges and how they have overcome them. I love it when I can help them myself of put them in touch with someone I know who may be able to help them. I’ve made some lovely new friends and we meet to discuss how we are getting on and share experiences – both good and bad, so the support really does continue.’
And this added benefit of making great new friendships has really eased what could have been a difficult part of self-employment for Anne. Unlike other new female entrepreneurs that we interact with, it was not the tax or business planning that Anne struggled with; ‘I am well used to report-writing and dealing with organisations such as HMRC so I never really worried about preparing my business plan or dealing with the accounts side of things.’
‘The only aspect I did find particularly difficult to get used to was not going into an office every day and being greeted by lots of smiling faces and also working alone and not having anyone to bounce ideas off. This is where meeting others through The Women’s Organisation has been so beneficial. I can work hard for part of the day whilst looking forward to seeing them for the other part!’
And of course, now Anne is reaping some of the great benefits that being self-employed brings such as flexibility. In particular this has been beneficial as she has a daughter who is just about to take her GCSE’s. ‘She’s been feeling the pressure so it has been great to be around for her which is something I wouldn’t have been able to do so much when I was working.’ Anne told us that she is enjoying the definite finish point for projects and the fact that she gets to meet such a wide variety of people.
The future of Anne’s business is looking bright and she is feeling proud of the work she has done so far – as she should do! ‘I feel amazed that I have come so far and that I did it! I still have some way to go until I feel established, but if I have got this far then it should be no problem!’
If you want to find out more about Anne’s business then you can do so by using the contact details below.
And if you’ve been inspired by Anne’s story and would like some support starting your business, then get in touch with us! Ring us on 0151 706 8111 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org