We hope you are really enjoying our FemaleFounder series here on our blog because this week, we have a woman who epitomises determination.
Meet Jennifer Kay, CEO of “The Mini Interior Design Company”. Jennifer’s company offers online interior design expertise in the form of modern, affordable and beautiful furnishing products. As stated on her website, her company believes ‘Home is where the heart is’.
As a Female Founder, Jennifer has lots of inspiration to share. In her post, she gets personal and discusses how starting her own business was risky and scary. After being in her last job for a number of years, starting her business was the definition of hitching one’s wagon to a star. In addition, Jennifer speaks of how she is constantly learning new ways to make her business better, how to further understand her customers and ways to improve the service she provides.
Check out The Mini Interior Design Company on all the interwebs. Follow their Twitter.
1 Why did you start your business? What spurred you on?
When I had my son, I was given a different outlook on life and I realised that I should be doing what I love. I had a passion for Interior Design and I had the qualifications, so what was stopping me before? Well, firstly a lack of self-confidence and secondly, the fear of the unknown. I had been doing the same job since uni, working for large organisations, but it never really suited my personality nor did it reflect who I was. Despite this, I was afraid of leaving that comfort and security. So setting up my own company seemed like a pipedream so I put it off; until I realised I owed it to myself to at least try. If I hadn’t of given it a go, I knew I would have always regretted it.
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Green and Pink – definitely one of my favourite colour combinations for the home 😍. What’s yours? . Pic from @elledecor . #homedecorationideas #homedecorstyle #homedecordesign #interiordesigngoals #interiordesignhome #modernhome #interiorforinspo #ihavethisthingwithcolour #dailydecordose #interior_and_living #colourinspiration #interiordesignideas #homedecorideas #homeinspo #interiordesigninspo #homedecorideas #homedecorinspo #decorlovers #worldofinteriors #colourcombo #inspire_me_home_decor
2 What are the unique challenges you have faced as a female founder?
Balancing work and family. I started the business when I was in full-time employment so that was certainly a challenge. It still can be, but you get better at organising and allocating time to the different parts of your life.
If I hadn’t of given it a go, I knew I would have always regretted it.
3 What were the 3 steepest learning curves during your first year in business?
1. Due to the nature of my service, knowing who my exact customer is has been tricky. I generalised this too much initially. I am learning more about who that person is specifically and focusing my content on them now, which makes things a lot easier.
2. Spending time on the right things. This sounds a bit obvious but at the beginning, I was so overwhelmed by all of the tasks on my action plan and the wealth of advice I received from so many different sources. It can be difficult to direct your time and efforts on what is right for your business. I am still figuring out what works for my business and what doesn’t.
3. Spending money in the right places too. For example, earlier on I tried a few magazine ads that I should have thought more about. Like the above, you learn what doesn’t work for you but it can take some trial and error.
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Stylish decor at @109allerton. Calming neutrals and greys with hints of copper. Staff were lovely and everything on their healthy menu looked delicious. Decided on Eggs Royale made with a healthy hollandaise, yum! . #restaurantdecor #stylishdecor #liverpoolrestaurant #healthyfood #healthyrestaurant #eggsroyale #liverpoollife #copper #calmingcolours #colourscheme #interiors #restaurantinteriors #decor #metallics #moderndecor #moderninteriors #decortrends #neutraldecor #grey #liverpoolbusiness #liverpoolrestaurants
4 What is your favourite thing about founding your own company?
Being happy in my job. Doing things my way means being able to be myself. I benefit directly from success and if I make mistakes along the way, they are my own to resolve.
5 What is the best business advice you have been given by someone else?
Just to keep learning about everything. Again, I know this sounds obvious but there is so much to know and it is continuous. I feel like I have learnt so much in the last year but also like I know so little because it never ends. You can always learn more.
6 Do you ever suffer from Imposter Syndrome? If so, what do you do to tackle it and move forward?
Yes 100% and quite often, so I think about all of the different people in the world who have their own businesses big and small and think if they can do it, why can’t I?
7 What’s the best book on business you’ve read?
I tend to read books that will help me with specific aspects of my business rather than business overall. The last book I read was The Million Dollar Blog by Natasha Courtenay-Smith. I definitely needed help in this area and it was a really good read. It gives great advice and there are lots of interesting case studies about real bloggers and how they have built successful businesses out of doing that alone.
8 Tell us about another brilliant business woman you think our readers should know about
I am currently watching Jasmine Star‘s videos and taking part in some of her free online courses so I would say her at the moment. She is an international wedding photographer, and also a marketing expert who has a great success story. So far I am finding her advice really useful when it comes to social media etc.
9 What piece of advice would you give yourself if you were starting your business now?
Don’t compare yourself and your business to others. Every business and business owner is different.
10 If you were working with a marketing budget of £1,000 what would you spend the money on?
A video of my full service from start to finish but featuring one of my real customers. It would show the process of them using the website, then receiving their design, followed by actual footage of their before and after rooms, rather than photos. Like a little film.