Almost all of us have idly wondered about starting our own business, keeping our entrepreneurial fantasies safely hidden in our back pockets while slogging it out on the 9-5. But there’s a select few who choose to take the plunge, giving up stability, security, and 95% of their free time to devote themselves to building a business from scratch, gambling their career on a dream and a business loan. For many, it doesn’t work out: it’s thought that half of UK start-ups fail within five years of operation. Those that succeed do so through a combination of factors: great ideas, business sense, determination and more than a little good fortune. With that in mind, we’re bringing you some top tips on starting and growing your own business from those in the know.
Model and entrepreneur Danielle Copperman is the business mastermind behind the sugar-free, grain-free granola brand Qnola. The business idea came about organically (no pun intended) through the responses she received from posts about home-made recipes on her blog and social media profiles. This led her to identify a gap in the market, developing a brand and a product that was in line with her core values.
Danielle struggled at first, doing everything herself in a demanding first year that almost sunk the company. Eventually, she prevailed, building a successful business and popular brand, working with major retailers, importers and other brands that shared her passion. The brand is expanding into a lifestyle range of beauty and home products with further worldwide expansion planned for the future. Her advice for budding entrepreneurs centres around self-belief: “Be strong, believe in yourself, and know that there is no way to fail if you try your hardest and do what you want to do. The only way to fail is if you have too high or unrealistic expectations or absorb the pressures of the business world and let them determine whether you are successful or not. Success for me is being proud of my product, producing something honest and empowering and living a happy and full life.”
Entrepreneur and wellness guru Julie Montagu began her career teaching yoga, later branching out into TV and setting up her own yoga school. She’s the author of a highly influential food blog, The Flexi Foodie, which has since inspired a range of health-focused books. Montagu also believes in the power of self-determination in succeeding as an entrepreneur: “I think if you work really really hard, you can get there, but if you find your passion then I don’t think you ever give up. You also don’t expect to have it handed to you on a silver platter. If you start from the grass roots, it doesn’t matter if you have all the connections in the world… you still need to work hard. You also have to be authentic, approachable, kind and friendly, and people will gravitate towards you because they see that you really love what you do.”
These inspiring entrepreneurs can be booked for speech engagements and celebrity appearances through talent agency MN2S.