MINT Member Lockdown Reflections: Laura Thomson

by | Mar 23, 2021

One year on… say goodbye to the side-hustle…

March 2020 we added some new words to our vocabulary:

  • Unprecedented
  • Furloughed
  • COVID-19

One word is the most prominent for me because it changed everything I knew… furloughed, within a few minutes of hearing the word for the first time I was told that my job was affected. My initial response was tears, I’d been through redundancy before and it felt somewhat similar.

As it happened I was going through a stress risk assessment and management course with my employer at the time & looking back I was more poorly than I thought. It didn’t make furlough any easier for the first few weeks I was a bit lost; having worked full time since 16 I felt I had lost my purpose, I was walking, reading, looking after myself.

A few weeks in I decided to really concentrate on my business, a business I had been building up in the background while working full-time.
I designed some new greetings cards, ramped up my marketing on social media and kept going. Weddings were being cancelled but I still had freelance opportunities and some products I could sell.

Fast forward to May, MINT Business Club were holding a Taster Session on Zoom. I went along and immediately knew the community was the right fit for me, somewhere I could grow as a business owner.

In the summer of last year my business was still a hobby, it was a ‘side hustle’ and looking back, it had no vision. No vision for growth or the future, my vision was always just more clients and more sales.

Hop, skip and jump into July 2020

I was told my job was being removed from the structure and I was due to be made redundant. At this stage I did have a choice, to take a lower-paid design role or to walk away; given my terrible start to 2020, we had already made a decision that I wouldn’t return to work if my furlough came to an end, so you now know what decision I made, I took the redundancy.

This decision really hit home, I was going to make a real go of self-employment and see where I could take my business. It was difficult though, the pandemic was still making a nuisance of itself and weddings that were once a major part of my *side-hustle* were postponed until further notice.

I was attending all sessions with the business club, training & socialising with the community. Learning as much as I could, meeting new colleagues and gaining confidence in myself as a professional and as an individual.

The end of the year was pretty busy, I attended Fenwick Christmas Fair with LJD for 5 days. It was an absolute thrill to be out and about meeting people but also interacting as a business owner and making connections with customers and potential clients.

In January, I started bootcamp with MINT and quickly realised I couldn’t go on juggling as I had. I took stock of everything I had going on and I made a plan for the future. The plans were set in motion to split the business into two businesses, a product & wedding based business and a service-led business.

A year on…

Already in 2021, a whole year on since we heard the first words of “lockdown” my business has grown. With the new clarity of what the future looks like for myself and my business(es), I’ve been able to reassess what is right for me, and what works. I have more clients now than I ever expected this time last year and my business is growing from strength to strength.

This week I have had a call with a potential supplier that I’m looking to outsource with and last week I gave feedback at a pitch session with 6 entrepreneurs, something I would never have had the confidence to do.

I have a MINT community of colleagues to thank for that, and every decision and step I take now is giving me the confidence that I do know what I’m talking about and I’m not winging it.

My side hustle is no more, I am a business owner.

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook or visit my website.