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Teaching dance full time

Christine is clearly full of energy, but when I saw her six months ago she looked drained. Life in IT support in the City clearly wasn’t suiting her.

“For six months, I was just going to work, coming home, eating my dinner, and going to bed,” she says.

I saw her again a few weeks ago, and she was glowing. She’s gone full time with teaching dance, Pilates and Zumba. What a nice change to see!

Do discounts generate good quality clients?

My answer to this one is a resounding no!

It's weird, but it seems like the more you put yourself out to accommodate a client, the less they appreciate it. Go figure.

People I've given discounts to (or God forbid, a free treatment) seem to be more inclined to cancel appointments, show up late, or make themselves high maintenance in other ways.

Quality time at home with the wife

Simon* spends most of his time at home with his wife, and he clearly wouldn’t have it any other way.

“We’ve been together eight years, and we’ve spent genuinely the majority of that time together. Not just the majority of the evenings, or the majority of the weekends, we have spent a majority of that time together.”

“It’s just lovely. I can pop out of work and see my wife immediately.”

Simon’s wife also works from home, in her own business.

Decisions, decisions

Running your own business does seem to be an endless series of decisions. I love it, and I hate it.

Do I employ someone? Can I do this myself? Will this be better done by someone else? Can I afford the cost of this being done by someone else?

Do I want to take the company in this direction? Should I change from being a wholesaler to an agency? Is this bad for the business or is this good for the business? Does this realistically fit with how much capability I have? Am I ignoring that?

Going freelance

Nicki Defago left her full time job at the BBC in 2004, to work for herself.

She’d been there for twelve years and “I’d worked on programmes that I’d really wanted to work on and I think I just decided that I wanted a change. I wanted to manage my life a bit more.”

Going freelance has given her more variety, with shifts and contracts on BBC programmes, as well as writing magazine articles and running training programmes, and it’s clear that she’s very happy with her new way of work.

Running a small home bakery

When I first look at the website for Katherine Cowtan’s business,, my mouth waters and I have to pop downstairs and start making some lunch before dialling her number.

She started her bakery four years ago, after moving to a tiny Scottish village.

“I was always doing a lot of baking for the school and for events, and some neighbours said, would I be interested in baking for their new deli?”