“Fake it till you make it” – You can look the part even if inside you are freaking out!
Sue Davies started her business in 1998 after looking for something she could do from home and balance once she had kids. She came across Business Expo and thought it was a good business that wasn’t going to break the bank, so she gave it a shot. Sue has now owned her business, Impress Promotions, for 22 years, where she provides customers with access to Australia’s largest range of Promotional Products!
The idea of Impress Promotions came about at a business show where Sue thought, “I can do this.” As she looks back, she loves the fact that her business started with nothing and grew to an easy to run business that works off repeat work and word of mouth. Sue has loved working from home and being present with her kids, who are now almost 17 and 20. Now, after 22 years, the isolation of working from home has finally got to her. Ideally, Sue hopes to transition to working on her business outside of her home and, one day, fulfil her love for travel by hitting the road and seeing where life takes her.
Sue would advise anyone thinking about starting a business “to go for it,” write down your goals and surround yourself with like-minded business owners.
Who’s your favourite entrepreneur and why?
Richard Branson. Having read some of his books, I love the way he just comes up with ideas and has the guts to go with them. He surrounds himself with the most knowledgeable people who know how to get him where he wants to go. He came up with his first business whilst living on a canal boat in London as he couldn’t afford more. Plus I am very distantly related to him!
Why did you start your business and what gave you the idea?
I started my business in 1998. I was looking for something I could do from home and be able to have kids and be there for them. I didn’t really have any type of business in mind as I was the sort of person that would give anything a go and work really hard to make it work. I came across the idea at a Business Expo earlier in 1998 and thought it was a good business I could run from home, wasn’t going to break the bank to get into and why not. So I packed my bags, went to Alaska (number 1 bucket list country) and then came back and got stuck into it.
What do you enjoy most about running your own business?
I loved being able to be there for my kids when they were little. I love never having to be accountable to anyone but me. I love the fact that “my baby” (the business) started with nothing and grew to an easy to run business that works off repeat work and word of mouth business.
What three pieces of advice do you wish you’d been given when you started?
- Ignore those who think that because you work from home, your business doesn’t count. Hopefully things have changed over the last 22 years and it is not as bad now as it was back then.
- Learn as much as you can and listen to people who are willing to help – and there is a lot of people willing to help.
- There is no such thing as a business that runs itself – you have to work bloody hard, but the rewards are worth the early pain and suffering.
What advice would YOU give someone thinking about starting a business?
To go for it. Write everything down – how you are going to get from starting to running and everything in between. Surround yourself with other business owners – especially women who do the same thing as you – eg, run a business from home etc, and listen to everything they have to say. Be part of enterprises like Business Enterprise Centres that help startup business. And when I started business, I had a post-it note on my computer screen that said “Fake it till you make it” – you can look the part even if inside you are freaking out!
What skills and knowledge areas would you recommend those starting out in business get acquainted with quickly?
Anything to do with the background of the business – accounts, tax, gst and all the legal things you need to have in place before you even start. Learn how to be confident in your ability to make things work, to sell, to market yourself etc.
What does your IDEAL business look like? Even if you’re not there yet, what would it look like if your business was ideal?
Good question. My business was ideal for years and suited my lifestyle at the time, but now not so much and the isolation of working from home has after 22 years, finally got to me. So somehow my ideal business would now be less time working in the business at home and more time either working in the business outside, or having a life in other ways outside.
What problem does being a Member of the HerBusiness Network solve for you and your business? And, how?
Being a member of HerBusiness has given me a kick to be a bit more motivated. Having lost at least 50% of my income due to COVID, by the end of last year, I had also lost 100% of my motivation. Being able to talk to other women, listen to their stories (which some are very similar to mine), get motivated both in my business and coming up with solutions for other member’s business, has been great. It makes me a bit more accountable.