- NameCarolyn Pearson
Maiden-voyage.com is the world’s only specialist network for female business travellers, connecting members in over 80 counties as they travel on business.
What encouraged you to join Entrepreneurial Spark’s people accelerator programme?
I was in an episode of Fortune Hunter TV and saw Jim Duffy and Gordon Merrylees of RBS talking about Entrepreneurial Spark. I researched it to find out more and knew immediately when I attended a workshop that I definitely wanted to be a part of the programme.
Since joining Entrepreneurial Spark how have you seen your business change?
I have turned over more in the last quarter than I did in the whole of last year. That was as a result of closing down one revenue stream that was really hard work for very little reward, and taking a leap of faith to launch another one that is much more profitable. We’ve also launched our Female Business Travel Safety training, delivered on behalf of UKTI to encourage more women into export. Maiden-Voyage is a much more grown up organisation now, with a proper accounting system, a visiting office and a place where our interns can work. It’s far more professional than hanging out in a media cafe.
As an entrepreneur how have you changed since joining Entrepreneurial Spark?
I’ve got my sparkle back! I had underestimated how difficult it was to run a business working from home and how small my world had become. I absolutely thrive in this environment and it has given me even more confidence to push on with the big stuff. As a result, I’ve finally started the investment rounds that I was too nervous to tackle by myself.
If you could give budding entrepreneurs three tips what would they be?
Be ‘socially brave’, if you don’t ask you don’t get. It takes the same effort to open a big door as it does a little one, so go for the big one.
Make sure you are selling a product that somebody wants to buy and then learn how to sell it, without sales you don’t have a business.
Look after your ‘whole self’ – body, spirit and mind. If you fall over, your business isn’t going to get very far.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from your mentor?
“You can’t pay the bills with somebody else’s opinion of you” which means trying to always be liked, and doing things for free is not a sustainable recipe for a business.
If you were to describe Entrepreneurial Spark in three words, what would they be?
Priceless, liberating, empowering.