“I was lucky to have my illness diagnosed quite quickly and, although I wasn’t depressed, I did experience physical symptoms like extreme tiredness and aching limbs, meaning that I could only manage to work for a few hours a week. I knew I would have to make some changes in my life, so I started thinking about the jobs I could do that might give me the flexibility I needed.”
Sharon always had a passion for floristry and loved being creative, so she decided to research floristry courses and qualifications online and discovered a course being run nearby by a local college, which she signed up for straightaway.
Once qualified, Sharon started working temporarily for other local florists through an agency and it was during this time that the opportunity to acquire another florist’s business arose.
“I always said I would never have my own business as it’s really stressful and involves long hours: all the things you don’t like about your job! But I was in a situation where I had to do something, so I decided to go for it.
“When I started, I knew I needed to learn about things like accounts and the general running of a business. That’s why I came to Outset Cornwall, because I wanted to get on the right track and know how to do things properly.”
Sharon’s new business, Floral Fancies, combines her passion for floristry with her love of creativity, making and selling floral arrangements and plants to individuals and organisations from her premises in Perranporth.
However, starting a business is never easy, and Sharon experienced a number of setbacks, such as lack of funds and renting premises in a less than ideal location.
“I couldn’t get funding to help set up my business, so trying to make progress and stay positive was not easy. I couldn’t go out and socialise or anything like everyone else, and people don’t realise how difficult setting up a business is. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done!
“Through Outset, I’ve met some really good people and it’s been great because I’ve had so much support, even after I finished the course. I’ve had dilemmas about where I’m going to go in my business and how I’m going to get there, and the Outset advisers have always been there to guide me.”
Since launching her business, Sharon has seen trade increase dramatically, and has even employed an additional part-time member of staff.
“I think if you’re serious about starting a business, then you need to be serious about doing something like the Outset programme to get the help and back-up you need.
“My life is one hundred times better now, and I knew it would be, but I just had to get here. It’s been a struggle and a lot of hard work, but thanks to the support from Outset, I’m where I want to be and doing something I love, so I’m going to make the most of it.”