I love investing in and helping new businesses. I love seeing the enthusiasm and passion for the journey ahead on the entrepreneurs’ faces, I love to see optimism and fear all rolled into one emotion as they decide to take the leap into self-employment. But more than that, I love to see them succeed and see them achieve things that they never thought possible.
When I started Gocompare.com, I knew I had a good idea, I knew it was what the industry needed, but I never expected it to grow into what it did – and that’s what I love about the world of business, the unpredictability.
One day you can be on a high, sales through the roof and customers knocking your doors down – the next you are questioning why you’ve ever did it and whether you are going to pay next month’s mortgage. But one thing’s for sure, you learn a lot about yourself and about those around you when you start your own business, and that’s why I get such a great sense of satisfaction and joy from helping entrepreneurs.
For those eight years I ran Gocompare, I got to know myself very well and I discovered that I love the world of business, so much so that I couldn’t give it up. After the sale I had a few months off, but found that I was itching to get back, so doing what I’m doing now is my way of giving back, of returning the help and favours afforded to me when I first started out.
One thing I say over and over again when starting a business is to use your connections, get your little black book out and see who can help you and who you seek ask advice from. I did and look where it got me. I am now able to do the same for other people and it gives me a great sense of satisfaction and pride to see someone I have backed and championed stand on their own two feet and make their business work.
Sometimes the people I mentor need a reassuring ear that what they are doing or planning is the right thing to do, other times it is giving them the confidence to say no to a potential client or business proposition that they don’t need. Most of the time the entrepreneurs I work with know the answer, they just need a nudge in the right direction. When they bag that big contract or get that big retailer on board – there is no better feeling, knowing that I helped them out along the way.
Financially, I don’t need to invest in businesses, I don’t need to spend time away from my family talking and advising entrepreneurs – but for my personal satisfaction and enjoyment, I actually do. Business is what makes me tick, and although I may not be in charge of a multi-million-pound business anymore, helping out those who want to get to that stage is a wonderful thing to be able to do and one which I hope I can carry on doing for a long time to come.
By Hayley Parsons, founder of GoCompare and member of Welsh Government’s entrepreneurship panel