Why I gambled | Jo @ Freckles

I started at the University of Bath in September 2010, embarking on a journey to study Economics and International Development. I was under the impression that I would study for two years, getting a high 2.1 all the way, before getting a big shot job on my placement year in the city working in finance, carrying starbucks and generally being busy before graduating with a first. Of course.

Needless to say my years at university did not go according to plan. I flunked an exam in both my first and second year, ending on a low 2.2. Thankfully someone handed me an olive branch and I managed to secure myself a job at Preqin working on the International Real Estate team for my placement year. It was during that year that I realised that the corporate lifestyle and I are not really suited. I wasn’t cut out for carrying a starbucks and generally being busy dashing around pavements. I prefer having a cuppa in my favourite Anthropology mug and a good stomp in the mud to clear my head and increase my afternoons productivity.

It was during my year at Preqin that I came up with the idea of launching a unique style of childcare. Whilst it may outwardly appear that the market is fully catered for, I know differently. Having experienced directly both the trials and tribulations that both the families I used to work for had been through, in their quest for finding suitable help. The help they needed was different but in both families it pivoted around slightly older children, school pick up times and cooking supper.

I used the requirement of a dissertation to carry out market research studying the potential employment market and toyed with the idea of making this idea a reality but it waned slightly as finals got in the way, it was furthermore pushed onto the back burner as I secured a job to work in Sierra Leone. It was an opportunity I couldn’t afford to turn down, but Ebola promptly turned it down for me.

By September 2014 I was well and truly jobless, although I did have a 2.1 under my belt! As I wasn’t driven by the city lifestyle, by the work or by the culture this left me with only one option. To risk to do something great or to not risk and do something I hate. Obviously I had to risk it.

Thankfully the families I used to work for, still hadn’t sorted their childcare situations (four years later) so were very happy to have me back in the game and earning some money. About a week after I had sorted my jobs I saw an email from Escape the City about joining The Startup Tribe - 100 people, 100 ideas, 100 days, 100 businesses. They wanted to see if by bringing together 100 people with startup ideas, if we would end up with 100 businesses. I can safely say that without them I would not be here today.

I travelled down for lectures and courses as frequently as work would allow. Constantly learning new skills, meeting new people and making new connections. I worked and worked on my concept, refining it numerous times as feedback steered it in various directions. Luckily my lack of experience played significantly in my favour, I was able to alter my concept without any problem, I was happy to feed off the experience of others but above all I was supported by an incredible network of people.

Some days, I cry. I bawl. I curse and yell and wonder why the hell I'm doing this. Why don’t I just get a regular job, be a regular person. Why don’t I follow the 99% of my friends who have gone to the city and have big shot jobs. Who drink starbucks and are generally busy. Why? Because I’m not like them. I see a problem and I have a solution. I took a risk. I gambled. Join me.