Follow members on their journey

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Do you miss the thrill and excitement of starting a new self-employed business? Or perhaps you’re thinking about working for yourself for the first time? While you can pick up tips from more experienced consultants, contractors and freelancers in our Self-Employed Journey series, our new series of self-employed journeys will follow six volunteers as they begin building and growing their new businesses.

Based across the UK, you’re sure to identify with at least one of our new self-employed journeys, whether it’s Katie Lee and Becca Barnard building companies in their 20s, or Colin Campbell developing a consultancy in his early 60s.

And each individual story is fascinating and inspirational. Mark Reynolds left school at 18 to become a lumberjack, and decades later he now works to improve the safety of road users by not only assessing road restraint and hostile vehicle mitigation systems, but also chairing a National Highway Sector Scheme.  His self-employed journey was sparked in 2020 by the early signs of burnout working for a large company, and now he’s able to focus on improving the situation for everyone in the industry.

At one end of the spectrum, Becca Barnard has jumped into self-employment in 2022 having just completed her Masters in Publishing and Book Culture. Inspired by seeing her father grow his own business as an engineer, she’s launched a book publishing company in North Wales to focus on unpublished and LGBTQ authors.

Whereas Colin Campbell has become self-employed for the second time after returning to a full-time role to build his skills and knowledge as a Salesforce and business systems consultant supporting digital transformation at a strategic level. And with the confidence of knowing the industry well, he’s able to set his own priorities, whether that’s miniature wargaming or going sailing.

Helping others is important to both teachers featured in our self-employed journeys, but Maxine Binger and Katie Lee are approaching the challenge in different ways. Londoner Maxine has created a startup to encourage and transform the reading experience of children in creative ways, based on her 14 years of experience as a teacher, and the inspiration of multiple Olympic athletes in her family. Whilst Katie has built up a tutoring business which helps students struggling with confidence, self-esteem and motivation. But she also wants to provide mentoring to support student teachers as her company scales up.

Becoming self-employed can be a scary experience, but risk-averse Pam Taylor took advantage of a redundancy package to pursue a long-term dream of creating her own business. And with plenty of experience in project management, securing her first contract has already boosted her confidence of securing future work, and coping with the peaks and troughs of contracts. As well as providing time to pursue hobbies including belly dancing, walking, and swimming.

Hilary Brown has moved into self-employment working for the government after a career in the civil service and with the police. As a project, program and portfolio manager, it allows her to work at a more strategic level in both the public and private sector, solving problems for smaller companies as well as larger organisations.

By following the self-employed journey of each person, you’ll get a real insight into starting and growing your own business, and how they have been helped and supported by IPSE membership, including our Incubator program. Along with how they’ve been inspired by heroes ranging from Steve Jobs to Jackie Chan, or the ways that self-employment has allowed them to manage their physical and mental health more effectively. Whether that’s being flexible with working hours to spend time looking after three children, making time to play strategy board games with a group of friends, or catching up on the latest Marvel and Star Wars films.

You can find out more about each individual in our self-employed journey series with our first in-depth interviews, and then follow their progress over the coming weeks, months and potentially years as we check in with them on a regular basis to find out what new experiences they’ve discovered.

And if you’re considering becoming self-employed, we have a dedicated Advice section to help you get started, along with information and guides on every stage of contracting, consulting, freelancing or building a startup. Along with access for our 12-month IPSE Incubator included for free with  membership for a limited time, alongside all of the other benefits, offers and support that IPSE offers.

Follow their journey


Meet the author

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Dan Thornton

Freelance writer, marketer, SEO