In the past some people have asked me if I'm rich, or have rich parents when they found out that I've set up my own beauty salon. It couldn't be further from the truth. I can't really go into any personal details on here, after all, this is a beauty blog, and I'm not a great fan of digging up the past. What I can tell you, is that despite everything, I totally turned my life around, and it's all thanks to The Princes Trust.
I love the famous quote by Walt Disney "If you can dream it, you can do it", because it's so real for me. As a teenager I had the dream of setting up my own beauty salon, but I never thought it would become a reality. I've never been an overly confident person, but I think this is something I hide rather well. Despite suffering with anxiety issues, every now and again an opportunity becomes too good to miss, and I find that excitement takes over. This was certainly the case when I got involved with The Princes Trust. I think it was the first time in my life that I experienced a proper sense of achievement, and my confidence started to grow.
At the time I was overcoming what I call my 'path to destruction', where I was constantly partying and looking for escapism. I made a conscious decision to try and get back on track, and really make something of my life. I had successfully completed beauty school, and was working in a salon in Bournemouth. One day I was reading our local newspaper when I saw an advert for a salon to rent. There was something about it, and I was drawn in. I found myself calling the landlord and arranging a viewing! What was I doing? I didn't have any money! In my mind I had convinced myself that it would be good experience to go through the process. Of course once I had seen it, I really wanted to set up a business there. It was a lovely place with a hairdressers and a gift shop, and the beauty salon was at the back. The question was how on earth could I change my dream into reality with no money?
It was at this point that my brother introduced me to The Princes Trust, who offer support and funding to help young people to start their own businesses. I didn't hesitate to call them. I ended up presenting my business idea to a panel of judges, and let me tell you this - it was set up just like Dragons Den - but less scary! My idea was approved, and although it took a lot of hard work, my salon opened up within less than a month. I was 22 years old.
The Princes Trust gave me a loan, which I paid back over 3 years with a very low rate of interest. I was also given the most amazing mentor who helped me with my accounts and the business side of the salon. In 2005 I was nominated for The Princes Trust Enterprise Award in my local area, and although I didn't win, it's something that I'm really proud of. Just to be nominated was a real honour.
I can honestly say that The Princes Trust changed my life. They gave me the wings that I needed to fly, and my confidence has grown so much since the day I stood in front of their panel of judges. I think things have changed quite a lot since I applied, but one thing remains the same - The Princes Trust aims to change the lives of younger people. I wasn't an offender or ex-offender and I hadn't been in care or anything like that. I was just a girl with a dream and parents with no money.
Every day we make judgements, based on what we see and hear, but the truth is - things are not always what they seem. I feel incredibly lucky to have been given the opportunities that I have in my life since getting involved with The Princes Trust. I went on to set up another salon and graduated from university with a business and marketing degree. My salons were only little, but I think I've done alright since changing route from the path of destruction!
What Walt Disney said really was true. We may not all be clever enough to create Disney, but we can certainly try and make our dreams reality. Maybe you're someone, who like myself many years ago, thinks you could never make something of yourself. It could be confidence or money holding you back, but I'm living proof that things can change. If I can do it, so can you! I hope this post helps or inspires someone.
If you would like to know more about the wonderful work of The Princes Trust please click here.
What do you think of what I've written today? Do you know anyone that's set up a business with the help of The Princes Trust? I'm interested to hear your thoughts!