When lockdown forced Georgina Burrows, 33, from Lewes, Sussex, to put her events career on hold, her entrepreneurial spirit kicked in
‘The events business I set up four years ago, The Great Little Events Company, was badly hit by lockdown. Five projects were cancelled in one week and, of course, future work prospects looked bleak. After a few days of panic, I started looking for something else to do. I saw that supermarkets were running low on eggs, so I put a call out to neighbours and on a local Facebook group to see who might want to receive deliveries, and within three hours my inbox was full. Then I rang every organic egg farm in Sussex until I found a supplier. The next week, I delivered my first batch of eggs. Initially, I tried to fit 90 stops into a single day, but soon learned to spread out the work! I started getting requests to deliver further afield, too. So a month on, with the help of a friend, I expanded into Brighton, and also started selling local honey, soap and cheese – and Sussex Organic Eggspress was born. I’ve now delivered more than 20,000 eggs to over 500 locals! I also include an egg recipe in my boxes each week. I cook the dish and show pictures on my Facebook page – and customers share theirs, too. I’m not sure what the future holds, but it’s amazing to support local businesses doing something I enjoy. Plus, it’s been a fantastic boost during a really tough time.’
Author and educator Sophia Husbands, 41, lives in Slough, Berkshire, and is launching a job agency to help others
‘Although I come from a corporate background, I’ve always been passionate about mentoring and training. I did a teaching course in 2009 and used to tutor part-time, giving guest lectures at universities and working with undergraduates in the evenings, but I always had to fit it around my day job. I really loved empowering people to make the most of their talents, though, so I hatched a dream for an agency that could connect people to remote-working opportunities, or offer support to those who wanted to launch their own passion project – I was just too busy to make it happen. Lockdown meant I found time to start getting the agency, My Sideline Job (watch this space!), off the ground at last. Even though I was still working, I had time to reflect and decided to make the move in a new direction. And it feels more relevant than ever, as so many people’s jobs have been adversely affected by the pandemic and more of us are working from home. Lockdown reminded me that I need to go back to what I do best – plus, I missed the autonomy of being my own boss! I’m now using my contacts to create an online job board filled with unique and flexible career opportunities. The next step will be to create online courses that offer advice on how to make the transition (I’ve now got first-hand experience, after all!). I’m putting my money where my mouth is and using remote workers to help me build my new website, which I hope will be live by the time you read this. It feels like the perfect time to help people find their dream career – rather than just a job.’
Penny Williams, 38, lives near Hastings. She began painting during lockdown, which turned out to be an unexpected sideline
‘I started my business, Blush Beauty & Hair, back in 2012. When lockdown struck, I was gearing up for a busy summer – I work mainly on bridal hair and make-up – but my income was immediately wiped out! I don’t watch much TV, so in the evenings my husband, Matt, and I played board games and did virtual pub quizzes. So when I spotted that illustrator Kathryn Coyle was offering online watercolour tutorials, I thought it would be something different to try. I’d barely picked up a paintbrush since school, but after a couple of sessions, I tried my hand at painting Blossom, one of our pet chickens, and posted the result on Facebook. Over 100 people liked it, and a fellow chicken-owner asked me if I’d paint hers, too. After five or six commissions, I started my own Facebook page, Penny’s Lockdown Art, @pennyslockdownart, on Instagram and an Etsy shop of the same name. The requests kept on coming, including a woman who asked me to paint all eight of her horses! I also started producing lockdown-themed art, featuring padlocks and rainbows, to sell. I’ve printed the designs onto mugs and postcards, and I’m donating some of the profits to NHS Charities Together. So far, I’ve sold 63 commissioned paintings, as well as working on my own projects. I feel very lucky to be able to bring in a few pennies with my new hobby! Although I’ve got lots of bookings for my beauty business for 2021, I expect the rest of this year to stay quiet. Meanwhile, I’m going to carry on painting, and see where it leads.’
Mum-of-two Kate Bell, 40, lives in the New Forest. Lockdown led her to bin the hair extensions and expensive manis for a natural look
‘As lockdown hit and life slowed down, I suddenly realised I’d gained 3st in a year. And I’d been boosting my confidence with beauty treatments, rather than looking after myself properly. I thought nothing of a manicure every fortnight and would spend around £700 on hair extensions. So during quarantine, I asked my husband to remove my extensions, and I let my daughter cut my waist-length hair into a (slightly wonky) bob. I soaked off the ‘salon nails’ and worked on improving my own nails, started eating well and doing online fitness classes – I’ve lost over a stone so far. Lockdown made me reassess my priorities and realise how lucky I am. Slowing down and taking time to practise gratitude has made me feel confident in a different way. Most of all, I’ve realised that looking and feeling great doesn’t come from trips to a salon! I don’t plan on going back to my old habits and will save loads of money on treatments. But the time I’ll gain with my family will be priceless.’
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