I’ve worked in advertising for many years. It’s my passion and I’m not really sure I’d know how to do anything else. When choosing a university to complete my degree, I knew that London was really the place that I needed to be to increase my chances of success in my chosen field so as a fresh faced 18 year old, I moved to the big smoke to commence my career.
I threw myself whole heartedly into my studies and later my work roles. My work was my life, so at that time my surroundings didn’t really matter. I was where I needed to be in order to do what I wanted to do.
But after ten years of crowded streets, bright lights, towering buildings and unfriendly faces – I longed for the rolling hills and quiet countryside of my home in Suffolk. However, in ten years I’d managed to build up an impressive career and was at that time the managing director of a prestigious advertising firm on a very healthy salary. Could I give all that up for the sake of the rolling hills?
I knew even when I moved to London as a teenager that one day I’d like to return home, but as my career went from strength to strength I resigned myself to the thought that I’d retire there. But the longer I tried to go on, the more I realised I just couldn’t wait that long. As I got older other areas of my life outside of work became more important to me and I felt my quality of life would be greatly improved from breathing in the fresh air every day back at home.
So I began to think about ways I might be able to continue to my career outside of the city. There were NO advertising firms local to my hometown, but it struck me that this might be a positive thing. Every single business, regardless of size or genre, requires advertising – and there certainly were plenty of local businesses to approach. The fact that there were no other advertising firms just meant that there was no competition. Yet, the prospect of starting my own business – where its success or failure would rest solely on my shoulders – scared the living heck out of me!
The more I researched, the more I realised I only had two options. If I wanted to move home I would HAVE to start my own business, because there just wasn’t anybody else to work for. Either that or change course completely, which was really an option as previously mentioned, I don’t think I’d be able to do anything else and there aren’t many of us that can truly proclaim that we love what we do! I could keep my comfy role in my established firm if I wanted to, but I’d have to stay in London.
A quick Google search of commercial property to let in Suffolk revealed to me that there was no way I could afford premises on start up, but I reasoned that initially I could work from home whilst I built my client base, hiring a meeting room here and there if need be or offering to meet clients for lunch. With a decent website, it’s possible to convey a professional image without clients ever having to know that you don’t work out of an official office!
So I bit the bullet, sold my London home and bought a beautiful two bed cottage in beautiful Suffolk with views of rolling hills as far as the eye can see. The sale left me with a sizeable amount to start my business with so I made sure I invested in an accomplished web designers in Essex to provide me with the professional image I required from the off. Once my branding was in place I launched an e-mail campaign, targeting local businesses, highlighting the benefits of my service. My campaign acquired me 6 new clients, which was enough to tide me over.
One year down the line, I’ve 2 staff employed and we’ve just moved into our very first official premises. The business is certainly not returning me the kind of salary I was pulling in in London, but then my cost of living is nowhere near as high either, so I guess it’s all relative. And quite honestly, the sense of satisfaction I get from owning and running my own company just couldn’t be bought. Quite honestly, I think the decision to relocate is much harder than the actual process of doing it. Sometimes I can’t quite believe I’m here . . . but I am . . . and believe me, when I wake up in the morning and gaze out of my window across those rolling hills . . . I know every moment of the move was worth it.