I have been a teacher for 15 years. I loved it. I always wanted to be a teacher. It was not a disappointment to me.
This year I am on career break. I have a new job. It has no security. I don’t get paid. I love it.
How many times have I said, “ I’d love to do something else, but I don’t really have any skills”. I grew up in a family business, sold uniforms in the summers from age 12-30. I loved the hustle and bustle of it but was always happy to go back to my day job in September.
In recent years, I wasn’t unhappy in my job; I loved my students and my staff were fantastic. I just started to feel a bit “stuck”. I felt like there was no real progression in my career, you’re a teacher, you don’t want to be a principal..so what’s in between?? Anyway, I went through my, “ I’d love to do something else, but what? I have no skills.
Then came Covid and I went on maternity leave with my 4th child. My husband was also at home a lot as he’s a teacher too. And with that time, came ideas. With those ideas I created a business.
I began The Arty Fox in November 2020, selling arts and crafts boxes for kids. My initial thoughts were that I’d sell them to friends and others in Donegal but within weeks I was selling nationwide and learning all about social media, keeping stock up to date and shipping orders. I found a skill: I realised I was very good at problem solving! There would be a delay in stock arrival or it would be unavailable, I would keep my head, park it til the morning and then find a solution.
After a busy Christmas I began a course with the ETB on Digital Marketing. I loved it! I love learning, taking part in group discussion and asking questions. So it turns out I have good communication skills!
I also went into designing new products and testing them in the market. I found that I can be innovative and creative. Children and parents alike loved my boxes and were coming back to purchase multiple times.
Since then I have been on a whirlwind of learning, networking, creating and planning. I have discovered I have many skills, a lot of them are communication driven, but that’s fine. I’m a teacher, Im used to talking, making people feel at ease and explaining things. What Im not so good at is the strategic planning involved in business and the finance is making my head spin.
But, that will come. I am learning. I have skills for business and I have got them from my teaching career. I am still a teacher, but now I have added entrepreneur to that title. It excites me and scares me at the same time. It has long hours, successes and disappointments. I love every minute of it.