Case study

Entrepreneur — Luisa Kearney

Luisa believes you can become self-employed at any age after setting up a translation business at the age of 18. She is now a personal stylist and shopper

What qualifications did you study?

When I left school at the age of 16 I started working as an English language teacher after relocating to Bulgaria. I gained a TEFL certificate and after setting up my own business at the age of 18, studied a diploma in business and entrepreneurship.

What is your current job title?

I have worked as a Bulgarian to English freelance translator and have operated my own translation business for five years.

I am now moving into a career as a personal fashion stylist and shopper.

How did you set up your business?

In regards to translation, I set up my own business after discovering that the skills I had to offer were niche. I discovered this through receiving offers of work from companies and individuals who needed a native English speaker that spoke Bulgarian as a second language.

What's a typical day like?

I am in the process of changing careers, but for both my translation and my personal shopper/stylist business I have, and will continue to work from home.

As a translator I check emails, update social media pages and send out emails to potential clients. I post news on my social media pages about the translation industry and then begin translation projects.

If I am extremely busy with translations I may still be working in the evening, if not I will network with other translators, get back to any outstanding emails and read up on industry news.

In my new business as an online personal stylist and shopper, I check my emails, update social media pages and create my own personal look for that day. I decide on what I will wear and how I can advise people on how to pull the outfit off, and then blog and vlog about it.

When working with clients I spend most of the time running style consultations or personal shopping. If I have to do any photography work, filming or modelling outfits I do this in the afternoon because the natural lighting is best at this time of the day.

After I've finished working with clients I study new trends and read fashion magazines to gain inspiration for blog posts. Before settling down for the evening, I may write a blog post or set up scheduled posts for my social media pages.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I enjoyed my translation career as I loved using my language skills and being around the two cultures that have been a huge part of my life - English and Bulgarian.

I also liked helping people with communication issues; any role where you can help somebody gives you a great experience.

Now as a personal stylist and shopper I enjoy being able to market my services. I like the informal and more creative side of things when using social media etc. and advertising my services, which is a nice change too.

What are the challenges?

In both roles, staying current and up to date with everything is key. When self-employed you must wear many hats. You are the decision maker, boss, accountant, employee and assistant all at the same time.

What are the best things about being self-employed?

In my translation career, I loved the fact that I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to work in a niche sector; there are few native English speaking translators who speak Bulgarian as a second language.

I also loved using my language and cultural experiences in my work.

In my fashion career, I love the change in my daily working life. I enjoy the fact that I can use more imagery when blogging and posting on social media. I can make things more creative and use art and creativity to attract customers and get a message across to my clients.

I am able to express more of my personality in this career, as my clients hire me because of my natural skills and personality rather than because of what I have studied.

What advice would you give others who would like to be self-employed?

You can succeed at self-employment at any age; it all depends on how you plan to run your business.

If you are not adept at multi-tasking then you may need to think about whether self-employment is right for you.

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