Claudette Cowans-Porter
Thursday 23rd February 2023 - 10:45

My journey starting a business

Claudette is a Phoenix resident from Grove Park who recently found out about our business course, Exploring Enterprise, at a Chat & Chips event. Claudette shares her story of getting involved with Phoenix, learning how to start her own business, and the journey of turning her passion into a career.

I have lived here since 2010, but only knew two of my neighbours in the whole block. I found out about Chat & Chips when I got the invite, and it interested me as it seemed like a great opportunity to meet other people in the area. I wanted to introduce myself to people at the event and met my neighbour Norma. We started talking about food and realised we’ve lived next to each other all these years and never spoke. We exchanged numbers and will stay in touch.  

It was a really good event. Sometimes we get emails through, but we don’t know how we can get involved with Phoenix. Coming to the event has shown me how I can get involved. Having someone talk to you about it face to face is brilliant; it’s a lot easier to digest the information.  

I found out about the Be Your Own Boss course which piqued my interest as I’ve been looking to start my own business. I’m a seamstress and make all my own clothes. I can make tote bags, rack sacks, curtains and draperies and different kind of accessories, so I’d love to turn my passion into my full-time job.  

I decided to enroll on the one-day enterprise workshop to get a feel for the course and see if I wanted to progress onto the seven-week course. The one-day session was very informative, and I got a taste for how to promote my business, unique selling points, where I fit in the market, my customer base, how to create an attractive website, the difference between sole trader and limited company, tax and insurance. 

After attending the one-day course I was motivated, and keen to learn more to prepare me to achieve my goal. So I went for it and enrolled onto the seven-week business course. My experience was a positive one and I learnt so much about business ideas, competition, customers, basic figures, costs, funding and finance, pricing, writing business plans, branding, promotion, pitching and presenting, sales skills, cash flow, booking, product innovation, the list goes on!  

Everything that I have learnt has given me the skills and knowledge to start my own business. The training team was great, I had the option of having one-on-one sessions with a member of the team, which I found very helpful. There was also online learning where I was able to recap after each session, which was also very useful. 

Since completing the course I have invested in an industrial sewing machine which will be a big help to get me on the move. I have also come up with my business name and have visited fabric stores in search of the fabric that I will be using to make my products.  

As well as all of this, I am currently doing the Phoenix Academy Level 1 course which I’m really enjoying and I’m learning a lot about the world of housing. 

In the future, I would love to get involved with the local community and share my skills so others can start their own sewing journey too. I would like to thank the team for giving me the opportunity to do this course – it’s helped me jump start my career and make my dream a reality. I am very grateful. If you’ve got an idea for a business, and are thinking about doing the course, I say go for it. What are you waiting for?