In 2014, I started Jo Swift Proofreading Services after years of thinking about self-employment. I was so happy to stop thinking about it and just start doing it.
To begin, tell us a little about yourself and your background.
I started work in 1987 and have worked in administration and as a receptionist for the majority of my working life. I have worked for various types of organisations, ranging from start up business through to the NHS.
I continued to do this until 2014, where upon I decided that I would set myself a challenge and set up a business doing something I truly loved.
What made you start up the business?
Having been in a job with set hours, and daily routine, I wanted to do something that was both interesting and rewarding.
I wanted a job where I could really help to make a difference and meet some interesting people along the way.
I have always been a lover of the written word, and been fascinated by the English language, and so combining this passion with a job seemed the perfect fit.
How and when did the idea come about?
When I began my research, there were so many options, but the one I knew I could make a difference with was as a proofreader.
I have always been able to spot errors in print, or on posters and so it was a skill I thought I would develop further.
With this in mind, I enrolled on a course, which took me several months to complete, but I passed with flying colours and so backed with the qualifications, I was set to go. Jo Swift Proofreading was established in October 2014.
Who are your target audience and what is the main aim of the organisation?
When I started the business, I had intended to focus purely on the student market.
However, I attended a few networking events and I realised that this is something that most businesses had a need for, and so I shared my business cards at several events and from this won my first contract.
With this success I wanted to join a membership where I could continue to meet other organisations with a need for proofreading, and also who could help me and offer advice so I joined the Chamber of Commerce.
What have been your main achievements and difficulties?
My proudest achievement is that I have had the privilege of proofreading two books which have now been published, and I take pride in saying I was part of that journey.
There have also been other pieces literature which may have only been a page in length but meant so much to a client it was great to see the finished article.
Just recently, I have proofread the theses for two students, who had such tight deadlines – it was nice to help them on their academic journey.
What attracted you to entrepreneurship? Why was this?
I have always wanted to work for myself because I like the idea of being my own boss. The fact that everything is completely up to me from the moment I wake up to when I go to bed – I am in control. The freedom it offers is life changing and takes me out a routine!
What are your career aims and aspirations?
I really want to make this business a success – I enjoy what I do and want to do more!
For the love of words! I would really like to help more students and start up businesses get the most out of their content – this is why I set the business up in the first place.
What message would you give to fellow entrepreneurs or people looking to getting involved in setting up their own business or organisation?
The message I would give to anyone thinking about starting their own business is “Go for it”. There is no denying it is scary at first and there are a few pitfalls, but if you network, you get to meet some brilliant people who are all in the same situation and you can get inspiration and help whenever you need it. It is the best thing I ever did!