Self-employment venture grows into a blooming business
Barbara Erwin, 67, from Northern Ireland set up ‘Foliage Works’ a local flower growing business in her 60s
Barbara began her working life teaching Biology and eventually became Head of a University College Science Department where she developed a range of in-service courses for Science teachers and a new degree course in Health and Leisure studies. Despite enjoying her job, she longed for the opportunity to turn her flourishing gardening hobby into a career and decided to set up ‘Foliage Works’ in 2011 after she turned 60. Since then, Barbara hasn’t looked back and maintains that she is as busy now as she was in her 20s.
The Prince’s Initiative, part of the senior enterprise project, sends out regular newsletters, and as a Prince’s Initiative Client, Barbara finds these updates particularly helpful and supports the charity wholeheartedly. “The Prince’s Initiative’s mission is so worthwhile – we’re in an ageing society and there are so many capable people over the age of 50 who just need a bit of support in becoming self-employed. The networking events and courses which The Prince’s Initiative run are such a fantastic idea because having a network of people to share ideas with when you’re starting up is so valuable.”
Barbara is really enjoying the benefits of self-employment – “It’s brilliant doing something you love every day and for me it’s fantastic that my job is based at home. Self-employment means you don’t resent the time you spend working and can choose your hours which is great as I can spend time with my family who are a huge support.”
Barbara’s advice to any other over 50s considering self-employment is to research thoroughly and understand the market – “once the foundations and knowledge base are there it means you can make a real go of it and are more likely to get it right.”