I run an online business called The Phone Unlockers â we unlock mobile phones (which is legal!) I started it 6 years ago at University. I also run a project called the Female Entrepreneur Association, where I published stories about the journeys of female entrepreneurs to help inspire and encourage others.
The opportunity to start a phone unlocking business was very random! Iâll try not to bore youâ¦ but basically there was some open source code available online and my friend was very techie and so we built the system and we each set up our own businesses using the system. I had no clue what I was doing when I started off! I was seriously winging it. I put a terrible website together and set up an Adwords account with a spending limit of Â£30 and that was the start of my business.
I made it work for me by systemizing everything! There is a process and system for everything â how people find us, how people buy from us, the follow up process, the support process etc. The business now runs itself without any help from me.
I started FEA because I felt so lonely running my online business. After I graduated from university, all of my friends moved to London and had cool jobs and I was stuck in Birmingham (where I went to university) working from home, by myself. I started to think that there must be other women out there who were in a similar situation to me. So, I went on a mission to find them!
There are so many inspiring stories, but one of my favourites is by Emma Reynolds. She built a successful business over three years – she had an office in London and lots of employees and then the financial crisis hit and she lost everything. Not only did she have to make everyone redundant, she also faced bankruptcy. After crying herself to sleep for 3 months, she went and got a job and started saving her money. At the same time she started to research business opportunities and spotted one in Hong Kong and so got on a plane, by herself, and started her business again over there from scratch. Itâs going really well!
When I read her story I was amazed and inspired. She deserves every bit of success that she gets. I think her story goes to show whatâs possible when you keep on going.
I love running my online business because it gives me so much freedom â in 2010 I went travelling around Australia for 3 months and worked from my laptop, it was amazing.
I would say the most challenging thing is feeling alone. Some days I wake up and wonder what on earth Iâm doing! I also find it difficult to switch off, even when Iâm on holiday, which can be annoying (especially for my friends!).
Turning The Phone Unlockers from an idea into a global company, which reached 100,000 people each month and unlocked thousands of phones every month.
At the moment FEA keeps me inspired â not only the stories, which I publish, but also the possibility to create something that helps to inspire women all over the world. I love the internet and the what it enables people to do â the very fact that Iâm based 6000 miles away from San Francisco, yet Iâm writing this for you now amazes and inspires me. I stay creative by constantly thinking of new ideas and trying new things and reading lots of books!
Style to Inspire is a monthly column on vmac+cheese that letâs us get to know amazing women who are running their own small businesses. You can see previous Style to Inspire ladies here.