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The Joy of Ex and Self employment too...

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by Startacus Admin

Anyone who has been through a divorce knows that more often than not it is a pretty stressful process. One person who knows just that is Sally Beerworth.

Sally used to work at Saatchi and Saatchi and started Sally Beerworthher own business whilst she was going through her divorce. Her legal fees were huge, and the divorce also had an immensely personal effect on her too with the result that she had to spend £8,000 on counselling.

The whole thing however led Sally to consider how she could help other people who were in the same position as she had been.

Sally wrote a book called The Joy of Ex, which she describes as ‘Bridget Jones gets divorced’. She felt that the central character hadn’t done anything productive to help her situation and so she decided to make a Facebook page where she posted positive and funny comments. Within a week she had 100 followers and within the first month 1,000 and so she then decided to start creating merchandise adorned with her funny comments. The result? People from all around the world started buying it.

Within a year she had made £130k, in 2011 the business went international and she now employs four people. We wanted to find out more about the ‘eureka moment’ that led her to self employment, and also to ask if she had any handy tips she could pass on to other potential self starters, so we asked Sally to explain all...

Sally, working in advertising and then becoming self employed, what part of this transition did you find the hardest to make?

I missed the free muffins. Everything else was entirely unmissable - the use of PowerPoint, having a meeting about a meeting and all the other 672618 ways I used to waste my brain everyday.

Making £250k in your first year was a real real achievement - what was the formula?!

I do something that I love and believe in. The money just followed me. I'm glad it did.

It’s great to see you signed up to School for Creative Startups - even after your initial success, but what was the motivation for this decision?

I wanted someone to point out all the things I was doing wrong. With success coming so quickly for my business, I found that I craved someone to tell me when I was being a meathead. That's where Doug Richard comes in.

What 3 key things have you taken away from your School for Creative Startups experience?

Be proud. Be proud. Be proud.

The Joy of ExYou have diversified from writing initially into selling your merchandise and also setting up the Joy of Ex Foundation. At the beginning was there always a plan to be so diverse and what’s next for the business?

I realised that just writing was never going to satisfy the annoying voice inside my head that told me I should so do something to help people. I didn't know what I could do to help, so I wondered whether making people smile was a good place to start.

I want to keep doing that - through writing, public speaking (very hard to shut me up) and through finding meaningful ways to spend the money I make.

Time Management can be tough when self employed - any tips?

I think the most important thing is trying to give yourself a very strict routine. Try and start work everyday at the same time, and then make sure you leave at a reasonable time. As there is always so much to do and often only you to do it, it can be tempting to work 24/7....and this is not sustainable or often effective.

Startacus was first conceived after redundancy and you became self employed while going through divorce - was the personal effect of divorce a catalyst for this career change and did it help you to make the leap?

Sometimes you need one hell of a metaphorical kick. Thank god for my failures, or I wouldn't have become successful.

And that is a lesson for all of us we think - and we wish Sally all the best for the future with whatever she does next...

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Published on: 12th November 2012

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