Jessica Elliott knows exactly what it’s like to take the plunge into the world of running her own business, and making a huge success of it. We caught up with her, to see how, at such a young age, she started to create her empire.
Aged just 20 and whilst studying at university, Jess identified a gap in the market to launch a performing arts school for children in London at affordable prices for all, including those who traditionally would have been put off performing by expensive stage school prices.
Jess set the school up after feeling frustrated as a youngster at the barriers into the arts that she faced, in what seemed a very elitist industry. With a big dream of making the arts accessible to all, and just £200 of her own money to invest, J’s Dance Factory was born and hasn’t looked back since.
Fast forward eight years and J’s Dance Factory has grown from strength to strength, and now teaches over 1,000 children every week across London. The school has also been franchised with youngsters across the UK now able to benefit from the services her school offers and a chance to fulfil their dreams.
Not one to stand still, multiple award-winning Jess has also diversified her business interests and successfully launched her own management company that looks after the professional and commercial interests of the children she teaches. This has seen her clients win leading roles across TV, film, West End musicals and high-end fashion brand advertisements, including a recent Stella McCartney campaign that Jess choreographed herself, and featured her pupils.
5 Top Tips to Become Your Own Boss
This is definitely the most important thing for anyone who takes the leap of faith into the world of self-employment. Running your own business and being your own boss is one of the most liberating and motivating things you can ever do, but undoubtedly with any business that is getting off the ground, things will go wrong at some stage and sometimes it will be very tough. You have to persevere, stay positive and truly believe in your product or service. It’s also vital to celebrate all the little successes along the way and to surround yourself with positive people. I know it’s a cliché but positivity is definitely infectious.
2. Research is key
Make sure you’ve done as much research as possible into your target market for the business as well as scoping out competitors and exactly what it is that makes your product different to what’s already on offer.
Researching background information on successful businesses and entrepreneurs that I admired was really helpful to my journey too, and definitely something I’d recommend. Even if you end up learning about a totally different industry, there will be lessons you can learn and apply that will help you on your journey.
3. Start Small
Big dreams and wanting to change the world are what it is all about and I certainly wouldn’t want to put anyone off that. However, initial goals must be achievable or you’ll find yourself up against it and overstretched on day one. By making sure you don’t bite off more than you can chew, you’ll build your business on solid foundations and allow aggressive growth in the future once you’re established and financially viable.
It sounds so obvious, but getting out there and meeting as many people as you can, from as many different industries as possible is so important and all too often an afterthought for many small businesses and start-ups. There are so many events and opportunities to meet people and spread the word about what you do, that there are no excuses, and the benefits of creating a big network of professional people will help you for years to come. Sharing knowledge with other entrepreneurs and learning from more experienced people who have been through the process of growing a business has been a massive help for me.
5. Enjoy everything that you do
This one is so important to me and something that I think a lot of entrepreneurs can lose sight of. You’ve chosen to do something that you’re passionate about and love doing, and it’s vital that you keep this in mind and enjoy every day. Keep smiling and remember why you chose to do what you’re doing and you’ll get there.