Profile: Ingrid Blake, The Cyber Sec

Following redundancy Ingrid found self-employment offered a fantastic chance to combine work she enjoys with caring for her two sons.

Could you explain a bit about what your business is?
I am a Virtual Administrator, carrying out a full range of secretarial and administrative tasks from my home office.

When did you start your business?
April 2006

What motivated you to start a business/become self-employed?
I had been made redundant from the company where I had worked for 9 years. I had flexible hours and the job was local to my home. I needed to retain some flexibility for my 2 school-age sons and I thought that working from home would afford me the flexibility I required.

Have you used any business support services and if so was this support useful?
I received some excellent advice from WENTA (Watford Enterprise Agency) when I was thinking about starting the company. Also Business Link’s website was very helpful.

What are the highlights of being a business owner/self-employed?
I maintain an excellent work/life balance. Working from home means that I can keep on top of the domestic jobs like the washing and unloading the dishwasher etc. I am also able to do the school run, attend school events and play an active part in my sons’ school lives. I also make time for myself by having a personal trainer 2-3 times a week, and occasionally lunching with girlfriends.

Have you experienced any particular difficulties/challenges in starting a business?
I have experienced some excessive and unrealistic demands from clients, who do not appreciate the pressures I am under being a working mother.

Do you feel you have experienced any disadvantages in starting and growing a business becasue you are female?
On the contrary, I have found being female a distinct advantage in my line of business. My opinions and suggestions are appreciated and the female ability to multi-task is always admired.

What key pieces of advice would you give to other women thinking about starting a business?
It is often challenging but always rewarding. If you believe in yourself, then others will also believe in you. Running your own business requires confidence in yourself and your skills and if you are confident, people will be convinced of your abilities. Don’t be afraid to say no. Honesty is the best policy and always appreciated.

Prowess archive 2009.

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