The true influencers of my life

A lot of what’s been on my podcast playlist lately has got me thinking about the influences I had during my upbringing, and how they’ve got me to where I am today as a self-employed mum. I’m not someone who gushes over celebrities or has ‘idols’ in my life. It just doesn’t resonate with me, but I do have people in my life who I very much look up to and get motivation and inspiration from.

So, I’ve been looking back at the original influencers in my life, the family members who I look up to most, what they did for a living, and how they’ve impacted me. It’s dawned on me that a lot of them were and are still entrepreneurs!

My great-grandparents wisdom

I was lucky enough to have my maternal great grandparents up until my early teens. My great Nan and Grandad were the people I looked up to most in my life, I do even now - since they’ve been gone. Their impact has shaped me as a person so much and it’s so interesting to really reflect on this! We just don’t do this type of thing enough.

So my Great-Nan, Doris, was a beacon of light and the most positive person on the planet. She taught me to count my blessings every single day, and I live by this. I’m a half glass full person and always speak out loud the things I’m grateful for. Great Nan stood by my Great Grandad Bernard’s, side for over 60 years of marriage and they took on the generational Hardware shop which is still running today, now by my second cousin.

Great Grandad was a tough love, business minded, hardworking, war surviving gentleman who believed in working hard for a living and was not a fan of laziness! He was often described as being a little tough but NOT when it came to me, his great granddaughter. My mum and my nan always say he turned into a ball of mush when it came to me. He was all cuddles; all love and I adored him. Even now after over twenty years since his death I get tearful writing this. Grandad was an avid gardener and won many awards for his pumpkins and vegetables. I often have dreams of meeting him in the back garden with his big garden fork in hand and him opening his arms saying “Awwww Samanfaaaaa”, he never pronounced the ‘tha’ it was always ‘fa’.

Their relationship is something I have always aspired to and I often think they would be so proud of my husband and our marriage. Their personal values and hardworking ethics have played a big part in my journey to date.

The Trusty Hardware Store

We’re a lover of hardware shops in my family, my maternal Grandad also ran a very successful shop for many years and my uncle still does now too! I love them, especially my uncles, it’s like walking into a treasure trove. Floor to ceiling covered in tools/kitchen ware/cleaning products/keys… you can imagine. And the smell too… sounds weird but they all seem to have the same smell and it just conjures up so much nostalgia for me. I now wonder if the hardware stores are what have influenced my love of cars, machinery, and engineering!


Dad’s decorating

Speaking of smells… My dad is and always has been (well, since I’ve been around), a self-employed decorator. I loved my dad’s work van as a kid. I can still smell it now. Paint just doesn’t smell the same these days and I’m sure that’s probably for good reason, but I always remember hopping into his van, his overalls covered in paint and the seats speckled with dust and that smell covering everything. Dad is still a decorator today in NZ but here in the UK he became extremely well-known for his skills and was also very creative with his craft. I always felt proud of how well he did in his business and all the exciting clients he used to decorate for, including the likes of David Coverdale, TV personalities and well-known people in the area. I get a lot of my creativity from my Dad, he’s an amazing artist and although I’m yet to turn my hand to a paintbrush he has always encouraged my photography and design interests since I can remember.


Mum’s inspiration

My mum has always been a walking calculator. When I picture her at work I can see her perfect touch typing, firing out God knows how many words a minute and punching into a calculator at the same time, I can hear the tapping now. Mum made me fall in love with computers and technology. Throughout my earlier school years mum always had fantastic finance jobs and wore professional outfits to work and I remember thinking that I wanted to be like her. Only I hated maths! Then when I reached my later school years, she started her own cleaning business and I got to see and be (somewhat) involved in the creation of a new business and its brand. I didn’t realise it at the time but this exposure to business really inspired me and my love for branding and marketing.

The cleaning business was called “Bliss”, playing on what it feels like to come home to a beautifully clean house and knowing you don’t have to lift a finger. Sheer and utter bliss! I loved this metaphor, still do. I can actually still picture their first flyer; it was light blue with a photo of someone walking in the hills faded into the background.

The business became really successful, and I remember mum hiring more and more staff and connecting with estate agents and property owners and lots of other businesses – she was in demand! After a few years mum sold the business and we all packed up and headed for New Zealand. Where she then built a massively successful oven cleaning business with my stepdad. The business grew nationwide and became a very well-known name. Even now in her 60’s and back in the UK mum is freelancing and smashing it. As always, she’s in high demand and her clients couldn’t be without her.

Now I’m in my thirties

So, as you can see, I’ve been surrounded with very hardworking and driven small business owners all my life and I don’t think up until reaching my thirties that I’ve taken the time to look back on this and realise the impact it’s had on my career and my own business journey so far.

It’s given me the ambition to have a successful career and the drive to work hard for it. But also, it’s allowed me to see what is possible and that working for yourself can be done. Having all these influences has helped me reach for the stars and not be afraid of the hard work that comes with it. It’s no wonder I am where I am today. I literally have the small business mindset running through my veins.

Now as a mum I hope to influence my children in the same way. I want to inspire, motivate, and open their eyes to the many exciting prospects ahead of them. I want them to know that the sky is the limit when it comes to their work journey.

As for me, I’m about to have my second child soon and I’m ready for this next journey and where it’s going to take me. I’ve decided not to fear how this new chapter will impact my business, but to count my blessings and see what the next steps are for my small business.

I’ve seen that with a great mindset and a lot of hard work anything is possible.

So maybe take a moment to look back and consider who are the true influencers in your life. It might be an eye-opener!