Russ – Small Business Owner, DeclutterRus

26th February 2020

Like many parents, I took time out from the workplace to raise my two children. Before that, I worked as an assistant buyer at a leading highstreet retailer for 11 years. However, as my children grew up, I knew that I wanted to return to work. That, though, was a little easier said than done!! I lacked the confidence that accompanies regular working and felt that I no longer had the skills needed for today’s workplace. For example, I was pretty new to the world of social media and had no idea how to use or harness its power. I knew I wanted to be my own boss as that gave me flexibility to manage my family commitments. With all those considerations to balance, the question was…..what to do!?!

With a partner, I began a tentative business decluttering for friends. However, our business came to a natural end when my friend began another job. That experience helped to crystalise an idea. I really enjoyed decluttering as I saw how it helped people to live freer, clearer lives, and I loved the interaction with clients. I began decluttering for friends and before long, thanks to personal recommendations, my business, DeclutteRus, was born.

This development was very exciting but also presented new challenges. As a one-man-band, I needed someone I could trust to bounce ideas off. I needed advice on how to manage and then grow my business sensibly. So I turned to Work Avenue, and I am ever so glad that I did.

I knew that many of their services were free of charge, and this was appropriate given that I was just starting out. I had also heard from friends that the guidance and support Work Avenue offers is outstanding. And so it proved.

Jo Sadie, one of Work Avenue’s business advisers, is wonderful. She offers clear, accessible and thoughtful advice. She makes me feel very supported and listened to. She gave me confidence and instilled in me belief that yes, I can make a success of my business. She stabilises me when I have occasional wobbles. During our one-to-one meetings, she helped me to devise a business plan, and suggested that I join some of the courses Work Avenue offer on social media – Facebook and Instagram in particular. The calibre of the courses was excellent. I have also attended some of Work Avenue’s conferences, such as Start-Up Central. These are great networking opportunities; I have met quite a few new clients thanks to these forums.

Thanks to the help, guidance and education of Work Avenue my business has grown in the last eighteen months. From humble beginnings of intermittent work, I am now working regularly, often five days a week. I have expanded my marketing reach using many of the tips shared in the courses. I absolutely love what I do. Seeing the difference that I make and taking meaningful steps towards financial independence is incredibly rewarding.

And speaking about the future, I am excited! I am currently diversifying my business into new channels and directions. After all, decluttering takes many forms, whether it is helping a student to make sense of how to organise papers and subjects to facilitate revision and learning, or supporting someone dealing with mental health issues, like anxiety or ADHD, to create and manage simple systems so that they know where everything is at any given time, thereby alleviating the stress of not being able to find something.

While the future will no doubt bring challenges and opportunities, I feel fortunate to know that Work Avenue will be with me every step of the way.