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Love something enough to make it your life’s work?

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Running your own business won’t always be easy, but as the saying goes ‘choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.’ Here, Wendy Bowers, founder of Lancashire-based coaching and mentoring business Role, talks about doing a job you love and how to make the most of that passion.

What is Role and why did you set it up?

Role’s mission is to release the true potential of girls and women in our society. I spent 15 years as a woman working in a man’s world of manufacturing and finance as a finance director, before a change in personal circumstances led to me setting up my first business when my youngest child of four was just four months old. Initially concentrating on business turnaround, the business grew into a consultancy and training business with a team of 18 designing and delivering training to growth businesses both here and in Europe. But my passion was always supporting women in enterprise. 

Outside of work, I did this on a voluntary basis setting up women in business networks and representing women on local and regional boards before setting up Role in 2014. From 2013 to 2016 I was UK Ambassador for Women’s Enterprise on the British Chambers of Commerce board. This role gave me the opportunity to advise government ministers and cross party working groups on the issues still facing women in the workplace and it also enabled me to build a unique network of international industry leaders who now mentor Role’s clients. Having lived in East Lancashire all my life and being immediate past President of East Lancs Chamber, I have a real understanding of Lancashire business at both a strategic and a practical level. 

What do you get out of doing a job you love?

I love watching a 16-year-old girl light up as she takes part in one of our aspirational student events. I love the look on a business owner’s face when they realise that I totally ‘get’ how they feel because I have been there.  I love showing people how they can have a great business and a life outside of work. I love the energy created when Role works with groups of fabulous women and helps them achieve their own version of success. I love connecting all the business support dots in Lancashire both private and public and ensuring businesses see the full picture.

What made you finally concentrate on the thing you love?

I got ill, really ill and I had to stop.  My daughter took me to a Tibetan monastery in Scotland, left me there and told me to ‘sort myself out!' I spent a week thinking about what I was put on this earth to do.  I came home, ditched the stuff that didn't turn me on and focused on the thing I love. I've finally listened to my heart and now I'm walking more, writing my book finally and doing some great work.  I'm happier than I’ve ever been before. I have realised that when you finally stop trying to be what you think society, your family, partner, or employer expects you to be and just be you, it's amazing what starts happening.  Your creativity rises up like bubbles in a glass of champagne and it becomes infectious. There you are, pushing through life, working hard, gaining valuable skills and experience, being the good provider, caring partner, responsible parent, helpful sibling. I'm not saying ditch all this and go live in a teepee.  But when do you get to be you?  When you go on a bike ride or walk or go to the gym maybe? When you listen to opera or watch a play?  When is it that you feel incredible, joyous, alive? Think about it and whatever and whenever it is, can you do more of it. Can you get paid for doing it?

What would your advice be to somebody thinking of setting up a business doing something they love?

Follow your heart - it's only 18 inches from your head! 

Are you thinking of setting up a business? Want to do something you love for a living? Get in touch with Boost for support to make that idea a reality.

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