Julie McAldoo of ArtMe shares her experience of starting up a part-time business in NI

Did you always aspire to be self-employed?

Not at first.

Four years ago I joined Royal Mail.  Before that, I had an all consuming career which had spanned 22 years.  When I began work in Royal Mail I suddenly found that I had a lot more spare time on my hands.  That’s when my interest in Arts and Crafts began. Over the past year in particular I’ve been focusing more on the painting aspect of my new found skillset.  I found abstract art fascinating. I was encouraged by friends to paint full time and sell my work,  but was concerned that I still had bills to pay. Another friend then advised me to try out the business on a part-time basis and recommended “Go For It NI.”  I called the helpline number and just a few months later, after receiving  fantastic guidance and advice, I’m part-time self employed and my business is called ArtMe

How long did you have your business idea before meeting with a Business Adviser to discuss?

It was only around four months.

What does your business do?

I paint one off abstract Art pieces. No copies or prints, therefore each piece is completely unique.

How long have you been trading?

I’ve now been trading for one year.

Are you happy that you went into self-employment?

Yes, very happy.  The business is part-time, but this still allows me to work and pay my bills.

If you were to give one piece of advice to someone starting up in business what would it be?

Take advantage of the free advice and support on offer. Don’t go at it alone, Go for It with your local Council and receive one to one tailored advice from your local Enterprise Agency.

Was the Go For It programme beneficial to you? If so, how?

The programme has helped me so much. I had no understanding of how to start my own business.  The support was provided at a pace which was suitable for me. It’s a fantastic insight into the bigger picture. I don’t think I would have started my own business if I hadn’t contacted Go For It which resulted in me being referred to the team in Mallusk Enterprise Park.

What was the best part of the programme?

The cashflow projections gave me a much needed insight into the the financial management of the business.  Cashflow is most definitely King and I did not know how to work out how much initial investment I required, or indeed how to calculate my business expenses in line with forecasted sales figures.  I simply couldn’t have put that part of the business plan together without the help of Sandra, my Business Adviser.

How did you finance your business?

I used personal savings to fund initial start-up costs.

Where do you see your business in 5 years time?

Hopefully my name will be well know and my Art work will be on sale throughout the world.

If you are interested in turning your idea into a reality, just like Julie did, then simply contact us now and a member of our team will be in touch. Our team will work flexibly to suit you.  Meetings can be conducted either virtually or face to face (Government guidelines permitting),  it’s entirely up to you!