An entrepreneur shares how she overcame disabling barriers in her life
In 2012 Paolla Grecco found herself struggling with depression and unemployment, after being made redundant for the second time in five years. Stuck in a rut, she didn’t know where to turn. Fortunately, Livability Enterprise was there to help. Six years later she is running her own successful business consultancy and her depression is behind her. She talked to us about how her life was turned around.
I first became unemployed in 2009 and struggled for almost a year without work.
After signing up for several courses at my local Jobcentre, I managed to secure a new job. But in 2012 I was made redundant a second time. It was at this point I was referred to Livability. I had always wanted to set up my own business but didn’t know how to get started.
Livability Enterprise gave me lots of guidance about how to set things up. Their cash-flow course, in particular, was a game changer for me. I already had project management experience and familiarity with spread sheets, but they showed me how to set out and plan my finances.
Livability Enterprise was always there to offer advice and this made a massive difference.
Their courses changed the way I viewed money and taught me vital skills – these skills are the reason my business is still going today. They also helped me to secure a business loan. The move from creating the first spreadsheet to forecasting projects was a two-year journey.
I couldn’t have accomplished it without the guidance of Livability Enterprise. What I learned continues to inform my business choices and helps me sleep at night!
For over 20 years, I suffered from depression brought on by family trauma.
When I was suffering from depression, I found it difficult to understand or manage. I’d often be late for work and I would avoid social situations because of the debilitating effects of depression and anxiety.
Starting my own business and managing my own work time has really helped me. When I first set up my business, I went for regular therapy sessions, which enabled me to manage my depression. I soon started meeting other entrepreneurs through networking, and this also provided emotional support.
Encouragement is really important – but it doesn’t have to come from home, it can come from anywhere.
I’ve always expressed myself through writing and drawing. But it was my school teachers and neighbours rather than my family who were my beacons of hope when I was young. When I was 14, I was asked to recreate the characters from Disney’s Snow White for one of our neighbour’s daughter’s birthday parties.
I made life size drawings and used different types of papers to create the shapes for all the characters’ outfits. My neighbour was delighted and they were so good they ended up winning first prize at the school’s art fair.
Although it wasn’t the first time I’d won a prize it was the first time I’d had any encouragement. My mother wanted to throw away the Snow White drawings after the party so our neighbour took them down herself and saved them. When she moved away she took the drawings with her – she later sent me a photo of them displayed at another of her daughter’s parties.
Although I don’t draw anymore this memory helps to remind me that I do have talent, because someone went to all the trouble of preserving something I created. That encouragement has sustained me ever since. When times get tough it’s important to remember that you have something to offer.
My business started small and grew from there
I self published my first short story on Amazon in 2011. In 2012 I started up my own company. My business is now firmly established and my blog continues to grow all the time. I offer a consultancy service and have expanded this to support a range of clients with their marketing needs – this provides a steady income stream that feeds my creative projects.
My business helps to launch the work of other authors and I have built up strong relationships with them. I employ freelancer writers from all walks to life – mothers of young children, teenagers, people affected by redundancy and new graduates. This is one of the coolest things about my company – I employ a range of talented, creative people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to work.
Paolla Grecco is a consultant and freelance writer based in London, UK. She is a self-published author, blogger and a regular contributor to several online platforms.
Livability Enterprise works with aspiring entrepreneurs to help develop their businesses. They enable their clients to acquire the skills necessary to run a successful business through their pre-start advice, training courses, guidance programme and mentoring. Find out more about Livability Enterprise here.