Change of Pace: From Traditional Job to Small Business Entrepreneur
An Interview with Pink Pnines
From holding a traditional job to owning her own business, Katherine, owner of Pink Pnines has had an interesting career path. Her success at running her own business is a great inspiration for any store owner transitioning to pursuing their dreams full time.
Store Owner Since: 2013
Opened on Storenvy: 2013
What is your favorite place in the world? Home! As much as I love being out and about, I’m actually a closet hermit :D
Storenvy: You’ve gone from a traditional job and everything associated with that, like stability, to running your own business. What has that been like?
Katherine: It’s strange how life turns out to be. I was an accidental cubicle escapee.
I left my full-time job in Singapore as a recruiter in the senior executive search industry and moved to Germany as my husband had a position there. At that point I was also selling handmade jewelry but it was more like a hobby than a business. After realising it was quite impossible for me to get a job in Germany due to various restrictions, I decided I would work for myself. It was daunting initially as there were so many things that I needed to learn and do on my own. I did lots of research, read up extensively, consulted experienced sellers and basically did everything that I thought would help me on this journey of setting up my business.
At the same time I was trying to come to terms with not having a fixed income and it bothered me a lot. But when sales started coming in, it was a huge reward for my efforts and a boost to my confidence.
So fast forward 3 years and we came home. I had every intention to rejoin the workforce but things didn’t turn out the way I had wanted. With the support and encouragement from my husband, I continued with my jewelry shop business and also started Pink Pnines to address my obsession with pretty stationery.
I wasn’t expecting it but it turned out to be harder to work from home when I came back to Singapore. The decision to not take on a full-time job wasn’t the easiest to make and follow through as the highly competitive society here generally expects everyone to hold a full-time job (well, unless you have kids to look after). It was even more daunting compared to the time I was starting my business in Germany. Over there I only had to pick up the technical and logistic aspects of running a business, but back home I had to deal with people’s expectations of what I should be doing. I knew what I had to do and I had the knowledge and experience, but I was constantly stressed out and unhappy that I couldn’t move forward and things became stagnant. That was when I realised that the only solution was to shut out the noise and focus on my business.
Despite the challenges, I still feel that it has been a rewarding experience. I used to be shy about telling people what I do, for fear of being judged. I’m gradually moving out of that mindset and openly share what I do. It’s definitely getting better.
What have you learned about work and life from this experience?
I’ve learned that running a business is like running your own life. It is easy to pick up the hard skills but it takes a lot more to develop the soft skills. You can listen and gather a lot of information from all over, but you need to know when to stop and think what is best for yourself.
What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of running your own business?
The most challenging aspect is probably to stay motivated and learn to shut out the external noise to focus on my business. It still hits me from time to time, especially during the low times when I will start questioning myself. I’m getting better at handling them and taking it as a character-moulding experience.
Other than having returning customers, the freedom and flexibility has been rewarding. I follow a pretty strict work schedule but running my own business has also allowed me to take time out to connect with family and friends and explore other hobbies such as sewing and cooking. I used to be really bad at both but I think I have improved a lot. That’s also when I realize life is more than just work.
What advice would you give to a store owner transitioning to pursuing their creative endeavors and passions full time?
Once you have decided that this is the path you want to go down, stay focused. There are a lot of tools and information to help you run your business (Storenvy has a great store owner inspiration and resource section!) but what matters is your own determination.