Why I never let troubles stand in my way and what motivates me to help others
My life so far has been one of ups and downs. I had a troubled childhood, spending time in children’s homes and having my first baby at the age of 15. However I managed to do OK in my O-Levels thanks to a tutor who helped me make up for the school time I missed due to having my daughter.
I went on to take several more qualifications, both vocational and academic. It was only during the course of my second degree in Psychology, at the age of 27, that I was diagnosed as dyslexic. Ironically it was only picked up because I’d done so well in a coursework assignment – receiving 98%, the highest mark ever. When I then failed an exam shortly later staff became suspicious and ordered an investigation.
In the process tests confirmed that I had dyslexia. The university offered me the opportunity to retake the exam with the assistance of a scribe and I received 89%. As a result I was moved straight from the first year to the second year. I completed my degree in two years instead of three and came out with a first.
Although dyslexia is considered a disability, I don’t believe it’s held me back. In fact it has driven me to be a high achiever. Some things may be more challenging for me, but I’ll always find a way.
Alongside my studies I had supported my growing family by starting a variety of businesses, purely to make it easier to fit work around my other commitments. However I found I had a natural business instinct and financial nouse. Combined with my outgoing, sociable manner, these abilities saw my business ventures thrive.
In my early years in business I was running a home baking and sewing business and wanted to diversify into selling organic cleaning products and using them to clean people’s homes. At the time I was working in two other jobs to make ends meet but needed to free up some time to focus on building the cleaning business, so I applied to the Prince’s Trust for a grant. I decided to butter up Prince Charles’s aide by baking him an organic cake. He loved the cake so I told him, “If the cake tastes that good, imagine how good your house would feel after I’d cleaned it”. He laughed so hard that he decided to award me the £10,000 I’d asked for without going to panel.