Joanne Keeling is one of the ten finalists in the Inspirational Business Awards, read more about her story and her business, Izzy and Ollie in this interview.
1.) What has been the toughest part of setting up your business and getting to where you are now?
The toughest part was going to London to get an agent and a publishing deal. Being a mum with two kids and a husband who works away Monday to Friday was also difficult to juggle, as well as working as a police officer, and of course my severe allergies.
2.) Why did you enter the inspirational business awards?
I want to raise awareness of a subject very close to my heart, and which saved my life. I think my story is inspirational because it’s different and it teaches families about the importance of educating children about safety.
3.) What do you think makes your story so inspirational to other small business start-ups? And why do you think you deserve to win?
My story and the background to the business can help save lives. When policing I worked full-time hours managing two children, and was setting up Izzy and Ollie. Other parents can start up a business too if they have a dream, they just need to put in the extra hours and believe in themselves. Izzy and Ollie is a profitable business but with an important health and safety message too.
4.) If you could give one piece of advice to small business start-ups, what would it be?
Research your products and make sure you have a unique idea. Time management is also important when setting up a new business – getting your work-life balance right.
5.) If you win, what do you plan to do with the prize money and promotional products?
I would like to put some money into making my next book on water safety (which will support the RNLI charity). In this country people don’t know that learning to swim is a life-saving skill and there are far too many drownings/near drownings. I haven’t been able to afford much in way of great printing products so the products from instantprint would help me at events. I want to expand the business to teach 999 safety in schools and raise money for child safety seminars.
You have until Sunday 6th December to vote for Joanna & Izzy and Ollie as Britain's Most Inspirational Business.