SLA Europe Event Review of Career Stories: Starting Your Own Business

Our thanks to Lee Seymour, Senior Consultant at recruitment company TFPL for writing this review.

“Take control of your own development, direction, motivation!

Work as much or as little as you want!

No boss!

Responsibility for your own destiny!"

How would you react to the above job advertisement? OK, the second line sounds appealing, but these might be, I suspect, equally applicable reasons both for and against owning and running your own company. This may fill different people with either excitement or abhorrence.

Bilde: Andrew Grave of our Events Committee and Stéphane Goldstein of InformAll get the evening underway

At the wonderful Business and IP Centre of the British Library, we heard of three people’s reflections and tips from their own experiences. Stéphane Goldstein told us of his two years of developing InformAll which advises on information literacy-related issues; Helen Lippell on her 12 years of consulting on all things taxonomy; and Stephen’ Bynghall’s enjoyment of his eight years as founder of Two Hives, within knowledge and digital IM.

Bilde: Helen Lippell shares her career story

There were similarities in all their accounts, from the timing of the opportunity, presenting itself as being fortuitous from a work, personal or financial perspective to the importance on your soft skills; to the paramount importance of networking and face-to-face interaction as a source of new business opportunities, personal referrals and cultivating visibility.

There was practical advice, such as the setting-up process to learned realities; from there always being something requiring your attention; to how to organise your working environment, separating work and not work; and the need to apply yourself to all elements of the business and everything from doing your own admin to marketing to projectmanagement, etc.

Many moons ago, over several beers in a pub in Sydney I got as close to setting up my own recruitment business as agreeing on our new company name with a colleague….and no further than that. For someone to have taken the plunge and made a success of it, well I have always held such people with a great deal of respect. Yet here were three people who all seemed perfectly normal didn’t talk of the need for an out-of-this world exclusive product or invention and made it seem perfectly achievable and a much smaller step than you might imagine…..and I enjoyed it, takk.



Bilde: Stephen’s two-card trick: His Library Association Card from 1996 and his Two Hives business card from 2018









Bilder: The lessons Stephen has learned & a quick break for food and drinks