Start your own business by accident?!


What do you mean you started your own business by accident?!

When Hilary Nightingale, marketer, and founder of Carbon Copy Social and member of the Oxford City FC group tells people her backstory, it always begins with, ‘It all started by accident’.

Back before Covid was a thing, in January 2020, Hilary was made redundant from a marketing agency. She was offered the clients she worked on, to go and start her own business with all the support and mentoring she needed.

Even with that backing, Hilary felt running her own business just wasn’t for her and she would be more comfortable as an employee. So, she got a job.

Uninspired and trapped
Do you know that feeling? Of course you do, you run your own business so must’ve been there! After 5 weeks of feeling like this Hilary was relieved to be on furlough in March last year. Then July came and she was let out of her contract while still under probation.

Help from mentors
In August Hilary went to her old tutor, her ex-employer and her friend ‘up north’ for advice. That’s when her tutor told her about an opportunity. Full time, self-employed (by way of probation), and with someone Hilary knew.
When Hilary went to the interview, it turned out to be simply to determine what she wanted to do, how many hours and how much income she needed. She had effectively become a business owner with one client, but expected to be employed soon, so thought no more of it.

Lockdown 2…
Then November happened and Hilary was asked to stop working, with zero notice. Facing the most expensive months of the year without an income, Hilary told her story to her yoga instructor. That was when she took on her second client. Funnily enough a friend and fellow yoga attendee noticed the increased activity on social media and messaged Hilary, ‘Are you on commission or what?!’. They became Hilary’s third client, about the same time ‘Mr Zero-notice’ came back for 3 days a week. All of a sudden Hilary was working full time in her own business, without even a name, let alone a website or even updated LinkedIn profile!

LinkedIn opened the flood gates just before Lockdown 3
Along came a simple DIY website and Hilary’s first blog on LinkedIn profiles, so she had to update her own profile, which resulted in messages and comments galore, and more clients…
Mr Zero-notice is no longer a client as Hilary is now able to choose who she works with. And after seven months of running her own business, Hilary thanks her ‘northern’ friend for some of the best advice she has ever been given… ‘Turn around, kick yourself up the bum and get on with it!’