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This week, we have a special guest blog from 5-9er, Kathryn Chadwick, sharing her experience of the 5-9 club so far!

I’ve always fancied doing it, always dreamed of trying it, but never had the guts to go for it – until I went to Welsh Ice’s 5 to 9 club.

Kath Chadwick (1)Packing my full time, stable and well paid job in to start my own business was a leap of faith, a risk and a step in the unknown, and was one that I made after attending only two 5 to 9 sessions.
For those of you who don’t know what the 5 to 9 club is, let me explain. It’s an afterhours entrepreneurship course which is held, yes you guessed it, between 5 and 9pm every Thursday at Welsh Ice.

The course is fully funded by the Fairwood Trust and Welsh Ice is partnering with Fairwood, Harding Evans Solicitors and Chwarae Teg to deliver this 12 week course for people like me; who have an idea, want it to happen, but are either petrified (yup, that’s me) or aren’t quite sure of how to go for it.

The first tranche of 5 to 9-ers are women* – which has been great for me. We’re all in a similar boat, most of us have children, most of us are juggling childcare, work, life and ambition, and most of us also have the guilt and confidence issues that plague many women.

But we also have some brilliant business ideas. They range from eco living courses, wedding singing, making a living from art, and mine – which is by no means original – freelance PR, content marketing and communications for small businesses.

Every week the team from Welsh Ice have brought in great speakers in to chat to us. We’ve learnt about social media, grants, marketing – the list goes on. Basically all the fundamentals we need to get going with our businesses.

What made me finally go for it? To be honest, I have no idea. I think it might have been sitting there, discussing what we wanted to achieve and why we wanted to achieve it, made me think the time is now. If I don’t do it now, with all of this support and all of these, let’s be honest virtual strangers, rooting for me, then I’ll never do it.

So, two weeks in to the 5 to 9, I did go for it. I handed my notice in and started planning my self-employed future. I was very fortunate to already have a supportive client on my books, but to actually take the plunge full time was very scary. With the unwavering support of my husband, family and friends, I started getting myself out there, and I’m very pleased to say six weeks later it’s going well. I’ve drunk a hell of a lot of coffee, met some amazing people and bagged myself some clients. I am officially self-employed and I’m loving it.

The 5 to 9 club has given me knowledge, confidence and more importantly friends. Friends who are going through the same things; friends who will listen to my moans; and friends who are supporting each other through the bumpy ride of start-up entrepreneurism. We have a Facebook group where we post, chat and laugh. When one of us was on the radio, we were online to cheer her on, when another one of us had the opportunity to go to an “out of comfort zone” black tie business do, we were there encouraging her to go (and boy, did she look good!)

We’re nearly at the end of our 12 weeks now and the time where we all have to present our business ideas to our fellow 5 to 9-ers, as well as those who have sponsored the scheme. And, I for one, can’t wait to see what my friends are going to present and the businesses they are going to start, or have already started. Some of them have some cracking ideas, which I know are going to fly, and I am so pleased to have been part of that journey, even if it was just an encouraging word here and there.

So, if you are considering being a new 5 to 9 recruit, then what are you waiting for? It’s a total no brainer. It’s one night a week, for 12 weeks, and could possibly change your life forever. GO FOR IT!!

*Don’t worry all you male budding entrepreneurs – it was only the first one that was just for the gals. ;o)

-Kathryn Chadwick