Success Stories

IW Design and Print

Martin Timbers runs IW Design and Print with his wife Nicky. Based in Newport, they went into business at the start of this year. Martin and Nicky had relocated to the Island in 2014, moving from Bedfordshire with their young daughter. Martin had been previously employed by graphic and web design agencies and he’s a qualified photographer. 
“I’ve got more than thirty years of experience behind me. I’ve had a lot of customer facing experience too as an account manager,” Martin says. “I’ve always wanted to be my own boss.”

He signed up for a one day start-up course, hosted by the Chamber. At a sprightly 52 he discovered that he also qualified for Over 50’s start-up support as part of the Age Friendly Island campaign.

“I was really impressed by the Chamber and I really clicked with Fiona who has been my mentor since February, and we’ve been meeting every month. It’s great to be able to bounce ideas around at our monthly meetings, or on email. The start-up course helped me to register with HMRC and manage my accounts, tax, VAT, insurance and public liability. The big thing was really to get to grips with the ‘back end’ – the legal aspects and the finance, which my previous employers had always handled for me.”
The Timbers also value the ongoing mentoring, as Nicky explains.

“Having a mentor like Fiona means we’re not on our own. It isn’t always easy to get into business and when you hit your 50s you do sometimes need a bit of encouragement and Fiona understands that. When you’re younger you just get on with it but when you’re a parent or you have other responsibilities it can be a challenge. You learn to deal with rejection too. You aren’t going to win every opportunity and that can be hard when you need to keep the money coming in. Being your own boss definitely has benefits though - there’s a great network on the Island and lots of people are self-employed. If a client needs something urgently then Martin works until it’s done, but he’s also able to be flexible and do the school run too.”

Martin’s now working for a variety of businesses, providing photography, web design and graphic design. He’s made contacts through the start-up course and he’s officially joined the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce.

“I love my work and I love helping people out,” Martin says. “I’m working more hours now than I did when I was employed by somebody else but I can fit it in with my lifestyle, which is really important. You do have to be careful about time and money. You have to make a living but also be aware of what clients want. That’s why we now offer a start-up package for businesses, including web design, which can expand over time without having an expensive initial outlay.” 
Martin is also providing regular updates and workshops for the Chamber’s Over 50s sessions, covering online activity and social networks.

“I’ve learnt that I have more confidence than I thought,” Martin says. “A few years ago the thought of running my own business or being my own boss would have been frightening. When you start a business you really start with nothing – no clients or customers. The big thing for me has been the confidence to believe in myself and my dreams.”


 

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