Author Sonya Naik
Being in the corporate environment most of her life, Sonya is using those skills to grow a small creative art business whilst at home due to the pandemic. After becoming ill in 2019 she decided to engage with art as a form of therapy. This then turned into a passion and in May 2020 she started a mixed-media custom and bespoke art company called Kreative Sonrays. Whilst on hold due to children being at home, Sonya talks to us about being a busy mum with a job and a business!
Tell us about your business?
I am a mixed-media custom & bespoke artist, creating commissioned artwork. In 2019 I unfortunately suffered from personal ill health. During my recovery, and subsequent period of depression that ensued, I decided to engage with Art again after a gap of nearly 20 years. This was initially as a form of therapy, which then turned into a passion. I believe this time allowed me to grow into the artist that I am today. In May 2020, I decided to take the plunge into setting up a small art business called Kreative Sonrays.
What would you say are the benefits of being your own boss?
Becoming self-employed can obviously seem like a huge scary step to take, whether it be full-time, or like me, you have set up a small business alongside another occupation.
Being your own boss certainly has the following benefits:
- Flexibility – you can set your own hours of operation. Personally, this works well for my children and me. The ability to work when and where I want, certainly affords me greater flexibility.
- Hands-on Learning – when you are running a small business, no two days are the same, and you are consistently learning from new issues. You must operate all parts of your business, from administrative tasks, to creating the art, marketing, building customer relationships, selling, finance, packaging and gathering reviews and feedback.
- Greater maintenance of work-life balance.
- Following your passion – work that makes you smile and gives you inner peace.
- Commute – you are in control of your daily commute.
- Ultimate autonomy – you get to decide how you operate your business and every aspect of it.
How have you balanced work and life responsibilities during the pandemic?
As a mother of two small children and married to a busy Doctor, I had to put my art commissions temporarily on hold, whilst simultaneously juggling my own work as a freelance e-Learning Digital Designer and the dreaded home-schooling! This was a difficult but realistic decision to make, which required openness and honesty with my prospective customers, without over-promising and consequently, under-delivering.
As a female leader, what has been the most significant barrier when starting your own business?
I believe that the twin fears of prospective failure and not meeting customer expectations is a significantly perceived barrier. This was partially due to putting the needs of my family first as a mother and not wanting to fail as businesswoman, nor as a mother!
I was initially apprehensive about starting my business, despite having a previously successful corporate background. I knew that the accountability of the business would rest solely with me. When I finally took the decisive steps forward, there was no looking back. As a woman who has worked in senior roles in various companies, I knew that my previous experiences would help me to build a network of contacts, get to know ideal customers, and make genuine connections with those who would be interested in my Art. Thankfully, I have not looked back!
This article was written as part City Business Library’s International Women’s Day campaign 2021. This year we want to support more people like Mya get their business started and grow. Our business databases can give you information and data that can help you with advertising, market research, company information, and industry factsheets. If you have already taken the plunge, we would love for you to join us at a seminar, our workshops cover digital marketing, business model canvas and planning, demystifing taxes and intellectual property to name a few. Visit our events page or website for more information.