The creativity of being an entrepreneur
I was thrilled to be invited to speak recently at Heriot-Watt’s Edinburgh Business School. Each year, they run an Entrepreneurial and Creativity course as part of their MBA, teaching the theory and practice of becoming an entrepreneur. As part of the course, they invite business owners from all different fields to come and present to the delegates. The idea is to showcase the broad range of industries and types of entrepreneurial businesses that currently exist in the UK and further afield.
Last year, I was fortunate to be invited by Business Gateway to attend the course as a delegate and found it fascinating to learn the theory behind entrepreneurship. Thankfully I passed the course, which was assessed with a ‘Dragons Den’ style pitch. I pitched my own business, an award winning Yoga studio, Hot Yoga Edinburgh, and was thrilled to pass the exam!
Afterwards, the course leader Laura Galloway invited me to come back this year as a guest speaker, presenting my own business story. She asked that I share my background of 15 years in the corporate world, before changing career completely and opening my own Yoga studio. I had previously worked in the drinks industry in progressively senior roles. I used my own Yoga practice as a way of managing my stress levels, keep my body and mind fit and healthy, and improve my sleep quality.
Training as a Yoga Teacher and subsequently taking on Hot Yoga Edinburgh as a part time business - while working full time - was a great way to try out running my own business without too much risk. By the time I was ready to leave my full-time job, I already had two and a half years experience of running my business, and I had been building it steadily so that when I opened the doors to my own studio, we already had a solid base of customers. I used my business acumen, teemed with my love of Yoga, to design my ideal studio space, and built my team from 2 to 9 teachers. Now, almost three years in, I am so proud of what I’ve achieved. My 'Lifestyle Entrepreneurial' business allows me to support myself and my team, and create a place of calm and wellbeing which is enjoyed by over 20,000 people each year.
During my presentation at Heriot-Watt’s Edinburgh Business School, I explained my role as an Ambassador for Women’s Enterprise Scotland, a not for profit organisation which aims to create an environment in Scotland where women-owned businesses can start-up and thrive, unlocking the full business potential of women.
Sharing my story with this group of young people was a privilege, and I’m excited to see what the future generation of entrepreneurs can create! I’m confident it’s going to be good!
Allison Harrison is a WES Ambassador and the owner of Hot Yoga Edinburgh