Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the dedication and importance of the nation’s teachers was deservedly highlighted, through the adaptation to remote learning or the continuation of educating children of key workers across the country.
However, for many, the pandemic also provided an unprecedented opportunity for individuals to reflect on all facets of life: work, family, living; many people were able to obtain fresh perspective.
For Victoria Corcoran, a foot was in both of the aforementioned camps. A teacher with 14 years of experience, Victoria was employed by one of the county’s schools throughout the early stages of the pandemic. However, eager to juggle her passion for teaching with a busy family life, Victoria identified an opportunity to become self-employed and start her own business – and Victoria Corcoran Tutoring was born.
Aided by financial support provided through one of The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity’s interest-free loans, Victoria now has her own bespoke space from which to deliver lessons to children within the county. However, her journey into becoming her own boss, which started in January 2021, was one that saw Victoria become the one seeking education, as she explained…
“Running a business was completely new to me,” admitted Victoria. “Something as simple as sending an invoice was alien to me. As soon as you’re self-employed, you’re immediately thinking about your own self-assessment in terms of tax and your evidence of what you keep – and that’s quite daunting on the financial side. What gave me the confidence from a business perspective was applying for the business loan from The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity. It meant I had to think about my business in clear, financial terms. When I was completing the application, I had to think about it as a business. I wasn’t looking at growth in terms of how it could support me. I was looking at it in a very ‘short-term’ way. When applying, I had to look at the business in finer detail. I had to learn what an awful lot of financial terms meant. Some of them were alien to me. Without knowing those things, I probably wouldn’t have been able to grow to the way I have now after just one year.
“The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity also linked me to accountants, who provided brilliant support,” she added. “That was amazing, because they know how to speak to businesses, particularly new businesses, and help them through the process. You can ask them those questions and have a personal experience, rather than searching for advice or explanations on the internet. Another human is more likely to understand your rather garbled question, whereas a search engine doesn’t.”
As daunting as the prospect of starting her own business was, Victoria was filled with confidence in her ability to teach and the encouragement of parents eager to have their children become students, whilst Victoria admitted The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity’s backing played another big part in making her business a reality.
“Starting my own business took a lot of encouragement, some of it from parents that wanted me to tutor their children, which really helped,” said Victoria. “Thankfully, it hasn’t been anywhere near as scary as I thought it would be.
“Having support through the interest-free loan from The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity helped massively,” she added. “It was great to know that there was support there for a relatively small business. The charity was a bit of a beacon in the dark for me, because when I’d started to think about developing a teaching space – which was what my loan was used for – there was a lot out there, but when you drilled down to it, few of the options felt relevant to me. All of the unique elements of the business loan were hugely important to me. All of it makes it an option that suddenly becomes doable for you, particularly for a small start-up or a small business. I have a three-year grace period at the start of my loan, so I know I have time to breathe and time to see where I am financially before I start paying it back. It’s a great length of term, being nine years. Interest-free; you can’t really understate how amazing that is.”
Fast-forward 16 months and Victoria has been able to implement the funding obtained through The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity. Her purpose-built teaching space is now fully open, allowing Victoria to run her business and admin the way that she envisaged.
“It’s everything I wanted it to be, I love it,” said Victoria. “It’s fulfilling, it fits around my family life, but what the loan has done for me is create a teaching space, in my garden, that people can come to. Out of term time, I can run group sessions and things like that. The teaching space is completed and it has changed my business. I still travel to people’s houses because flexibility is important to me. However, the space opens up a new business stream for me and enables me to run holiday camps and work some evenings. It also means I have everything around me and don’t need to rely on what’s in my bag! I have more IT available too, so I’m really excited. I’m pleased to have my own dedicated space, both for teaching and for business admin.”
If you’re interested in finding out more about The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity’s interest-free business loans, please CLICK HERE.