Pearl Bates: 'Make a Plan was the roadmap I needed to stay on track.'

Pearl Bates: 'Make a Plan was the roadmap I needed to stay on track.'
Marc Gardner
Marc GardnerOfficial

Posted: Fri 2nd Jun 2023

Enterprise Nation partnered with Mastercard and Strive to deliver an online 'One Stop Shop' for entrepreneurs.

An initiative of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, Strive will give 650,000 British micro and small enterprises the support they need to thrive in the digital economy over the next three years and beyond.

We're catching up with some of the business owners who have been using the initiative's Make a Plan discovery tool to find out about how it's benefited them so far.

Here, we talk to Pearl Bates, an illustrator and live event artist whose artwork encourages people to recognise the wonder in the every day.

When and how did you make the move into owning a business?

I've always been an artist, but after leaving college I had to figure out how to earn a living from it. At the time, I didn't even realise this meant 'running a business', and it's not something you learn about on an arts degree (which seems crazy to me).

But, bit by bit, I started piecing things together. I learned a lot from part-time jobs and observing other people's businesses.

What support, if any, did you seek when setting up your new business?

Initially, I didn't know where to go. But I was lucky enough to get early support from The Prince's Trust. They gave me a loan, which I used to pay for a website and a car for transporting paintings. I also had monthly meetings with a business mentor, which was hugely invaluable.

In the early weeks and months, what went well? What didn't? How did you overcome any problems?

I probably wasted a huge amount of time trying to do everything on my own. Connecting with other people who are doing the same thing as you, finding a mentor, and building a network will go a long way to helping you along when you get stuck.

You used the Make a Plan tool. What specifically has it helped with?

The Make a Plan tool was really useful in helping me to get an overview of where I am right now, and what support I could use to get me to where I want to be.

It can be hard to see the wood for the trees sometimes! But it's really important to have a clear roadmap to keep you on track.

Now you're established and looking to grow, what do you see as the next steps for your business?

I'm working on scaling the e-commerce side of things via dropshipping, while building my roster of illustration clients. I've just finished illustrating a children's book, and I'm currently working with brands in my local town to create unusual and memorable marketing messages.

What are your more longer-term plans?

I want to build a brand around a graphic novel. This is an illustrated world that promotes self-acceptance, celebrates individuality and encourages people to be comfortable in their own skin.

What are the most important lessons you've learned from going into business for yourself?

The realisation that you're capable of more than you think. 'Feel the fear and do it anyway' – if something goes wrong, there's always a way to figure it out.

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About Strive Make a Plan

Create an account, answer some quick questions about your business, get personalised feedback, then build an action plan that will help accelerate your business's growth. Take the Make a Plan tool today

Marc Gardner
Marc GardnerOfficial
I'm one of Enterprise Nation's content managers, and spend most of my time working on all types of content for the small business programmes and campaigns we run with our corporate, government and local-authority partners.

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