Vorwerk Kobold

Dragons' Den star Naomi Timperley shares her top start-up business tips

Vorwerk business influencer Naomi Timperley has been working for herself for 11 years. Here is her story on how she took the plunge and her tips for people who are thinking about being their own boss.
Many people in the UK want to have a career change for a better work-life balance (29%), a better working environment (16%) and for a better salary (50%), according to our research. Vorwerk business influencer Naomi shares her advice and tips for those who want to work for themselves.

Naomi's story

Naomi Timperley has run many businesses during her career. At present, she is a freelance consultant working with tech and digital businesses, as well as a director for Tech North Advocates, which is a private sector-led collection of tech experts who champion the technology sector in the North of England.

Naomi is an honorary industry fellow at the University of Salford Business School, a board member for FutureEverything and the chair of Capital Pilot.

Naomi previously ran a youth enterprise and employability company called Enterprise Lab which helped young people to become more employable and give them an entrepreneurial mindset.

In 2015, Naomi was named in the Maserati 100, which is a definite list of entrepreneurs who support the entrepreneurs of tomorrow from the Centre of Entrepreneurs, and last year she was named as 1 of 5 in the “Most Influential Women in UK IT in 2017: Rising Stars” by Computer Weekly.

Starting a business

Naomi was unsure of what career path she wanted to take when she was growing up. After studying at sixth form and college, she worked in travel for seven years and then, after moving to the North of England, she worked in recruitment for four years.

Naomi then settled down with her family and took four years out of work to dedicate time to nurturing her two children.

Naomi’s entrepreneurial journey began whilst researching party ideas for her daughter. She came across a US events company called Baby Loves Disco, which is a daytime dance party for parents with babies and young children with real club DJs spinning retro floor fillers.

Impressed with the company and the idea, she sent them an email about bringing Baby Loves Disco to the UK. Within two years Baby Loves Disco was in nine cities across the UK and had a TV advertised album with worldwide PR.

Naomi and her American business partner took Baby Loves Disco to Dragons' Den, where they were offered business investment from Deborah Meaden but turned it down.

“Working for myself kind of happened by accident, I just had a good idea and it worked out, and I had a husband who was able to financially support me,” Naomi said.

“I think people who want to work for themselves need to either have financial support or start their business whilst having a part time job.”


Common barriers holding back people in the UK from working for themselves are a lack of confidence (36%), uncertainty of the work coming in (32%) and it being too risky (30%), according to our research.

“I can relate to Vorwerk’s research because there are many worries that people face when starting a business, and there are lots of risks involved. One of the main barriers I faced when I started my business was that I hadn’t worked for myself before so I had to teach myself how to do absolutely everything. I had to learn about marketing and I had to be the spokesperson, the sales person, and accounts for my business," Naomi said.

“It’s also important to be precious with your time. When I first started to work for myself I worked 24/7 and it made me ill so I changed the way I worked. Now I like do things as simply as possible.”

Working your own hours

“One of the great benefits of working for yourself is that I can work my own hours. I have created my own role and I am allowed to be flexible, so I can work from home, and go to parents' evening and school plays.”

Naomi’s goals for 2018 are to continue to mentor, do more speaking and panels, grow her consultancy, and continue to be happy with what she is doing.

“If you do something you love you will never work a day in your life, they say, and that’s really true,” said Naomi.

Here are Naomi's top tips for people who want to be their own boss

1. Use and build your network

You never know who someone might know. It’s important to treat people with respect and how you would like to be treated yourself.

2. Get a mentor

Get yourself a mentor and become part of the start-up community in your area. Having a sounding board can be super useful to people.

3. Care

One of my favourite quotes from US entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk is "the best marketing strategy: care”. It’s important to treat your customers, clients and colleagues with care and respect.

4. Don't be scared to fail

Don’t be afraid to fail because you will - you just have to pick yourself up and start again and learn from your mistakes. 

5. Volunteer and give back

When volunteering you get to meet lots of people in other areas of business that you might not be able to otherwise, and it is important to give back.

6. Have confidence

Anyone thinking about taking the plunge, go for it! It’s a fantastic experience and it will change your life!

Looking for more flexible and fun working and to be your own boss? Vorwerk is currently on the search for business-minded people wanting to progress in their careers. Find out more at: www.kobold.vorwerk.co.uk/career/