Susan Macaulay

Previous life:

Director of public relations in a corporate communications consultancy.

New life:

Founder and Managing Director of Strike Communications, a Dubai based communication-training company (www.strike.ae); also founder of the on-line magazine www.amazingwomenrock.com

Motivation for change:

After moving to the United Arab Emirates for my husband’s work I spent the first year trying to find a job… I picked up a few small jobs here and there but I realized that I wasn’t going to find work in my chosen profession as a public relations specialist… I also learned that I don’t do well in a corporate environment. I’m not a good order taker; I’m much better at giving people instructions and telling them what to do.

How she did it:

I got involved in doing public speaking, coaching and training kind of by accident. A friend of mine invited me to do a workshop on public relations and through that one experience I discovered that I really enjoyed doing workshops and training… I did one workshop, and then one grew to two, and two grew to five and it went from there… this is one of the great things about the United Arab Emirates and being in a developing economy… there are so many opportunities to do things that you might not otherwise have thought of doing or attempted in a more established business environment… I love living in Dubai and my business is now established here.

Challenges:

Fluctuating income has been a challenge… I see myself as extremely risk averse… starting my business in 1998 my revenues increased steadily… despite the fact that I had periods where I had no business… so I worry less now about fluctuating income because I have faith that eventually something will come in… I’ve been doing this for ten years and I’ve developed a certain level of faith that things are going to work  out.

Advantages:

Freedom is very important to me and I don’t have a daily schedule… I arrange my own days… I wake up in the morning and unless I have a workshop or some coaching, my day kind of evolves as it will… I was miserable when I was in a box…now I am much happier.

Advice:

You really need to be prepared to experience the fact that you’re not going to have a regular paycheck and that takes a lot of getting used to … when you’re working for a company you are accustomed to regular income… it’s almost like a crutch… when it isn’t there it’s very liberating, but at first it is also very scary… I would also advise having some kind of financial safety net so that you won’t feel terrified if you don’t have any income for a period of time… and if you are the kind of person who likes a social environment with a lot of people around you, it may not be the right life for you… it can be very lonely.

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