Lights, Camera, Action for Beth Whitehead

Successful Mum Beth tells her story…

What is the name of your business and what does it do?

My business is called BAFTAS which stands for Beth’s American Film and Television Acting School and I teach acting for the camera (TV and Film, American style).

How did Successful Mums help you?

I attended the Business Start-up course as part of the Orpington 1st Business support programme. Jane’s positivity and invaluable advice made me realise I have to take chances and if it doesn’t work out it wasn’t meant to be.

What inspired you to start your own business?

I received the exact training I now teach through an American company called Talent INC. I was then scouted to teach on behalf of the company for UK performers completing their training and development programme. The CEO and founder, Scott Cooper, personally trained me and encouraged the acting school as we noticed the UK performing industry often focuses solely on acting for the stage and less so for the camera.

What challenges did you have when starting a business?

I found it difficult to convince people that I was experienced enough due to my age which is extremely frustrating but you just have to prove them wrong. When I was teaching for another company a couple of parents admitted that, initially, they had prejudged me due to my youth, but after the training said they would highly recommend me to friends and family!

What does personal success mean to you?

My personal success is gained through seeing other people develop and succeed from the skills I have provided them with my training. If I, in any way, even help build someone’s confidence (let alone their acting skills), I believe that is personal success. I am privileged to have experienced this with an autistic boy already – it’s a priceless feeling and the family are very grateful as they say he has blossomed during mere hours of training with me.

What is the most challenging thing about working for yourself?

I always wonder if I’m doing enough, I put an immense amount of pressure on myself and am naturally self-critical. There isn’t anyone above me to tell me if I’m doing a good job or not, which I’ve been used to but I am always finding ways to improve. I appreciate feedback from my students and try to implement anything they suggest. I can never know if that’s enough – I strive for perfection.

What is the most rewarding thing about working for yourself?

I am able to manage my workload to my own schedule and I am working on trying not to feel guilty when plans change and I can’t do something because something else comes up. I have the freedom to change my curriculum in the middle of a lesson according to the requests of students.

What top tip do you have for other Mums thinking of starting a business?

Go for it! Why not? Life is too short to play it safe all the time. Obviously, I’m not suggesting you take financial risks but if there’s a gap in the market for something and you feel you can make an impact in the industry/earn from this you should take the risk.

What work-life balance tip do you have?

Set aside time specifically to do your paperwork etc and reach a cut-off point in the day where you just switch off like any other job. Just because you might work from home at times you have to be disciplined, making time for work and time for your family and friends. Do not overwork yourself or you’ll find yourself distanced from others.

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