How to Turn Your Lockdown Idea Into a Business

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A podcast, a plot, a business. If lockdown has left you with an idea, now’s the time to get it off the ground. But… how? Here for some inspiration (and three top tips each) are two of Women at Work’s favourite founders.

Jake Hills

Eshita Kabra-Davies, Founder & CEO, By Rotation

“There’s no romantic story here, except that By Rotation’s concept was developed during my honeymoon!” says Eshita Kabra-Davies. “I founded my tech startup as a side hustle while working full-time at a hedge fund. I spent evenings and weekends creating the beta platform and attending sustainable fashion events in order to build up my network. When By Rotation hit certain targets I had set, I finally left my seven-year career in investment management. Growing a fashion rental app during the pandemic has been no easy feat, but I’m so proud of what our lean team has accomplished since our launch 19 months ago. Not only are we the largest fashion rental platform in the U.K., we are also a completely circular and sustainable model thanks to our focus on peer-to-peer and technology.”

3 Secrets to Success:

1) First a side hustle, then the big leap!

It’s important to evaluate if your business idea is worth the opportunity cost of the career you have set up and if it goes beyond a personal interest or hobby.

2) Execute quickly and cost-effectively

Theoretical market research and planning is less efficient than practical experience in running a less perfect vision of your idea. Just go for it and make constant improvements every day.

3) Be honest with yourself and identify your strengths and weaknesses

A leader is never the person who knows it all—it’s the contrary if anything. I am constantly learning and realising how much I have room to grow. Look into filling your skill and experience gaps as soon as possible.

Emily Austen, Founder & CEO, EMERGE

At 22, Emily Austen founded EMERGE, a PR “but better” agency that now has a 22-strong female team. After graduating from Manchester, Austen hired an agency psychologist and data analyst to investigate how brands lose and build trust with their audience, and her agency has worked on a roster of huge brands, with signature flair, ever since. She launched EMERCH, a merchandising arm of the business, to deliver tangible product for guerrilla marketing and brand equity, and has been involved in raising over £100 million for startups.