As a business owner and trying to set up a business in Abu Dhabi I have meet several challenges. It is defiantly the biggest challenge I have had to overcome in my professional life. Through all the challenges there has been one person who always has an answer and a smile when I feel my ego can’t take anymore. She is amazingly passionate about her work and the individuals she supports. Jenny is defiantly the definition of a survivor in the Abu Dhabi female business world. So if you are looking to set up a business and follow your dreams in Abu Dhabi Jenny is your lady!
What do you consider your greatest professional achievement?
Setting up three businesses for myself outside of my home jurisdiction of the UK. Starting any business is a massive achievement, doing it in a foreign country is huge. Now I get to help people achieve their dreams and goals by helping them set up.
How do you stay connected via social media?
I am an active social media user. As my companies provide B2B services, I am most active on LinkedIn and find this professional platform a great source for business leads and connections. I regularly blog about setting up companies in Abu Dhabi and generally doing business here. I also try to share relevant content which affects living and working here. I also manage a LinkedIn Group page focussing on these topics. In addition, I manage a Facebook and Twitter account for my business, Gateway Group of Companies, as well as personal accounts on these platforms too. I do have a corporate Instagram account, but my business isn’t very ‘visual’ so this is used less frequently.
What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
I love what I do. I am passionate about helping people to make the right choices when setting up their businesses in Abu Dhabi. I have met so many people who have been badly informed or didn’t research to start with. I love to hear success stories of people succeeding – it’s so inspiring. However, as an entrepreneur I have dozens of business ideas running around my head and opportunities presented to me – its more a question of which one will follow next.
How do you maintain a work life balance?
This is always a tricky one, especially given our geographical location of East meeting West and dealing with clients and connections around the globe. However, in reality, I think most people appreciate that weekends are ‘down time’ wherever they are based – we are all entitled to take time out and perform much more efficiently when we do. I don’t think clients expect me to be working 24/7. When my husband and I are at home together, we try to focus on family time. Given the age of technology; however, its very easy to quickly pick up emails on mobile devices and respond in a timely manner to clients without it impacting too heavily on the home life. I also have four dogs, which are my priority when I am at home and a total distraction from work.
Who is your hero and how have they helped make you who you are today?
I don’t have one hero as such; but, I am inspired by lots of people around me for different things and I’m constantly watching, listening and learning from them. For example, my husband is wonderfully skilled at managing people and managing stress; my business partner challenges me to constantly strive for more and to maintain a positive attitude; my father is my quality control due to his extensive business experience and matter of fact approach to business; on an emotive level, my good friend Laylah Higgins constantly inspires me due to her genuine friendly and caring approach to literally everyone.
What are your three favourite top people, places, things in Abu Dhabi?
My rescue dogs are my life – their unconditional love, continuous entertainment and zest for life.
My husband – he encourages me to follow my dreams and be the woman that I am.
Coffee – I never drank coffee before working in Abu Dhabi, now I thrive on it and its an important part of my social and business life here.
What is your goal for retirement?
When it all stops being fun, that is the time to stop. At the moment, each day excites me and sparks my enthusiasm more and I’m constantly meeting incredible people. Why would I want to give this all up?
Do you have advice for women wanting to start their own company in Abu Dhabi?
Go For IT! However, do your research first. Be sure that there is a need for your product or service. Network. Network. Network. Doing business is all about reputation and your network of connections will not only be potential clients, but also potential introducers.
How did you come up with your idea to start your own company?
I ran my own business in the UK before moving to Abu Dhabi and vowed never to be an employee again. However, when I moved here, I needed to be an employee to learn about how business is done here. I was lucky enough to find a niche that I love and which drives me. I didn’t intend to start my own business, but I was so unhappy being an employee that is what drove me.
What challenges as a business owner have you had to overcome and how?
I knew my market before I set up, so I was well prepared in terms of understanding costs and compliance requirements. However, the element that I wasn’t prepared for was the sometimes ‘lonely’ days when you miss the office banter and there isn’t anyone to discuss your concerns and fears with, but facing them alone perhaps makes me a stronger person.
What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?