NTM003: Angharad Boyson on Moving from Uniform to Entrepreneurship

Jul 06

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Today I introduce another Brit and a long time friend of mine, Angharad Boyson. After serving 17 years as a Fighter Controller in the RAF she is leaving, though remains tied to the service as a military spouse, and setting up some businesses of her own. A good listen for any start ups or those considering taking the leap.


Angharad got started by using her resettlement to take a sewing course, amongst other things, thinking that moving around so much it would be handy to make more things herself. The realisation that it wasn't as complicated and time consuming as she thought spurred her on to make very well received gifts of baby quilts for friends and the business has expanded since then. The product line for Vanilla Monkey Creations is expanding all the time but Angharad feels that the more open she is about what she can do the more people feel they can ask for more unusual and bespoke items. Angharad's other start up is a Learning and Development Consultancy service, inspired by her time teaching on the Junior Officer Development course. It is great to know that experience within the service can be transferred so effectively.

But why not just get  job in Civvy Street Angharad? Well there are three reasons:

  1. After so long in the military she wants to be master of her own destiny. If Angharad has a good idea then she can implement it without having to batter through never ending levels of bureaucracy.
  2. Being a military spouse it is still beneficial to have something mobile; not many employers can offer that.
  3. Work/Life balance. School plays and doctors appointments without any hassle. Ideal.

It is early days for Angharad so there is no such thing as a typical day but there have already been some challenges. Setting up a business while moving is difficult, not least because timing can be everything. Angharad had a date in mind, then the RAF changed the move date and threw her off. She can see it as a positive though, she is already a member of the relevant social media pages meaning she has doubled her potential market with minimal effort. That is one advantage of military life, as well as the support network. Lots of spouses are in the same situation, developing skills and talents to start their own ventures and always seem more willing to share their knowledge openly than those you meet by more conventional means.

Angharad wishes that she could tell her pre-business self that it is not as scary as you may think. She was always waiting for that perfect yet elusive time, but there is no mythical moment. You need to just believe in yourself, make the decision and do it. It's a lesson she often returns to as it is too easy to get stuck in inertia and call it 'research'. As I always say 'It is easier to change direction when you are already in motion'.

TIP: Sort out childcare at your new location first. The time and energy you spend worrying about that will seriously detract the focus you give to work. Visit the area, choose your childcare and you will be amazed at how much stress will lift.

In her parting words Angharad tells us to do something we love. After all, if you don't love it, why should anyone else, and subsequently why should they pay you for it?

Find Angharad and her many wise words and beautiful products here:

Vanilla Monkey Creations launches on 8th August. You heard it here first people!

Venturing for a Vocation is Angharad's blog on career change. She's done some great interviews, including with my good self.

Join the Notice to Move Community

I've created a free group on Facebook for the podcast for all listeners to hang out together, get hints, tips and support in their business endeavours. Please come over and join me there!