Careers: Olivia Thompson loves being her own boss
At just 24 years old, Olivia Thompson is her own boss, and loving it.
"I just love the freedom. I love the fact that as an entrepreneur, persons look up to you," the Sparkle Barber and Beauty Salon boss told THE STAR.
Thompson, who owns and operates the salon located on the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona campus, employs five persons to offer a wide array of services there. She has a barber, a nail technician, two hair stylists and a masseuse on staff.
She explained that she started the business while she was still a student at UWI, majoring in Language Education and Linguistics and minoring in Event Planning.
"I was secretary for the guild, and during my tenure I liaisoned with a lot of administrative officers from the university, so I built a rapport with them to develop myself," Thompson revealed. It was through those interactions that the business savvy Thompson learned of the opportunity, and immediately jumped at it.
"I submitted a referral for approval to the university's business development office, and they encouraged me. It was a bit tedious at first because a lot of persons submitted proposals for the location on the campus, and I was very grateful that I was chosen," she shared.
Since then, Thompson has worked assiduously to build and expand her business. "It's going good so far. The students are pleased with the service offered. I have clients who return, so I know I'm doing a very good job," Thompson said, adding that she is also targeting a wider market now that school is out.
However, this is not the Clarendon native's first entrepreneurial venture, as she has been trying her hand at being her own boss from a tender age. "When I was in high school in first form, I used to sell those jello sweets to my schoolmates. Even when I was on Rex Nettleford Hall at UWI, I used to sell phone cards and banana chips," she recalled.
True to her entrepreneurial nature, Thompson plans to establish her own line of medicinal beauty products in the future. She aims to employ the expertise of UWI students to develop the line, as she wants to give back to the community.
Thompson's journey to becoming a successful business owner has not been without obstacles, but she said her drive to succeed has always kept her going. "I remember in my final semester of university, I was going to quit completely. It was the second week of examination and I wanted to give up, but once you see something you want, just go for it directly and you will achieve it," she advised.
Thompson recently lost her father, whom she said was very dear to her, but she has not lost her drive for life. "Emotionally, it's hard because my daddy is one of my dearest persons, but I have to remain strong for my family," Thompson said.
For other persons who feel intimidated by the prospects of starting their own business venture, Thompson advised that they should go for it, regardless of the detractors.
"Don't let detractors weigh your mind down, because they're not important. Just believe in yourself and you will achieve your goals. My definition of success is that success is not quitting," Thompson advised.