Kelly Hoppen tells us the reason why she decided to become a Prince's Trust Ambassador. In September 2015, she backed our Enterprise campaign - to raise awareness of the business programme.
I have been very lucky in life, and for that I am eternally grateful. I grew up in a stable and loving family and my parents always put me and my brother first. We knew we were loved and I always had someone there for me when the going got tough.
However, growing up wasn’t always easy and at times, I often felt like I was on an emotional rollercoaster.
What confirmed this for me was when my classmates realised that I had dyslexia. At first the bullying was mild, but over the years it got worse, and I became afraid to go to school every morning.
Every day would bring its own nightmare. Break times were the worst, when I couldn’t lose myself in a class. I used to find places to hide to avoid the verbal and physical harassment.
It got so bad that I ended up moving schools. I used to beat myself up and ask myself, why me? Was I that hideous? Was I an easy target? Was it because of the way I looked, or the way I spoke? It was a horrible way to grow up and my self-esteem reached rock bottom.
As school came to an end, I thought life could only get better. I would finally be away from all the people who made me feel small, and I would be free to create my own life and be happy doing something I loved.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
When I was 16, my dad suddenly passed away. I was completely and utterly lost. I literally felt like the rug had been pulled from under me and I didn’t have a sense of who I was anymore.
Over time it began to dawn on me that you only live once. I realised that to get to where you want to in life, you need to be fearless. This was the turning point that made me realise I needed to do something that made me happy.
Interiors had always been my passion. I loved giving rooms a makeover as a child, and it was around this time that I started helping my friends decorate their houses. I realised it was now or never, and I decided to set up my own interiors business.
There are so many incredible things about being your own boss. I get to be creative every single day doing something I love. I can set my own rules. I get to nurture my staff and watch them grow professionally. Best of all, I wake up each day and look forward to getting in work.
Obviously it’s not always plain sailing. Owning your own business can be incredibly tough. If something goes wrong, you need to pick up the pieces, and at the beginning, I wondered how I was going to make money. But you have to believe in yourself.
The problem is, so many young people don’t, and this is heartbreaking.
With long-term youth unemployment still frighteningly high, we need to make sure these young people know all their options. And that includes becoming their own boss.
As an Ambassador, I have been lucky enough to visit some of these young entrepreneurs, and have always been completely in awe at what they have overcome and achieved. Some are even employing others now!
The success stories of the young people helped by The Prince's Trust reminds me why I’m so proud to be an Ambassador for The Prince’s Trust. More young people should consider becoming their own boss. All it takes is one idea.