Careers

5 steps to take to become your own boss

In partnership with
GANT

Creative consultant, surfer, DJ and general badass Kylie Griffiths knows her stuff when it comes to being your own boss. Here, she shares her wisdom…

Ever had a wild idea like making a surf club for women who are landlocked in the city? When Kylie Griffiths did just that with London Girls Surf Club, she was onto something.

That far-out idea is now a fully fledged network offering support and buddies for those apprehensive about venturing into the ocean alone, with trips around the UK and abroad.

Kylie hasn’t always been an avid surfer and started out in the fashion industry as a stylist while also dabbling in DJing. As well as Surf Club, she also runs her own creative agency DIY, which operates within the skate, surf and lifestyle sector.

Want to know how she did it? Here are Kylie’s five steps towards becoming your own boss.

1. Get the timing right

“I got into surfing completely by accident. My husband’s an ex-pro skater and we used to go to Boardmasters Festival together. 

I used to get bored because he’d be off skating. Then I saw this little hut on the beach that read Surf School and thought, ‘Stuff it, I’m just going to try’. 

The first year I did it, I didn’t really think anything of it but the following year I was getting fed up of styling. I was having a really stressful week and I went to the surf lesson. I loved it and felt so much calmer.

Then I just got hooked. Like I said, it was by accident. I just thought I’d have a lesson and see how it went. The timing was key.”

2. Trust your instincts

“People kept saying to me: ‘What? Are people going to surf down the Thames?’

Just don’t be scared. Obviously, it’s important to take advice on board, but you just have to trust your instincts.

With Surf Club, we approached some brands and were very lucky to get sponsored, but I just kept going until someone believed in it. 

As cheesy as it sounds, you just have to believe in yourself as much as possible to make other people believe in you.”

3. Start small 

“I’ve always wanted to start a clothing brand but I never did because I thought you had to start with a thousand things and it’s impossible. And I don’t have the money. 

I think you can start small with things, build up and take it one step at a time. Take baby steps and anything is achievable.

I didn’t stop styling until I was certain my other option was a viable way of life. Then I slowly started decreasing my styling jobs. If people have a 9-5 and they want to start a flower shop or whatever, just work it out slowly. 

Anything is possible if you put your all into it.”

4. Be yourself

Kylie wears GANT Classic Down Jacket

“I think everything surfing focused is aimed at people in California. I don’t look like a surfer at all - I wish I could! 

If I lived there, I’d totally embrace the surfing style but it’s really hard because it’s so cold here in winter. I’ve always been chilled out with the way I dress. 

Weirdly, from being a stylist I almost started to care less about my personal style because you’re thinking about clothes so much that in your down time you don’t really want to. 

I’m very much a Vans, T-shirt and jeans girl. During winter, I just edit it with a nice jumper and a big GANT puffer coat. I’m pretty low-maintenance.”

5. Know when to switch off

“You need to know to switch off. I’m lucky because I have a lot of friends that run their own companies, so before I started DIY, I saw what it was like.

You have to learn how to separate work and home when you’re your own boss. I don’t think my to-do list ever goes down - it just changes.

At points you have to realise it’s OK not to get everything done in a day and it’s OK to turn your phone off for a couple of hours. To the younger me I’d say just learn how to switch off and have some of your own time because that’s fine. 

You don’t need to work 24/7 every single day.”

Kylie wears GANT Classic Down Jacket. Find out more about GANT’s collection and shop the range here.