IN July, mortgage and protection advisor Tom Dalley set up his own company, TGD Mortgages. In a question and answer session, he told us about the pros and cons of running your own business.

1. How did you become a mortgage advisor?

I was born in London but from three was raised in the beautiful local villages of Frampton on Severn and Eastington. I moved to Stonehouse when I bought my first house with my wife 15 years ago and now our kids, aged five and seven.

I went into financial services at the age of 18 – I'm now 35 – by working for the now defunct Stroud and Swindon Building Society. Moving into mortgages was a natural transition there. When Stroud and Swindon closed its doors, I then started working as a mortgage advisor for Halifax/Lloyds across the Gloucestershire area.

2. What made you decide to take the plunge and set up your own business? Were you nervous about going solo?

Setting up my own mortgage broker firm was always something people were telling me to do but it was always such a scary thought. I was then very unexpectedly given the news that I was being made redundant. Whereas many people were obviously quite distraught, I quite quickly became very excited and knew this was exactly what my next step was going to be.

3. How do the pressures of running your own one-man business differ from those of being employed by a company?

A huge advantage for me was that I already have experience in running my own company. For the last six years I have run a successful retail supplement business on top of my day job. I have a huge passion for combat sport, fitness and nutrition so it has been a very fun thing to do. For many people transitioning to self employment, the aspect of business accounts, limited companies and such is quite daunting, so to have experience here was a godsend.

The biggest pressures I have had to get used to is that since the age of 18 I would get paid a fixed sum of money come wind, rain or shine on the 20th of each month, every month. We are now a family of two self-employed adults, but already I wouldn't change it for anything. I got to take my son to his first day at school this week and didn't need to ask or check with anyone.

4. How has TGD Mortgages been doing so far?

I have been overwhelmed by the amount of people who have got in contact with me and I have subsequently helped in a huge way since July. I feel mortgages and protection are quite personal things where people buy people.

The power of social media is an amazing thing and I am constantly being shared and tagged which has really helped. My customers seem to appreciate that I am a very down to earth person who you can have a real conversation with, rather than feeling like you are at a job interview.

5. Do you have a long-term goal for the business, such as expanding to take on more advisors beside yourself?

The time will come of me considering taking on additional people, I think. I anticipate the administration side of things coming first, rather than other advisors. In terms of my own development, I am always looking to expand my qualifications and the next step will likely be pensions, however this will likely be in around five years once I have built a strong brand with my current model.

6. How do you keep the work/life balance when running your own business?

It can sometimes be quite hard to switch off when you have worked for 12-14 hours straight, but it's so different to being employed as it's all for me and my customers and my brand. In addition to this I work on a specific laptop which gets locked away each night. This stops temptation to keep dipping in and out.

Although not having set hours means you can do some very long days, it also means that I can do my own things much easier. Family is very important to me so when my kids say to me "I love you being home more daddy" this new life is worth it's weight in gold.

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