Leaving corporate behind and plunging into self-employment | Interview with Clare Milsom
Leaving corporate behind and plunging into self-employment | Interview with Clare Milsom

Leaving corporate behind and plunging into self-employment | Interview with Clare Milsom

When you want to start your own business, it’s not just about finding your dream job. It can be an incredibly empowering and exciting experience, but first you’ve got to get through the fear of making a big decision. This can be tough for some people because there are so many unknowns involved, including how much money will you make, how long will it take you to get there, and how can you afford the things that you need along the way.

In today’s episode of the Female CEO Club, Liz the host is joined by Clare Milsom, an award-winning producer working in the corporate communications and events industry. Having started her career as graphic designer in the late 90s. Claire has broken the mould of what it means to be successful in Creative Commons with her Northern, no nonsense and down to earth approach. Tired of being pigeonholed and restricted by the hierarchy. In 2008, she set up Ocuix and found the freedom to put into practice all the strings she has.

Clare talks about her journey to being a freelancer – saving up for years, doing some side projects and finally taking the plunge. She shares what inspired the decision, the biggest success and achievement, common myths about starting your own business and three pieces of advice for anyone who ever wondered what it would be like. Clare has done what most people only dream of – she quit her high-powered job and took the leap into self-employment.

Listen to the episode

Here are key things to listen out for: 

  1. Why information is key: when you don’t have the information that’s going to cause a meltdown more than anything.
  2. The notion of the jumpers in the suits and the jumpers with the creatives in their suits.
  3. The events tech companies are still ahead of where they were before the pandemic.
  4. It is important to know your breaking points to avoid burning out.
  5. Why for Clare’s business it’s not just all about money.


  • [00:45] A little bit about Clare Milsom and what she does. 
  • [01:38] Clare’s story of saving up to go freelance and taking the plunge.
  • [03:56] Clare fears of having to start over from scratch without knowing when her next pay check will come.
  • [06:10] What inspired Clare?
  • [10:43] The effects of the pandemic on Clare’s live and digital events.
  • [15:04] Some of the memorable events in Clare’s career that she is proud of. 
  • [20:17] Clare’s biggest success or achievement. 
  • [22:20] Some of the hardships Clare faced in growing her business
  • [24:39] Clare’s approach of giving herself adequate space to avoid burning out. 
  • [29:10] Clare’s business goals/business plan.
  • [33:41] Common myths in business.
  • [36:30] Three pieces of advice from Clare for anyone wishing to start their own business
  • [38:43] Clare’s favourite productivity tools or resources.

 Notable Quotes 

  • “My theory was I would try this freelance thing. If it didn’t work, I had calculated on the basis of past experience in looking for jobs, that it would take me three months to find a job and three months to walk in through the door and start getting paid again.”
  • “Information for me is key. And that just helps stop me being terrified by things. I suppose the more information I’ve got with anything, the more I feel I can manage the situation.”
  • “I started life as a graphic designer weirdly. Although I’ve come back to it, most people in my freelance life know me as an event producer.”
  • “Back in the late 90s, there was very much this notion of the jumpers in the suits and the jumpers with the creatives in their suits, were the account managers.”
  • “The event tech companies are on the wane, they’re still ahead of where they were before the pandemic. And there’s a lot more to come, a lot more to come.”
  •  “And you have to be prepared to deal with somebody coming up with ideas at the last minute, and expecting still a high level of production, and you turn it around in no time at all.”
  • “When I was employed, you reach a certain level. And then you have to become somebody’s manager, you can’t just keep doing the same job and expect to keep getting paid more.”
  •  “Money doesn’t make you happy. You can work your socks off and not be happy at the end of it. Have a lot of money but then also be working so hard that you’ve no time to spend anywhere.”

Connect with Clare Milsom

Connect with Female CEO Club 

Call to Action  

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