Meet Natalie who is founder of Private Dining London.

It all started with a goal to chat to entrepreneurs over 60. Then out of curiosity we decided to talk to entrepreneurs under 30. We believe these two very vast generations can learn and grow from each other. 

This week we chat to Natalie Cobb who is the founder of Private Dining London and Event Setters.

Can you tell us a little about your business and what you do?

My business, Private Dining London, is a venue finding and creative events planning agency that offers services for private and corporate clients. We find venues and organise personalised, characterful events ranging from baby showers to Christmas parties in London and surrounding areas. My other business Event Setters  is focussed on weddings and events.

What motivated you to start your own business?

I was working in hospitality events for a venue and really felt a need to work with an agency that offered a consultancy or planning service for smaller events. We advertised our spaces on a number of platforms that cost a fair bit of money but didn’t offer anything active in terms of promotion in return. Therefore, I wanted to start a platform or service for venues that gave more back in terms of up-to-date proactive marketing, networking and social media with a specialism in private dining and events.

What were some of the struggles you faced when you first started?

Gaining confidence to shout out about my own project and at the start it was having the guts to walk into a room for networking to speak about a business with no weight behind it. In the beginning I was quite private about the business within my network but now two years in I’ve learnt about the importance of letting people support you.

-Marketing on a limited budget is always difficult when you’re competing in a competitive market but being clever, utilising free channels and bouncing ideas off other professionals will help!

– Work colleagues. Being self-employed means that you lose this network so I went out and had to find a new circle of “colleagues” who are freelancers or self-employed. Meeting my circle has given me brilliant sources of motivation, inspiration and companionship in a job that has the potential to be quite lonely.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learnt in life?

I have a couple that are linked to starting my own business.
– Don’t worry too much about the small things. Life will throw many challenges at you and if everything was thought out too much there wouldn’t be any risk.

-Positivity – Think about everything positively and positivity will come back to you. Surrounding yourself with positive people or people that “get” you is one of life’s gifts that will push you from strength to strength.

What do you like most about having your own business?

I love earning my own money and knowing that the hard work I am putting in day in day out is from my own hard work, determination and persistence. When clients thank me for my work I know it is because I made it a success and have started to build the foundations of my end goal. I also love that I control the decisions. I can think innovatively without judgement or barriers from other decision makers.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Give it a go, don’t be shy or reluctant. Don’t listen to negativity or be beaten down by others. Make something your own and be confident about it!

Who is an older person that you admire and why?

I look up to one of my first clients who I now consider a good friend of mine. I have a lot of respect in how he challenged the “norm” in the crowded market of commercial property in the 1990’s to build a strong business for himself and his family. I admire his grit to try something new and he has a real interest in young business people. He’s already showered me with business advice and is a real testimony to how you can build a business and a strong family unit at the same time. I’m really thankful to have met him and his wife.

If you could jump into a time machine what era would you visit and why?

I would jump into the Gatsby era of revelry and excess of course! They knew how to party and be fabulous. We replicate this now in parties as a trend in the last few years but I would’ve loved to have arranged a party at that time.

Anything else you would like to add?

Start your own thing and don’t be afraid. Wait until you have something that you really believe will be a success. Don’t get hung up on ‘THE IDEA” because it may not exist – all you need is motivation, resilience and support to make a success of what you do. This may not be your own business but maybe a project that you can make your own.