"I'm a single dad, I need to work on my terms"

Single dad Peter Paul has been working with Peter Leong to start his own business

“When my wife passed away, I was referred to FSM’s Father’s programme by Friendship House. I was struggling to cope and the programme really helped, just getting out the house and having something to do was great.

I told David, who runs the programme, I was struggling with finding work that also allowed me to be there for my three-year-son, and how I would love to run my own small business. David referred me to Peter Leong so I could attend his weekend business course. I just went to be nosy the first time, but I really enjoyed it! I like meeting other people and hearing new ideas. I realised setting up a business was a real option.

My main focus is to get financial security and still be there for my son. I’d like to work around my son, and also be able to get him involved. I’d like to be able to take him to work instead of having to leave him with other people. He’s very happy go lucky, he goes with the flow so I think it would work well.

At first I wanted to be a training instructor for driving but Pete said there was a lot of those out there already. He asked what my plan B was, and after thinking about it I thought I’d like to take people up North to my dad’s Marae and show them around and tell them the stories I was raised on. I think tourists would enjoy that.

I did eight sessions with Pete and found I had real passion. When you go to a job it’s just because you need the money, when you do your own business it means more. But it’s not been plain sailing. I was suffering depression after my wife passed away, which made everything hard. Also I needed a passenger licence which was hard to get at first, but I got it in April. Now I need a van but I don’t have the finances. Pete has helped me think about the alternatives though, and in the mean time I’ve been using my UTE and trailer to help people move house.

When I come across a stumbling block I’ve got Peter to talk things through with and he gives me suggestions. I’ve also got David, he supports me when I’m stressed or when things aren’t good at home. I go to the fathers catch up on Mondays and that is great- I even take my son.

My main message is to speak to other people about your troubles. If you don’t speak to people it’s going to build up and you get frustrated. Let it out, and get help to find a solution.”