SETTING up a new business can be stressful enough, but one woman has succeeded while battling personal and family illness.
Within the first four months of setting up her debt collecting firm Linda Walton had been diagnosed with lung cancer and her husband Graham required a triple heart bypass after collapsing with a heart attack.
But LInda was not deterred and she continued developing Alpha Debt Recovery Ltd while also helping nurse her husband back to health following his heart attack on Boxing Day 2009.
“Last year was a very tough year,” the 54-year-old Bessacarr debt collector, who still needs regular scans, conceded.
“I was so very lucky to have caught it early on and it doesn’t seem to have grown over the last year, which is fantastic.
“The doctors and nurses, especially my Macmillan key worker, were great in the early months when it was really tough.
“Juggling a new business, coping with the stress of a cancer diagnosis, nursing my husband back to health and the obvious knock on financial stress - saying I’m glad 2010 is over is an understatement!
“Having a very positive outlook, support from family and friends and being of a very determined nature has been what has got me through though.”
Believed to be the only woman in Doncaster who runs her own debt collecting company, Linda is already making waves in the business world.
Rather than the stereotype “shark”, she sees her work as the best way of helping people, particularly those in business, in their time of need - especially as debt levels continue to rise.
“I love talking to people and debt collecting seemed a great way to meet all types of people,” Linda said.
“There is a satisfaction of helping businesses improve their profits, keep their cash flow flowing and currently in more and more cases, keeping them in business.”
Having a thick skin comes naturally to the managing director an dealing with difficult clients also comes with the territory and has led to Linda being nicknamed “The Rottweiler”.
However, her hard but fair approach seems to be working as her company, based at Robin Hood Airport’s business park in Auckley, is going from strength to strength.
She is also considered a lifeline to many with her money-saving tips and advice on her regular radio station slot on Doncaster’s Sine FM.
“I am very passionate about what we do,” she said.
“I was determined to form a company that did exactly what it said on the tin.
“We have now 92 clients and growing and are proud of our 86 per cent proven collection results.
“I would like to thank the businesss of Doncaster and surrounding areas for their faith in Alpha Debt Recovery Ltd.
“The signs for 2011 are already looking good for us with seven new clients on board in the first week back.”