It took five years for Christina Hsieh to build the confidence to start her own business. In 2017, she made the leap and founded her own structural engineering company, CH Simple Design. Structural engineering involves the design, analysis and safety planning of the structural components of architecture such as buildings, towers and bridges. “To have the freedom to do what you want is very powerful, but it is also scary,” she says.

Taking control of your career

Christina, 40, grew up in Taiwan and trained to be an engineer. She moved to the UK in 2001. She fully believes in the importance of quality control and innovative structural engineering solutions. She applies this belief in quality and innovation to all her work with clients.

Christina wanted to start her own company to gain more control over how she works and how projects are run. “I started the company with no previous clients,” she explains. She has now built up a considerable client base and is receiving requests from existing and new customers.

Christina Hsieh, founder of CH Simple Design, a structural engineering company.

“In the first year, there were quite a few times when I thought about giving up,” she says. “I was so busy but not getting anywhere or seeing the outcome.” After passing the one-year landmark, the process began to get easier although she still struggles to find the right work-life balance. “The hours are much longer but it’s much better to be doing overtime for yourself,” she says.

Today, one of her biggest challenges is knowing when to say no. “Many startups often have the attitude of saying yes to everything but there will come a point when this is no longer possible or profitable,” she says. Time management is a challenge for so many of us, but being more selective can ease this pressure and help you to prioritise.

Taking control of your money

For years, Christina struggled to find a British bank that would allow her to travel back to Taiwan without charging her fees to spend abroad. “With Starling, I’ve finally found a bank that can move with me and I can see exactly what I spend,” she says.

Christina Hseih uses Starling for both her personal and business banking.

For Christina, being able to bank on the go is what has saved her the most time. “Previously I had to wait and group everything together,” she says. “Now I can pay an invoice the moment I see it. It really saves me a lot of time. And it does everything I need it to do.”

Update 23/5/22: CH Simple Design is now renamed Matter.

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