One year on
It’s been just over a year since I left the corporate world to start my own business. Was I nervous? Sure! Did I know from the outset how it was all going to turn out? No way! But I had a strong belief that it was the right thing to do and I have never looked back. People are quick to offer opinions from one extreme to the other: ‘Go for it!’ ‘What have you got to lose?’ or ‘Are you sure it’s the right thing?’ and ‘What if it doesn’t work?’ I heard both opinions when I was making the shift….but in the main people were supportive. So what was it that led me to make the change? I’d love to share a little of my story with you….
To be honest, 18 months ago I was busy – busy working 4 days a week in a senior management role in a manufacturing company – although a global company, we only had around 20 employees at our site, so I ended up dealing with day to day tactical tasks as well as getting involved in the politics and strategy of the bigger organisation. It was exhausting. I loved both sides but it was hard to balance the two. Then I would come home and be busy – juggling family life. In the back of my mind I’d always known that one day I wanted to run my own business. But never knew what in. I knew I had transferable skills, but how could I package them up? So on it went….no change….busy busy. I hadn’t even thought about how we’d cope with the school run or school holidays when our eldest turned five, with my husband and I both working 4 days a week, plus my hour commute each way. I just pushed it to the back of my mind.
Then an old friend told me a little about what she was doing and suggested I may be interested. NO WAY I thought! I am TOO BUSY!!! But then she asked me ‘what will your life look like in 5 years’ time if you change nothing?’ Hmmm, now that got me thinking. I looked ahead and quickly realised that if I changed nothing, nothing would change. And for a woman who likes progress, it didn’t sit well with me. So I took up her offer…and I started my business with her support, coaching and encouragement, along side my corporate job. I weighed up the pros and cons, believe me! I am risk averse! And although there was some risk involved – of course there is when trying something new – it was low risk. Low investment in terms of time and money, and I could start to build the business alongside my current job.
For me this was the best way to venture out and start something new. Paddling at the shores of the lake, instead of diving in and seeing if I’d sink or swim. Don’t get me wrong, I was 100% committed from the outset – I don’t do much half hearted. I planned to apply focus and give up on other things in the short term (important stuff, you know, like watching box sets!!!) to see whether this was right for me, whilst not giving up the security of my job.
Six months down the track and the difference between how I felt about my J.O.B. versus my Business was just too great. I wanted to work on and in my business more – I was excited, passionate, learning so much, loved the supportive community I was a part of, and keen to share what I was doing and build a team. When it came to my J.O.B., however, I had lost my passion. Things weren’t changing or progressing fast enough for me and it was time for me to make that bold move and resign. Again, it wasn’t without consideration – it takes time to build a business and I still needed to contribute to the household financially. So I took on some contracting work which I could do from home with flexible hours, whilst growing the business, and work it around the family It was great!
And that’s how I continue to work today. I know there will come a time when my business will pay me far more than I was earning in my J.O.B. – the potential is there, I just need to work consistently on myself and the business. It’s a long term goal, not a quick fix (what is?!). I work my business and I contract on a project-basis. I am around for my family and don’t miss out on school activities. These are small everyday gains, but I know that I am building so much more than that. My eyes have been opened, I am now choosing the future I want, and I am excited about how I can in turn make a real difference to other people’s lives, and to the wider community – things I never thought I had the time or resources for in the past. The opportunities and choices we have as a family will continue to grow, as I learn and grow, and as my business grows.
When I first started my business I didn’t realise that I would be learning so much on this journey – about myself, about business, about life skills. And that has been one of the biggest joys for me this past year. Stepping out of the bubble I was in and discovering a whole new world and a whole new community. Don’t get me wrong: it isn’t easy. But it is fun, and I am confident it will be worth it.
(oh, and I am back to watching box sets occasionally now! Suits is the new favourite….)