I have just celebrated my 50th Birthday, and my husband made a speech about my working life and talked about how I had always been self-employed, and I realised from the age of 18 I have worked for myself.
The reason may be something to do with not liking being told what to do.
It got me thinking about my 32 years in business and what I have learnt, and I am definitely a person who learns the hard way. What would I say to my 18-year-old self, what advice would I give myself when I was just starting in business.
I interviewed Jill Miller for my last E-magazine. She said “your path in business isn’t a yellow brick road, it is paved with rocks and hazards and has lots of twists and turns” this resonated so much with me. It was also a relief to know that another businesswoman felt the same.
You start your business because of passion and excitement, but then you have to learn how to run a business, build a team, website analytics, marketing, budgets, Xero and the list goes on.
My biggest lesson has been you can’t do it all on your own. Building a team who each have different strengths has been the key to allowing my business to grow. I am so grateful to these amazing people around me.
I have learnt as you get older and allegedly wiser you don’t worry what others think, and this is very liberating. You stop making decisions based on other people and more about what is right for you. You are not going to please everybody in business, and that is ok.
Sharing my vision was another big lesson for me; everything was in my head. How could I expect people to support me and add to my vision when they didn’t understand it. So sharing my thoughts and plans with the group helps keep everybody working together and moving forward. And as a bonus gets all of that stuff out your head, making room for new ideas. On the other side of the coin sometimes you have an idea and your team don’t necessarily like it or get as excited as you do about it. This is where sometimes you have to trust your instinct and go for it.
Trusting your gut would be a piece of advice I would give my younger self, it’s pretty accurate. Every time I have gone against it, it has come back to bite me on the bum. Nowadays I don’t even question it, and if it doesn’t feel right, I will not override it.
Get a business mentor someone who isn’t afraid to kick you up the bum and makes you accountable, someone who isn’t emotionally involved and can give a different perspective.
Work/ life balance has been a hard one for me, and my body has paid the price. Stopping to have time out and recharge makes you much more productive, makes sense when you say it out loud but sometimes you are so in your business you can’t see it.
Surround yourself with positive, supportive people who want you to do well. This has been so important, and I’m afraid not everybody has your back and wants you to do well. The people who do are your lifesavers and make sure you let them know how grateful you are. This leads me to the appreciation of friends and family who are also affected by every decision you make.
Celebrate your wins before moving onto the next project, it’s important to reflect and appreciate the hard work of all concerned before pushing forward on the next project.
Finally laugh lots and always wear your big girl pants !!