What’s the one thing that if you could go back and tell/ask yourself when you first started in business what would it be?
If I could go back I would like to ask myself if I really really loved what I was about to do, you see when I first stepped into the entrepreneurial world 7 years ago I completely misplaced my passion. I knew I was hell bent on not returning to the corporate world after having my second child, I knew I was definitely going to start my own business as I’d always had the burning desire to do so. What I didn’t know was what that business would be, I toyed with a number of ideas mainly to do with on-line stores and settled with the idea of a baby clothing company (by now I had a partner in crime!).
I use the word “settled” as the idea came from my passion for fashion and the fact that I was a new(ish) mum of 2 struggling to find different and affordable clothing for my little ones on the high street especially for my son.
So the mission began to create this on-line shop but not just selling other designer baby clothing, no we decided we to go one step (or lot’s) further and design our brand of clothing and had manufactured. When I look back I’m both amazed and incredibly proud that we pulled this off having had zero design experience and retail experience but do you know we did just that!
We pulled off a fabulous collection of baby clothing and a brand that was easily recognisable. I say it was recognisable as I managed to get it stocked in a number of stores across Surrey and would daily have messages from people in my network saying they had seen the clothing in various shop windows….amazing! I had made the brand VISIBLE by continually knocking doors, continually meeting people and by marketing it across all areas available.
Now I’m going to go back to talking about passion, what I’ve just told you all sounds lovely and great and I really did enjoy the setting up side of the business even though even through the blood sweat and tears and I thoroughly enjoyed the marketing side. I enjoyed speaking to people day in day out about the brand and what we wanted to achieve, I thoroughly enjoyed networking getting the name out there, I enjoyed pitching the products to potential stockists and was thankful to those that believed in the brand and gave us a chance. But what I loved more than anything is that other small businesses were taking note and really wanted to know what we were doing to make the brand more visible. I loved nothing more than sharing my knowledge and ideas again and again and connecting people. Now this is where the mis-placed passion comes in to place as it soon became apparent that there was no passion to design again there was no real passion for retail, yes I got excited when we made a sale but after that nothing, it was hard work as business is and without the passion it was hard to continue!
Without going into too much detail after being in business for a few years I had my third child and the juggle of the new family dynamics mixed with having a business that I wasn’t in love with got the better of me. Although I wasn’t in love with the business by this time, it absolutely broke my heart to make the decisions to close it down and by this point I was pretty much operating on my own. It was a decision for the best and one I’ll never regret. That was 4 years ago now and I wouldn’t be where I am now if it hadn’t of happened, my passion is to support, to assist, to idea generate, to motivate and inspire and I’m extremely grateful that my past experience allows me to do so.
I guess my point is had I took time to delve deeper in the beginning and created a business based on my true passions and where my real strengths lie I wouldn’t have continued to develop the idea of a baby clothing business, it’s simply not enough to just like something or have an interest in it. You can only keep up momentum if you are genuinely in love with what you do!
However DO NOT be afraid to make changes in your business journey even if it means you have to reinvent completely you must TAKE ACTION and make changes rather than continue going through the motions with something you’re not enjoying.
If there is any area of your business that you enjoy the service offering more than focus on that more, make that part of your business more VISIBLE to attract your true ideal clients/customers, it will mean you will enjoy what you do a lot more, it will make the challenging days less difficult as there will be a real passion there. You will continue to fight to succeed because you 100% love what you do and you will let nothing get in the way of that.
So I’ll end by saying you need to be in love with your business, real true love and if you are not having these feelings then make changes until you are and you will succeed.