Right now, I'd describe my business as surviving. It's only seven months old, but I relish this moment because when in the future it's thriving - and I know it will be - I'll think back to this time of uncertainty, fear, anxiety and loss with positive reflection.
I'll remember that, despite the setbacks in the early days, I keep moving forward.
Keep challenging myself.
Keep believing in the importance of the work I'm doing.
Keep striving for the children and young people I'm supporting.
Keep being angered by their stories, so angry that it spurs me into action when I'm tired and my energy is almost spent.
Keep being inspired by their struggles which choke me up and are far, far worse than mine could ever be.
Days, evenings and weekends are often filled with the training and networking I find so refreshing. It's what I consider to be feeding my mind - and grasping hungrily what others can teach me. Every connection generates an opportunity to learn.
In spite of years of experience, I'm intrigued by alternative perspectives of the things I always thought I knew. I find I'm often in awe of children and young people.
I'm finding my tribe, meeting like-minded people, building professional relationships and growing into an evolving version of myself. Still uniquely me; though rather like a fine wine that improves with age.
I hear the stories of the overnight successes of budding entrepreneurs making millions within weeks, but I don't envy them. It's the lived experiences of those who've failed that impress me.
Kameese Davis springs to mind, the founder of Nylah's Naturals. I’ve heard her speak publicly on two occasions and she’s the only person so far who’s been able to put my imposter syndrome back in its box for more than a few hours at a time.
That’s because she failed.
When you hear her speak, she tells it like it is.
She shared her earliest business experiences in May of this year:
Failed to get to market on time.
Failed to register her business on time.
Failed to find the right chemist.
The first batch failed as the product wasn’t right.
Failed to secure investment, but still turns over £300,000 per year.
Didn’t secure first retailer but now works with Superdrug and Boots.
Don’t give up, you can learn to do everything.
Get creative and embrace what makes you ... you.
Trust your gut, know when to say no and do what’s right for your brand.
Build relationships with other professionals and your customers.
Define your success; it is not always a destination, it’s part of the journey.
She also said: If it doesn’t make money, it doesn’t make sense.
Hmm, a work in progress!!
Many unconventional small business owners have fallen flat on their faces a few times; it’s the picking themselves up again that’s key.
My message to fellow business-survivors: be proud of your successes, support those who struggle but most importantly don’t give up that visceral desire for your brainchild to thrive.
I have that in spades, because if I keep striving my business will be thriving. Right now I have the resources, drive, energy and commitment to make that happen. Whatever the challenges, I'll keep doing what I do for those who matter - and they'll thrive too.