Patience is a virtue…

Candles and melts

Sadly not one I possess in any great abundance!

I know what I want for my business, for my brand and I know I will achieve it. I can picture it, see it unfold, almost touch it, smell it if you will, it’s that real to me, I understand that I have to follow a journey and allow the business to grow in the right way but I want it now…

I sound like a petulant child in my own head and I have to keep reminding myself that I have come this far having taken time to make the right decisions (well, not all of them of course) at the right time for the right reasons. I have made mistakes and have learnt from them which is as it should be. I have taken a few risks (the recent debacle that was Yorkshire’s Magical Winterland comes instantly to mind), on the whole I have been following a steady path but I now find myself in uncharted territory…. I want to push ahead with something that I cannot legitimately with any concrete evidence, say will be the best thing for my business at this point in time, but in my heart, I know it is, I just know it and one day I will get the opportunity to prove it.

The quote ‘If your dreams do not scare you, they’re not big enough’ has been attributed to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and the concept that if, as a business, you’re not growing, you’re dying, which has been credited to many great business leaders and speakers, are maxims which I hold to be true. If any business is to grow to its full potential, leaps of faith and calculated risks need to be taken; to do nothing is to stand still and then pretty soon, to start to move backwards, to die, as everyone over takes you by changing and developing with the times. These thoughts are part of what bolsters my confidence that I am taking my business in the right direction, the other part is an inner confidence that is a very recent acquisition for me, one which just somehow inherently knows that I can do it and will do it.

For now I shall bide my time knowing that what is meant to be will happen when it’s the right time (with a significant amount of clever engineering and pre planning). I am booked in to attend a major trade event in April, the British Craft Trade Fair,  which I think will be my tipping point and bearing in mind how quickly January has flown by and February seems to be going the exact same way, April is not too long to wait to make some business changing decisions.

The ideas, plans and dreams that I have for Lubylu still scare me but I have to admit to being just a little bit excited about the challenges that lie ahead in achieving them.

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How to be an overnight success

When I took that leap of faith and left my last corporate role in October last year I ended nearly 20 years of employment by global and significant UK companies. I walked away from pension schemes contributed to by my employer, paid holidays, paid sick days, private health care and many more of the other ‘standard’ benefits, but I knew it was the right decision and the right time to do it.

What amazed me wasn’t the number of people who were envious of the fact that I was getting out of the corporate world and into one of uncertain self employment, but the number of those who said “you’re lucky though, you run your own business…” The first time someone said this I was a little taken aback as I didn’t think I was lucky, just that I’d worked hard at it. I always thought my colleagues and friends knew that I worked part time mainly to be able to do the school run and manage my childcare with minimal stress but also as I had a small hobby business which was doing really rather well.

After a few people had commented suggesting that luck was a feature in my life I did have to resort to replying that an awful lot of hard work had gone into that luck over the last nearly 10 years. This reminded me of something that Steve Jobs is quoted as saying “If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time” and it is so very true.

I registered as self employed trading as Lubylu in Feb 2005 and 10 years on, I’m now Lubylu Ltd and running my own business as my full time career. It’s a small business and it’s got some serious growing to do before it’s the well known and respected brand and company that I know it can be but it’s mine and I run it the way I want to run it. It’s been all these years in the embryonic stages, learning what I want to do, how I want to do it, what I’m good at, what I need help with, deciding a vision, trying, failing, trying again and learning each and every time, and there’s still a world of learning and opportunity out there but I’m excited about the adventure.

My point is this, there really is no such thing as an overnight success, even when a person has achieved great financial rewards and personal satisfaction in what appears to be a short space of time. It’s probably the case that it wasn’t their first idea or attempt and that their entrepreneurial past is littered with quiet failures and maybe even some spectacular losses but that one great moment is all people see. So don’t worry if what you want to achieve isn’t happening for you right now, keep at it if you love it and it drives you, if it doesn’t, it’s probably not for you anyway.

Work Life Passion

I managed to catch The One Show the other evening which featured a short clip about Anita Roddick, her life, her work and her children and those who know me know that I have a great respect for Anita and how and why she ran her business. One quote from her auto biography is a sort of mantra to me ‘If you do business for the right reasons, the money will come’.

I completely agree with this sentiment which is why one of the main foundations of my Lubylu business is that I want to create a brand that people want to buy and run a business that people want to work for.  I’ve probably been quite naïve about some elements of business at times, especially the costing and charging side of things as I want everyone to be able to afford to buy Lubylu creations, even if as a little ‘lipstick’ luxury, but a very wise lady, Melinda Coss, pointed out to me that it’s only by making real money that you can truly support the causes you believe in and to do that, you need to charge appropriately for your products. Melinda had read Anita’s book as well and this was her take on how and why The Body Shop was run the way it was.

The One Show featured an interview with one of Anita’s daughters, who continue to run the foundation which she set up to support the causes which Anita championed. One very interesting statement she made was that she and her sister often resented the Causes her mother and The Body Shop supported, as her parents worked so hard all the time they often felt that they had to compete for their Mother’s attention, which at the time she resented. This made me think of an article I read in The Huffington Post by Linzi Boyd about ‘having it all’ and how to juggle a successful career or business and a family.

Whilst I do fully acknowledge that it must be so much easier to plan and juggle your time when you can afford the right team around you, it was more the element of Linzi’s article where she expresses the ideal that when you work so hard that there is a chance your family life is suffering, is not better that your family see you doing something that you are passionate about it, something which excites you and which you know can make a difference?

I often worry that I work too many hours, that my daughter hears me say ‘I’ll be there when I’ve just finished this…’, ‘just give me two minutes sweetheart’, ’I’m too busy…’, too often and when she says ‘Mummy, if you’re not too busy, can you watch my new dance?’ it breaks my heart. But at least I know that now I am running Lubylu as my full time (more than full time) occupation,  I am doing something that makes me come alive, something which I have passion for and that I believe in, and that I know shows through and is a positive influence on our small family.