10 Things That Have Happened Since I Launched My Business
In the last couple of months, I have read about ten thousand* chapters from various business books, studied every business blog I could find and researched a plethora of entrepreneurs trying to absorb as much useful information as I could. However, there are some things that have happened since I launched my business that I didn't read about in the books or blogs (like how much of an emotional rollercoaster it is) and that I thought I would share with you.
*I'm prone to hyperbole
1. I don’t dread Mondays.
Having worked freelance prior to starting The Lifestyle Lab, I've always considered myself lucky that I don't have to go and sit in an office with annoying people every day who talk with their mouths full, complain about the volume on the radio or moan that someone didn't put the lid back on the milk properly, that really is my idea of hell! Because I'm doing something I love and that I feel passionately about, I'm usually quite excited for the week that lies ahead. Which is lucky because it leads us nicely on to point 2.
2. I've realised that weekends are a thing of the past…
As long as I have my phone on me, (which I do - 100% of the time!) then I'm working. If someone emails at 7pm on a Friday asking about making a booking then there is no way in hell I’m waiting until Monday at 9am (i.e. 'normal business hours') to email them back and risk them taking their custom elsewhere. One of my favourite things about not having a boss is that I work the hours that suit me and when I feel the most productive. I go a little bit crazy if I'm in the office all day on my own so I'll leave a bit early and go to the gym and then sit in Starbucks for a couple of hours when my mind feels fresher again. To begin with, I felt guilty if I wasn't tied to my desk for 37.5 hours a week but I've found what works best for me and I certainly work WAY more than 37.5 hours, I just work from a variety of locations and over seven days instead of five. I prefer writing at night (hello, 11pm blog post) when I'm not distracted by emails coming through but it's just about being as productive as I can with my week.
3. I have no one to tell me what to do.
Sounds amazing, right? Well, it is. But sometimes it would be quite nice if there was someone telling me the 'right' thing to do when it comes to difficult business decisions. My current method of 'suck it and see' seems to be going okay so far (hopefully I haven't just jinxed myself) and no one knows my business better than me but I have absolutely no qualms about going to other people for advice/therapy/a hug too when I need it.
4. I’ve become slightly obsessive.
I went on a plane for four hours just after I had received a message on my business page on Facebook and my response time went from under 5 minutes to under 27 minutes. I was so bloody annoyed about that! This type of thing will definitely seem irrelevant and silly to some people but these things aren’t silly to me. AT ALL! In fact, I think that you need to be completely obsessed with your own business in order to make it a success. I also think it's what makes small businesses stand out from the crowd when you can tell that the owner actually gives a shit!
5. Not having WIFI signal will leaves me in a complete state of panic!
And no, it’s not just so that I can watch videos of cats being scared by cucumbers. Whenever I get a booking for an event or get a new client, I don't want to keep them waiting hours for a response. In truth, I want to hug them for a period of time slightly longer than they're probably comfortable with. Like I said, owning a business is an emotional experience.
5. Sleepless Nights are a LOT more common now.
I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about the most ridiculous things. I've found myself on Google in the wee hours researching things that just couldn't wait until the morning like finding the most effective customer relationship management systems, it's exciting stuff! After my first big event, I woke up in the middle of the night and realised that I didn’t have a dustpan and brush in the office. I suddenly started to think about all the things that could have happened if someone had broken a cup or a glass at my event that day. Would I have had to pick up the broken pieces with my hands?? Who knows, WHO CARES?! It obviously seemed like a enough of a pressing matter for my mind to justify waking me up at 4am though.
6. I’ve finally learnt the art of multi-tasking (even although it's been on my CV for years).
I've found that juggling everything that is involved in building a business is the hardest part. I could spend all day on the social media side of the business alone so prioritising tasks has been the key. I need to jump between dealing with the financial side of the business to keeping up to date with comments on social media to planning events two and three months down the line as well as replying to enquiries and trying to think strategically about the business as a whole. Usually all within the space of an hour.
7. I now know the people I can rely on for support.
I’ve been really lucky in that I’ve discovered people that I wouldn’t have expected anything from have been SO supportive. Even people I’ve never met but that I know through social media have gone out of their way to show me support and encouragement, for which, I am super duper grateful. My friends and family have been complete rock stars too, as I knew they would be.
8. Going to the gym has become the highlight of my day.
Sad, but true (and probably a clear indication as to my current lack of a social life). I’ve always been a pretty dedicated gym-goer but it’s now a non-negotiable part of the day for me. Some people like meditation; I like exercise. It helps me think clearer, sleep much better (in between thinking about dustpans obvs!) and it’s certainly an escape from thinking about SEO and VAT and bookings and water charges when you’re just trying to concentrate on being able to breathe after an intense HIIT session. For me, it also helps with self-discipline and I’m much more productive with my time when I know I need to schedule in 60-90 minutes at the gym.
9. I drink more wine.
Within the recommended daily allowance, of course. For the most part. Except for on stressful days. And Fridays. I like Fridays.
10. I now meet exactly the right people at exactly the right time.
Not to get all deep but I've certainly found that the more positively I think, the more good things that 'coincidentally' happen and the more I seem to meet/attract like-minded, successful and encouraging people into my life. I love hearing other people's stories and experiences and words of wisdom.
Despite the stress, emotional breakdowns, near bankruptcy, complete lack of social life etc, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I think this quote sums up exactly why quite nicely.
"Entrepreneurs are crazy people who work 100 hours a week so they don't have to work 40 hours for someone else."