This week is the anniversary of me giving up my job and running my business full time and what a rollercoaster it has been!!
I thought I’d share with you some of my thoughts about it.
It has always been my dream to run my own business, having grown up with my parents running their own business it’s no surprise that I am now doing it for myself.
Before I’d given up my job I was running my nutrition business on a part time basis, most people would call this a hobby business, but I knew it had potential so wanted to do it full time.
The main reason for wanting to have my own business is to allow me to use all the skills I have acquired through my life & felt that no job was going to allow me to use all my skills.
I’ve been lucky enough to have a number of different careers, some might say an eclectic mix of jobs but I seem to have this vision for how I want my life to be & when it’s not going to plan I change to make sure I’m on course to the future I want.
All these different skills and qualification now fit and make a complete jigsaw of what I offer to individuals and businesses.
I woke up on the Monday having finished my job on the Friday before and wonder what I’m going to do!! I have lots of plans & ideas and started in earnest to make them happen. I’d already decided on my logo, got my website designed and got business cards printed so what else did I need!?!
Well, a bowl full of courage for a start. I’ve been a food specialist business coach/advisor for over 5 years and well known in the food sector so it was quite scary going to networking meetings when only a couple of people know me when I had been used to the whole room knowing who I am and what I do. As most people who know me know that I’m not shy or a shrinking violet so a few deep breathes & I launched myself onto the Lincoln business scene.
And I have to say I have met some great people through these meetings, some are now good friends and some are business associates so I’m slowly building my network of business people around me.
The first high was to win some work with a very good friend and now business associate Hayley Bury who runs a company Baybury Marketing Solutions (www.baybury.co.uk). We’d successfully tendered in for some work and we’d won it, beating larger & more established business!! Yay, well done us!!
And the first low was to come home to an empty house and not really have anyone to celebrate this massive achievement with, well apart from Sophie cat but she’s not that keen on champagne!!
Living on my own and not having my family close by or being close to them emotionally has been one of my biggest hurdles to overcome. I love my own company and happily spend a weekend at home not talking to or seeing anyone but when you run a business it’s different. I have ideas, suggestions and thoughts and no-one to share them with, or to reason with.
So I called upon another good friend Sue Ritchie who is a confidence mentor (http://www.youtimecoaching.co.uk/)
She made me realised that I’ve got a lot of very supportive people around me called friends who are there to help & guide me when I need them. I’m not very good at asking for help and even today I struggle with it. I’ve always been very self-sufficient having moved out of home at 16 and then moving over 100 miles away from my family at 18! So I see it as a weakness to ask for help but I’m getting better at it. She also gave me a range of techniques to do when I’ve had a wobble/lose confidence in what I’m doing which I have to admit has been quite regularly over the past year but they are happening less which is a great achievement for me.
As I mentioned earlier I have a number of skills which hasn’t helped me really in my first year mainly because even a year on I think a lot of people are still confused about what I actually do. So a big lesson I’ve learnt is to be clear about my offering and be consistent in telling people this. I’m still learning this one too!!
Following on from the point above, social media is something I champion when I’m talking to business as I can see the real benefit to using it in business but for me I’ve struggled to again communicate my message, yes I’ve got loads of followers on twitter and have some great interaction through it but feel that now need to include a few more business focused tweets!! Or how else are people going to understand what I’m about and my expertise, ultimately SM has to be a marketing tool along with a range of other activities so I need to make it work for the time I spend on it!!
There are 2 distinct areas of my business:
Nutrition & Food
Each of these had their own identity originally but I struggled to know which one I was on any given day!! People would ask who I’m being today!! So I’ve decided to bring them under the same brand Firecracker. This means I can direct everyone to one website and talk about my brand which encompasses all that I do and am about.
There have been many more good times than bad over the last year and yes it’s been tough I have no regrets about giving up my job and can’t imagine working for anyone else, the freedom it’s given me out ways the sleepless nights and worries that come with running your own business.
The main thing I’ve learnt is not to give up, to keep knocking on doors, making connections and also to do good deeds as these will be remembered (I hope anyway, because I’m not going to stop doing them)
So I’ll just finish off by saying thank you to everyone who has supported me over the past year, this support and encouragement has helped more than you would know and I look forward to another year in the life FIRECRACKER. www.firecracker-uk.co.uk