You can imagine the delight at being asked to write a blog by Judith Morgan, as part of her Blogfest which came about because of her fabulous business book Your Biz Your Way JudithMorgan.com/book
The delight, of course, was quickly followed by panic (What on Earth should I write?) and imposter syndrome (Me? I don’t know anything about business. I don’t even have a proper business right now!) but if you’ve read Judith’s book, or you’re a business owner yourself, you’ll be familiar with these feelings.
For in truth, I know LOTS about business and being a business owner. My first business started aged 17 – I ran the largest Line Dancing club in Cumbria with my Dad. Then I got a proper job. Or rather a series of proper jobs because I pretty much hated every single job I ever had.
Hmmmm…. Maybe that’s not entirely true. I quite enjoyed some of my jobs but I mostly didn’t like my bosses or thought they were idiots and that I could do a much better job than them so why was I bothering?
Then I met a man. Who became my husband. And I had an opportunity to fulfill a childhood dream – I quit my job and spent a year training as a ballet teacher. I taught dance classes for 4 years in schools, village halls and the like and then in 2009 opened my own dance studio.
It grew incredibly quickly and was very much a proper business with staff and a 6 figure turnover and everything. And I discovered that I much prefer the ‘business’ of business rather than delivering the THING that the business does. So the dance studio worked perfectly for me and my Wealth Dynamics Profile (Creator/Star/Mechanic) because I was free to be ever-inventive in thinking up ways to make more money while the teachers I employed did the teaching.
Then I sold it.
I had fallen in love with Personal Style and (quick story – there is a longer version I’m happy to share if you care to hear it) decided to follow that passion, relocate, retrain and set up a brand new business. And then I started learning about business.
I learned about internet marketing, information products, webinars, selling from the stage, 1 to Many, membership platforms and sales funnels. I learned about Ad Words and expensive CRMs, web platforms and integrated email marketing software. I learned about setting huge financial goals and wanting a yacht and working 4 hours per week.
I learned that I knew NOTHING about business. I learned how to part with lots of cash. I learned how to forget about the basics of business. I learned to act like a bit of a twit. I learned how to fool myself into thinking I was spending time on my business. And eventually I learned that whilst learning all this stuff was incredibly cool and right up my street, it is impossible for one person to learn all this stuff, implement all this stuff and then deliver the end service.
And perhaps the biggest thing I learned was this. All my ambition, all my desire to create a big business, was a little girl’s desire to have her Daddy say “I’m so proud of you.” But dead people can’t talk.
So there I was with all this incredible business knowledge, shattered confidence, and a lost identity because I no longer felt that ambition. And I didn’t know what to do with myself.
But the Universe is always looking out for you. Have you noticed that? Along came a passion project, quickly followed by a 2nd child. And so many flipping ideas about what to do. That’s my ‘problem’ area – there are so many things I COULD do, I either don’t know which to choose or I choose several.
At the same time, a colleague found herself jobless and we decided to start a marketing business together. We got some clients very quickly (I’m good at the ‘business’ of business) but she then got another full time job. So I decided to continue with the marketing – it is fun, I’m good at it, and I get paid regularly. (If you have operated within the service industry, particularly 1:1 services, you will know the ‘pain’ of infrequent, unpredictable income.)
But I have my eye on something else, a vision for my whole life and not ‘just’ a business.
Husband and I want to move the family to Australia. We both want him to work fewer hours, which means that what I do has to replace his substantial salary. Ideally we only want to work when the children are at school.
Knowing what I know about business that IS worth knowing, I know that consistent, predictable income each month is important for me. Being free of a location – being able to work from anywhere – is how we want things to be. Low overheads are a must. (The dance studio cost me £20,000 in rent and rates alone, each year).
And knowing what I know about running a business my own way, I also know that I really want to do something that makes a difference, and fulfills my passions.
For the past few years (or probably all my life really) I have been fascinated by the idea of people living life on their terms. Breaking the rules. Thinking outside the box. Doing what they want.
I love to read about people quitting their jobs and sailing around the world, or selling their house and living in a motorhome or creating a business out of teaching crochet.
And it hurts my soul when I hear about people working in a job they hate because they’ve worked there so long now they get a whole extra week’s holiday. But what the other 47 weeks of the year? Or when they say “I’d love to own a bookshop” or “I’d love to work in an animal rescue shelter”. Because they can. I know they can.
Now then I am a firm believer in the ripple effect. My purpose, my raison d’être is NOT to build wells in Africa or become a politician or start a mental health charity.
My purpose is to inspire/motivate/encourage those who ARE destined to do these things to bloomin’ well go ahead and do them. To say ‘Of course you can do that’ and ‘Here’s a way to make that happen’.
THAT is what I want to do next. For ‘business’. For my heart and soul.
To help and inspire those who need it to live their extraordinary life.
Right now I am on the cusp of this. I do not, entirely, know the hows of this idea. But what I do know is that I can do anything. I can remember that I know LOTS about business. And I can , most certainly, run MY business MY way. Just like you!