This week I met with someone to explore an opportunity. It’s part of what I think I could include in my mix of income-generating strategies. Of course writing will always be my primary passion but I also like doing other things. I like bringing people together to achieve new things. I like meeting entrepreneurs. They are typically passionate about their product or service, they are eternally optimistic about the business and have enviable drive. And I think that they can provide remarkable material for my writing.
During this meeting, it occurred to me how much I learned while running a business. I’ve been so focussed on how the business broke me and brought my health to a standstill that I overlooked the value of what I learned. I realised that I gained valuable experience in running a business, from strategy generation to sales experience, marketing and all the statutory requirements that come with a business.
Perhaps I’ve needed this distance and a year to develop enough hindsight to truly appreciate the lessons. Perhaps I’ve been undermining just how far I’ve come from a middle manager employee to a business owner. I was hopelessly optimistic about my business, always thinking that we would get there. And that is a true sign of an entrepreneur.
Somehow, taking over the business from my father led me to believe that I wasn’t really an entrepreneur. I didn’t start the business. I didn’t do all the slog of getting it to be a strong entity. But I did that slog. What I inherited was in some ways, worse than a start-up. Things were established but not working. And the staff were under the impression that the business needed to stay as is forever.
I’ve thought of myself as a failure for not being able to turn the business around. I’ve beaten myself up for what I should have done differently. But I’ve realised something. I’m just as strong as entrepreneurs who start out with nothing. I took something broken and converted it into a modern business with strong technology, more varied products and a broad client base. I worked hard to make myself dispensable and when walking away, I looked after all parties and left a robust, break-even business in my wake. And that is a success.
So I’m gaining more clarity on how I can make a contribution to this world. It’s not only one thing and that’s exciting for me. I’ll pack my lessons, knowledge and experience into my rucksack and move forward towards opportunities yet to be revealed. Hopefully the lessons they hold are less painful this time around.Follow me: