Earlier this week someone asked me if I could share my experience of starting a business. She questioned me on how I felt about Chic&Seek and if I went back in time would I choose to do it again?
The answer is most definitely YES.
There have been moments when I have questioned if working so hard is really worth it. I think starting a business in your 20’s is challenging because most of my peers didn’t have too many responsibilities and were carefree. I often felt guilty at letting people down and prioritising my work life over friendships. Initially I tried to keep a balance, but ultimately life changes and I have developed many new friendships as a result of Chic&Seek.
Finding balance is not easy. In the initial stages of a start-up it needs all your time and energy. But this doesn’t feel like hard work, because you want to create something that you feel passionate about and all the energy you are expending is being invested in something that its yours.
If you don’t have a business partner, be prepared to feel lonely. Making decisions and feeling the pressure of all the incomings and outgoings can sometimes take its toll. One of the best things that happened was forming a network of like -minded girls through doing Pop-Up shops. That started some very precious friendships and we can really support one another on the down days when you think, “is it really worth it?”
I love the freedom of creativity I have found within myself. Ideas that come from me and seeing how other people connect and appreciate them. I like the freedom of having an idea and implementing it immediately without going through hoops of other people having to critique it.
Starting your own business opens up your network and you meet so many interesting people. Initially I am always amazed at how interested people are to talk to you about running your own business, even men seemed to find the concept of Chic&Seek fascinating. But I guess you don’t meet so many people who have taken the plunge to be their own boss.
Being the master of my own destiny has always been in my bones. From a young age I was a rebel and I could never quite understand how someone else could dictate your free time. It used to puzzle me that an institution like school even existed, I felt imprisoned and frustrated. As a business owner you can never really switch off from work, but at least you can choose how to structure your day and when you can take holidays!
I may not have been a grade A student and I hated maths with a passion. But I’ve got the energy of a stubborn Shetland pony, an easy going and adaptable nature and strong intuition. I think this is the make up of an entrepreneur.
My advice is, if you have an idea and you want to start your own business then, DO IT! For most of us the only thing stopping us is fear, fear if it fails or fear of what other people will think or say. As the famous quote says “its better to regret something you did, than regret not doing it all.”
Follow your heart, go and live your dreams!