I started my business back in 2005 just 3 months after my son Sam was born. Totally in love with being a mum, I felt compelled to do something that involved mums and babies. So Truly Madly Baby was born.
Three years later, after a trip into the Dragons’ Den, an investment offer from Peter Jones – which I didn’t take, 21 hour days 7 days a week, enquiries from Australia, USA and Europe to take my business global, and £1 million turnover and profit for the first time – my world fell apart.
How could that be when I had just turned the corner and was just starting to fly. In short, I made many mistakes and I chose the wrong business partner. She added no value to my business for three years but she had money and that meant control. We had grown too quickly and the foundations were not there to support that growth. The solution? A second level of investment, which she offered, for 75% share of my business. So after 3 years of tireless work and devotion, I would own just 25% of my business and work for someone who hadn’t even showed up for 3 years !
I said no, desperately tried to find an investor to buy her out, but ran out of time. She took the business into administration and bought it back to run herself. I lost everything, not just financially.
Why would this be relevant now you might ask? Because I have just started my new venture, Compassio Coaching. This business feels so different. It is born from life, experience, passion and I am now 12 years wiser than the day I walked into the disused warehouse in East London to present to the 5 millionaire dragons.
Sam is now 12 – and a young man I am bursting with pride about every day. I am a different person in so many ways. Independent, living in the now not the past or the future, and at last, I have clarity. I am where I should be and doing what I should be doing – helping people to realise their potential and fall in love with selling. We all sell every day and life skills are sales skills.
Sadly my mum and dad are no longer here to see what I am doing today but they would always say that everything happens for a reason. Losing my business was devastating and almost broke me, but I realise now what wonderful strength and foresight I have today because of that journey.
If you are starting a business, or already running a business here are just a few things you should always remember to do to ensure it is fulfilling and worthwhile.
Create a work/life balance.
You’re no longer going to a workplace between certain hours so don’t fall into the trap of working all hours. Plan your day and stop work to live – every day. This takes discipline but I would put this as one of the most important skills to learn. You will burn out.
Know what you want to achieve and set goals
This is critical to ensure you have direction. know your ‘why’. Everything starts with why, and if you know why you do what you do it breeds confidence. You should have daily goals and business goals. When you’re alone in business you have to plan to achieve that end result. Be disciplined and make sure this happens. If you can get support to check in on this, then do – we all need someone to encourage us, mentor us and hold us accountable.
It’s really tough when your business grows too fast. I couldn’t really control that with my Dragons’ Den appearance and my naivety, but if you can grow organically you can control cash flow and strategy much better. Getting rich quick is a high-risk option, as often something has to be sacrificed for this to happen. I have found that fulfilment is actually more important to me than money, but I also believe if you do the right things you will achieve success and the money – just don’t make that your main focus; it brings too much pressure.
Network with good people
You will meet people in life who are takers, not givers, so try to surround yourself with good people who can support you in business and equally you can give back to them too. Find synergy and create networks of people who will feed your business not starve it. There is a great strength when you work with good people who understand your real value.
Enjoy what you do
When your business drains you, isolates you, causes you stress, and doesn’t benefit you it’s time to ask why. If you can make changes then do and get help to support you with those changes.
Too often we get lost in our business and work in it and not on it. Do more of the right things and less of the things that take all of your energy. Most importantly love what you do as life is too short.
This time round I feel ready, excited, in control and best of all I am not alone. Within just two weeks I have a network of fabulous entrepreneurs who can support and help me and I can help and support them back.
My amazing coach Helen Packham has been a game changer for me and you are never too old to learn. She has taught me so much in such a short space of time. I hope I will continue to work and grow with her by my side.
If you have read this and want to chat more about questions you have or support you might need then contact me – I can help you start your entrepreneurial journey well equipped to make sure it’s enjoyable, fulfilling and everything you dreamed it would be. Don’t expect it to be easy, but know it can be the best thing you’ve ever done in your life!
Have a great day!