22 Feb 12 years in business
Despite the freezing cold snap and ongoing lockdown restrictions February marks a huge milestone for Market Avenue Limited (MAL). My wonderful little business turns 12 years old!
MAL was born from a desire to help people to communicate to their customers in an effective way. The idea was that simple.
It’s been a beautiful journey and like many close relationships there have been ups and downs along the way. There have been celebrations of joy and tears of despair. There have been profits and losses. There have been great friends, team members and collaborators. There have been a few snakes in the grass.
But every experience has shaped me, develop my purpose and the business direction.
Where were you twelve years ago?
With a background in print and design, I knew a lot about printed materials. I also had a little knowledge about the developing online world of websites.
Social media, email campaigns and sales funnels were pretty non-existent in those days. Businesses communicated through sales brochures, magazine adverts, editorial and direct mail. Crikey, we used to send visual proofs to clients in the post and via the office fax machine. Instant gratification wasn’t invented then!
A few things happened at work that led me to question what I was doing. I wanted to provide quality, creativity and knowledge for the clients I worked with. I wanted them to succeed and I felt there was more I could do to help. I felt there was more to learn and a better way to share knowledge and support my clients.
My partner at the time said I needed to keep working and build a business slowly. But I knew I needed to put in 100 per cent and not play at it. So, I registered my business with Companies House on 16 February 2009 and handed my notice in.
My parents were business owners from the tender age of 21 so I guess entrepreneurship was always lurking in my blood.
I ended up working a notice of around six weeks because my boss wanted to go on holiday! I’ve always been a people pleaser, but my boss had shared a lot of wisdom and always treated me well, so why not. He also knew I was determined and supported my decision.
Finding my feet
My first year in business was a huge eye-opener. For anyone who has read The E-Myth by Michael Gerber you’ll know exactly what I mean. I was a technician of my trade not a leader. I was a supporter and a marketer. I was not an accountant, a salesperson or any of the other roles needed when you start a business!
I handled print management work because of my print background. I wrote marketing plans because of my Chartered Institute of Marketing training. And then social media broke into the headlines.
I immersed myself in Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. I was good at social media training and delivered a lot of workshops. I also built a team around the success to offer social media management services. But I wasn’t a manager. I was a technician and I found delegation difficult. I was a people pleaser and wanted to give everyone a chance. Building a team didn’t work out. My fault not theirs.
Change and mindset
Fast forward through a few more years of ups and downs. I moved away from social media because the landscape was changing too fast. I focused instead on my love of writing.
Add to the equation a massive change in personal circumstances. This upheaval forced me to recalibrate life and I realised that mindset played a huge part in my journey.
I was always intuitive, open minded and curious. I have a thirst for knowledge and if I could make a living out of learning that would be my chosen career. But learning alone doesn’t pay the bills.
Do you have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset?
I realise now that I was often stuck in a fixed mindset although the growth side did manage to climb the walls sometimes. I have been through two burnout phases and recovered well so I know resilience was on my side.
Find your purpose
My ethos is one to ‘embrace all things new’ and to explore opportunities. I have done this and still do. But procrastination, self-belief and perfectionism are the devils on my shoulder. I work hard every day to stand up to them and they are backing down.
The epiphany moment came after a lot of self-reflection during 2020. I realised that my curiosity around human behaviour and mindset could be part of my skillset. As a copywriter I can address the needs and desires of different personality types. I can also help my clients to find their own voice and believe in what they have to offer to the world.
Through writing I can help them to tell their story and be authentic.
In 2020 I said goodbye to some long-term clients and made the decision to niche. Something I would advise anyone to do sooner rather than later. I switched my focus to working with professional coaches, counsellors, therapists and trainers in the field of mental health, fitness and wellbeing, personal development or psychology.
I realised that I could help more people by supporting my clients reach more people.
As a complementary therapist and masseuse in a previous life I had empathy skills and have always been a good listener. Friends, work colleagues, even bosses shared feelings and stories with me in confidence.
Now, life feels good. MAL and I have put aside our differences and history are in a loving relationship once again. This time it’s a match made in heaven. We’re going places.
My two penn’orth
MAL is 12 years in business this month and it’s been a long journey. I wrote this article more to say that with perseverance you will prevail rather than a happy celebration.
It may take two years, five years or even ten years but you will get there. Enjoy your journey and stick to your vision. There will always be challenges but with the right mindset you will succeed. The direction might need to change and you might make bad decisions. But each experience will take you on the journey you were meant to take. Deliver a valuable lesson.
For anyone who is new to business and starting out now I have one piece of advice. Believe in yourself. If you have a dream or an idea, explore it. Find your true purpose, be clear on your why and who you want to help. Align your personal values to your vision to make it more meaningful. Procrastination and perfectionism are not good traits in business and they will hold you back.
Wake up every morning and say to yourself, ‘you got this‘.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you have achieved your vision since starting your business. What advice you would you give to yourself if starting over?
And if you’re sitting on the fence in your career, follow your instinct. Go find your purpose and fulfil your dream.