04 Feb Laying it all on the line
February 2019 marks a humbling milestone for me, as it was in this same month, ten years ago, that I registered my business, Market Avenue Limited, with Companies House.
Ten years as a business owner (smiles inwardly and silently says ‘wow’) … that’s some mean feat! Especially since the statistics (if we are to believe them) suggest that four in ten businesses fail within the first five years.
But has it been all plain sailing? Not by any stretch of the imagination.
The past ten years have been eventful and I’m sure many fellow small business owners can relate to walking the burnout plank, thrashing out lost hours of sleep worrying over bad debtors whilst simultaneously dealing with the procrastination monkey clinging firmly to your back.
Working for yourself is tough, and as a people pleaser, workaholic and borderline perfectionist, I haven’t given myself any slack. Combine these traits with an annoying condition that forces me to blurt out ‘yes no problem’ when inside I’m screaming ‘no way!’ … then you can understand how things have had a tendency to pile up and busy fool becomes my nametag.
Notice that I scribble ‘have had’. That’s because 2019, the year that marks my business’ ten-year anniversary, is going to be different.
Thankfully, I don’t have a tragic story to share and I count my blessings for living a healthy life to date. Yes, my back aches thanks to hours spent sitting at my desk, my eyesight is getting worse thanks to advancing technology and I should already be sixty-five if I were to count the number of hours worked over the past ten years. But a necessary turning point occurred about six months ago.
I had a stern word with myself
Change had to happen due to a number of factors, otherwise Market Avenue Limited would not reach the ten-year landmark. Difficult decisions meant scaling back the business, and client and staff sacrifices had to be made. But reflection in the New Year confirmed 100 percent that the decisions made were the right ones and everyone involved is better off. You see, everything really does happen for a reason.
Experiences have shaped who I am today and brought me full circle, back to my love of creative words and imagination.
At college and the tender age of seventeen I had my sights set on a Bournemouth University advertising and copywriting degree. A silly thing called romance put paid to that decision – my alter ego ‘people pleaser who couldn’t say no’ clearly put on the trousers to win that argument. Yet somehow I have still reached my intended destination. I am a copywriter. For a living, I write enticing and informative words that tell a story about a business … albeit twenty years down the line!
Everything happens for a reason
This statement has always rung true for me. I hold it close and live by an ethos to embrace all things new. Of course ‘life stuff’ often gets in the way and veers you off course, but by staying positive and seeing challenges as opportunities, I truly believe that the course is ours to plot.
I see myself as an adventurer and have an urge to live life how it should be; to be able to experience the wonders of the world, no matter how near or how far, whether physical or imaginative in their form.
I am now acutely aware of my weaknesses; of being a control freak and having ‘perfectionist syndrome’, and I strongly believe that you have to backtrack sometimes before you can move forward.
Too many hours inside, at a desk, bowing to multiple demands over time, can stifle the real you.
Only time will tell
When you think about the last time you wanted to be completely honest, where did it get you? It may have been difficult at the time, but didn’t you find that the longer-term outcome was so much better?
I’ve taken the plunge in writing this article and allowed my heart to peek out from under my sleeve a little. It could be big mistake, but my gut feels not, and she’s the hidden genius inside that’s usually right (despite my attempts at overriding her past well-equipped foresightedness).
It’s a necessary evil to shed a few pounds of mental clutter in order to begin the next stage of life, and what better way than to get it out in the open? I say ‘life’ and not ‘work life’ because if you love what you do then you get paid for some of it and spend money on the rest of it.
My 2019 journey shall continue and I’d love to share a little along the way. And if you’re still with me on this final sentence … thank you.