I’ve been setting up my own business which started off as a training and development business and is now a craft shop. The developing business case makes for interesting reading.
You know, what happened was this: I felt it was time I worked for myself instead of for other people, especially government bodies which just make me so angry with all of their wasted money and misdirected resources, the red tape, the ‘I’ve got a cushy job for life so why should I even bother trying” attitude that often (not always because it definitely was never my attitude) prevails within higher echelons of the structure.
As I love teaching I really wanted to stick with that in some way and I will, just not in any way remotely connected to my original idea.
I’ve been working on setting up this knowledge or service business for a while and I was excited at first, then it started to feel like work and then I realised that I was probably going to find most of my clients within the very types of organisations I wanted to distance myself from and then I became disillusioned. Then I wondered if I was doing the right thing and started to think I probably wasn’t.
I was talking to my daughter, my man and my therapist about this.. not all at the same time. They were all saying something to me and I wasn’t really listening. Not because I’m stubborn or single minded or inflexible but because I was in a rut. I was in a rut of professionalism if you like. That puts it nicely. If you wanted to be more harsh you could say I was a snob. I kind of feel that I’ve studied and worked to earn a more prestigious job, to be the owner of a business which shares knowledge and which I will feel comfortable with as a status symbol really. Not in the sense of status as in monetary value or worth, but in the sense that I am an academic and to have a training and development consultancy bearing my name is fitting and apt.
So I had these voices telling me why I had lost the enthusiasm for the business I was setting up and I didn’t really hear them, because of this rut, this feeling that I somehow deserved to have a certain type of business, or ought to have a certain type of business, even that I would be expected to have a certain type of business. Then I read a few blog posts. I tell you, blog posts are written just for us. It’s like reading the bible, you know when you just flick it open or let it fall and you read the first verse your eyes are drawn to and religious or not, those words were written just for you right here right now? Well blogging is just like that… not wishing to sound sacrilegious, but it is.
Bloggers are inspired to write and many of us have no idea why, many of us don’t have the time to write yet we make the time, many of us start off writing something that ends up as something altogether different and someone somewhere reads what we’ve written and it touches something in them, it turns on a switch or off a switch, we relate, we nod, we smile, we laugh, we cry or we just feel and know that someone somewhere understands us.
This happened to me not for the first time. I read six or seven posts and they were all written for me right now as surely as if they’d been commissioned by some part of my sub-conscious that really wanted to hear this stuff. I listened, I heard and I understood and then, while my ears were open and my guard was down, I was able to hear what my daughter, my man and my therapist had said to me and all of these voices were saying the same thing. And that thing was simply “Don’t do what you can do, do what you want to do”
“Do what makes you happy” my daughter’s words came through loud and clear even if after a time lapse of a couple of weeks.
“Do something you wish you had the time to do” my therapist’s words came through loud and clear even after a time lapse of a week or so.
“Do something you really enjoy” my partner’s words came through loud and clear even if after… you get the picture.
So I thought about it. What do I love to do, what do I enjoy, what makes me happy and furthermore what don’t I have enough time to do and there it was, arts and crafts. I just don’t have time to create anything and I love to create things. Not only for the satisfaction of having made something but for the total and complete relaxation of having done it.
I started investigating and researching and taking my eyes off me and my life and seeing what is going on in the world, what do people buy, what do they want and I realised there was something I might be able to make into a business. I then did the numbers and market research and yes, in this area, at this time, this is a viable business opportunity, a small investment and something that will be ultimately fulfilling. Hence my change of route.
Since I changed the route I feel like a huge light has been turned on. I’ve never felt this optimistic or this content about something as important as my career. Knowing I’m going to give it a shot making a living doing something I’m good at and which I enjoy, meeting new people, taking a whole new direction in life feels good, positive, relaxed yet excited, hopeful but optimistic. I am going to make it a success, I just am.
I don’t care that it isn’t high powered, that it isn’t going to rely on my knowledge (other than my business knowledge) to make it work, I don’t feel that I deserve something highfalutin, I realise I deserve something I enjoy and something which makes me happier. Something that makes me a living, not that makes me rich.
Sometimes we get caught up in status and the pursuit of lofty ambitions when really all we need to make us happy is something we enjoy doing, something we’re good at. I see that now and I believe that’s all part of this letting go of control, letting go of trying to be the best, trying to prove myself worthy. I don’t need to be a knowledge worker, I don’t need a fancy title, I don’t need to be a consultant, I’m happy being Mich with a cutesy shop and I’m going to be happy in that shop and anyone who comes into that shop is going to leave it a little happier than when they came in and that is what my business is going to be about… smiles and little things. The things that matter.
I have some hard work ahead of me and I’m looking forward to it. I’m going to do this and I’m going to love every minute of it.