Diary of a Start Up Brand | The up’s and downs of starting a business independently
I remember the feeling I had when I hopped down to WH Smith on Clapham High Street to buy a flip chart , diary and highlighter pens. It was late September 2018. The fire inside my belly ignited as I envisioned how I would change the world with my lingerie.
The decision to start my own lingerie business was very clear. I wanted to have a positive impact on the lives of women and leave a legacy. As an awarding winning hairstylist, I still like to cut and colour hair, but I know I wasn’t put on this earth to do just one thing, and only work on someone else’s dream.
I recently read ‘The Unfair Advantage’ by Ash Ali and Hasan Kubba. It’s a book that talks about turning what you see as your disadvantage into your ‘unfair’ advantage. Having large breasts has its problems, but this book made me recognize my unfair advantage and appreciate how I can monetize from creating a business around my problem. I’m lucky to still work in a salon environment where I can speak directly to my target audience, connect with them on a personal level and validate my business idea.
As a creative, my mind is constantly working on overdrive and can often lead to feelings of overwhelm. I use a journal to help me document my feelings, and use a gratitude notebook to record things which I’m grateful for. I also have another notepad where I record my design and marketing ideas. The funny thing is I sleep with the notepads and a pen beside me in case I get a random brainwave! Although I use my laptop, to write, I feel there’s something more impactful about using a pen and paper.
For anyone thinking about launching a business, I’ll let you into a little secret… starting or running a business is a 24/7 commitment, so forget the notion that you’ll work less than you do in your 9-5. In time you’ll get some freedom, but first you’ll have to put in the ground work and I’m okay with that!
When I’m faced with a challenging hurdle that’s completely out of my comfort zone I recognize that it’s an indication of where I need to be in order to grow. I can confess that I’ve been challenged lately with the crowdfunding campaign that was launched September 9th and received lots of attention. I had previously anticipated doing the Crowdfund out of fear of not living up to my own expectations, but I knew that I had to take that leap of faith if I wanted to grow.
I’m someone who sometimes procrastinates out of fear of failure and success. On many instances I‘ve been too bothered and scared of being too visible, and too focused on what others would think, instead of focusing on who I was meant to serve. My ego has held me at ransom on many circumstances. I can honestly say that the fear of failure stems way back from childhood when I struggled with reading and being embarrassed by it. There have been many occasions where self-doubt had raised its ugly head, particularly when I’m faced with challenging tasks, but I’ve become accustom to asking my mentors and friends for help. I’ve also got more acquainted with the ‘university’ of YouTube!
Over the years I’ve read many books and listened to many motivational speakers who have influenced me on a personal, professional and spiritual level. Some of my favourite books are Rich Dad Poor Dad, Selfmade: The Definitive Guide to Business Startup Success, Becoming, Dreams of my Father, How They all Started, In The Meantime, One Day My Soul Just Opened Up, Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway and The 10X Rule. I frequently listen to Brian Tracy on The Power of Personal Achievement and UK black entrepreneurs.
On reflection I’m proud of what I’ve achieved to date. I’m getting better with managing my time. I’m still learning to be more open and honest with myself, follow my gut feelings , being more tunnel vision as well as agile. I’m way more comfortable speaking up and out than I was six months ago.
As time goes on it becomes more apparent that starting a business is also a lifestyle choice which requires us to personally develop our mental wellbeing, physical health and mindset.
As exciting as this adventure is, I sometimes question whether if I’ve bitten off more than I can chew so it’s vital that I have a supportive network of various people with expertise in different fields. I’m trying to be consistent with practicing self -love and being kind to myself as well as having a positive mental attitude to become resilient.
People often ask me would I have started a business knowing the stress that comes with it. My answer is simple – hell yeah! Knowing what I know now about starting a business, I would have started out sooner because there’s so much business support and funding out there! The road doesn’t have to be lonely ride. I’m loving my personal journey of self- discovery.
I can honestly say sometimes I feel like I’m on a series of roller coasters – I get the excitement and nauseating feelings at the same time but I’m loving it!
Let me end on this note…never start a business ‘just to make money’ instead start a business to ‘make a difference’ and in time the financial rewards will come to you.