You can build your business slowly, or you can start-up really quickly. I've done both. Be Stubborn is not my first start-up business, but it is the first one I have very consciously created, and truly truly thought through.
BUILDING A BUSINESS QUICKLY
In February 2015 I was working in Marketing, a little bored, but reasonably happy climbing up the career ladder and feeling like I was helping people to navigate London rather than just trying to sell things. Then a friend who had always had an entrepreneurial streak and was looking for a career change got in touch, said he had a business idea and wondered if I might want to get on board.
A week later we got drunk over Mexican food and compared notes on every business idea we'd ever had. Things got a bit blurry but we ended up with a few good ideas, and decided to give them all a try. Our motto became 'let's throw mud at the wall and see what sticks'. Except we used a swear word instead of 'mud'.
And thus began an intense but rewarding rollercoaster which took us from tandem bicycle tours to pop-up bars to becoming a fully-fledged events agency, with staff and big corporate clients and a packed out summer schedule. In fact, that business still has all of those things, and if success alone was my goal, it's bloody fantastic.
WHEN A BUSINESS GOES IN IT'S OWN DIRECTION
But I wasn't quite satisfied. I hadn't set out to run an events agency. I hadn't set out to do anything really, except have a bit of a laugh with my friend, and earn a bit of pocket money. Now I don't regret the efforts, the journey, or the end of it. I learned SO MUCH and my eyes were opened to different ways of earning a living, how to run a business, and handle being self-employed. And I loved those things! But I no longer loved the business and as it grew to a point where it could survive without me, it was time to think about my next move.
LESSONS LEARNED: SLOWING DOWN BUSINESS BUILDING
There are many things I have taken from that speedy start-up experience:
Things don't have to be perfect. If they did, you'd never go live. Just press publish, and refine as you go.
Have faith that you can do this, you will figure out a way.
Be prepared to adapt to your customers needs.
That last one though, while I still believe it, is where I am also setting boundaries now. I want to serve my customers needs, but I am also clear about the purpose of Be Stubborn, it's principles and it's mission. I have a longterm plan, rather than just 'seeing what happens'. I have consciously chosen to work in this field, to create this business, to share myself and my experiences to better help others. And I have never been more excited about a business or a job in my life.
Rather than setting up a business in under two weeks (I can't believe we achieved that!!), I spent several months slowly developing the ideas behind Be Stubborn, and a couple of months working through the offerings, feasibility, opportunities, risks, gaps etc, before even starting to build the website. I kept refining and simplifying and improving. Maybe a little too much, maybe I should have launched sooner. But I loved the process. I loved working this out and knowing that it could make me happy for so many years. Knowing that I had chosen every single thing and fully believed in this business, and my ability to make it work.
So how's your business building going?
Fast or slow? Neither approach is wrong, and I can say from experience that both can lead to success. It all depends on your motivation...
If you just want a successful business, you can go fast, adapt as required, do what you need to do and maybe end up miles away from where you started.
If you want success, but in a smaller way whereby your happiness and job satisfaction comes first, where you feel truly fulfilled and energised by your work, going slower might be better. Take time to figure out what you really want, how you want it to work, and how you can deliver it. Then, do the work!
I'm here to help with either approach. Both are fantastic fun. Listen to your gut and let me know if you'd like to chat about how to go about bring your dreams to life.