A Few Things I Have Learnt Through Building A Business

The other day, I had an email from linkedin telling me that people were congratulating me on my ‘work anniversary’.

Like many people, life and work are pretty intertwined, but it was still kind of surprising that we’ve been in business for 9 years.

I started Awesome Merchandise after I finished school, when I was 19 years old, which means I’ve been ‘working’ for almost the same amount of time that I was actually in school.

This got me thinking about what I have learnt in 9 years of building a business.

1. You have the power to do something great

I set out with a badge machine in an attempt to avoid getting a proper job at university without too much expectation. It’s turned into something way bigger, thanks to the internet and turning up each day. It’s awesome to see loads of other people doing interesting and great things, whether it’s putting on shows for their favourite bands, selling their artwork online and at events everywhere or setting up their own micro business. It can be a scary thought, but now, more than ever before, you have the power to do something awesome.

2. Patience is a virtue

I’m pretty impatient. I’m slowly learning the old adage that Rome wasn’t built in a day is true. We’ve been chipping away for 9 years. To the outside world we might seem to be a fairly fast moving company. Sometimes it can seem painfully slow to me. You have to accept that you can’t do everything at once. It’s important to be patient and make sure the things you are working on now are executed properly. The small changes you make every day or week add up over a period of time until suddenly, over the course of a year you realise you have made some big improvements.

3. You need a great team

Working as part of a team is way more rewarding than working on your own. Starting and running a business in the early days can be a slog. It can be lonely. Part of setting up means that you might have to do nearly everything yourself for a little while. Employing people for the first time can be pretty daunting but it’s also an excellent chance for you to start building your team! I’m lucky in that we were a team of two from the beginning. As the business has developed we have been working more and more as part of a wider team and not only is it way more fun, but together we are more effective and the company is developing much faster. No matter how good you think you are, how crucial you are to your business, it’s important to realise that you probably don’t scale and you don’t have all the answers. That’s where the team comes in…

4. You need a plan

Having a plan is a good idea. We operated without any written plans for a long time. Having everything just floating about in my head led to me feeling a little lost and disillusioned, despite the business doing increasingly well. Why did I feel that way? Well, I hadn’t thought about where I wanted to take the company, what my role should be and what I wanted out of life generally. Creating both business plans and personal plans has meant that I now set goals and actions so that I am working on relevant things but also I get a sense of achievement. I found the annual review set out by Chris Guillebeau to be really useful.

5. Age and experience don’t matter

At least not in terms of getting started. Today more than ever, the barriers to entry are lower than they have ever been. One of my favourite things about my job is that every day I see micro entrepreneurs, artists, start ups and musicians that are making awesome things happen. I think it’s worth saying that whilst you can start at any age, you still need to act professionally. I’m a believer in faking it until you make it and in the first 2 years of Awesome Merch sometimes we’d put people on hold whilst we ‘spoke to our shipping department’. As long as your intentions are honest then I think this is OK. It’s important to realise you will need to make up for any lack of experience through a willingness to learn.

6. Keep on learning

I quit university to make badges. I went from learning and reading every day, to operating a badge machine and answering emails. There were a couple of years I didn’t read all that much, I was immersed in doing stuff. The weird thing about running a business is that most the time no one teaches you how to do your job. Another weird thing is that you are probably really inexperienced in your role. As soon as I discovered that there are plenty of ways to continue learning, whether that be through a book, a blog post, video, attending events or talking to others, I began to drastically change my outlook on the kind of business we could become and what my job should entail. There is near infinite resource for you to continue learning and I think it’s important anyone (in business or not) should carry on learning new stuff.

7. This shit is not easy

Running a business is no cake walk. Things go wrong all the time. There is no shortcut to building something great. Running a company means you have to deal with what sometimes feels like endless problems, frustrations and challenges. Get over it. Shit happens, it’s your job as the boss of the company to sort it out!

8. Enjoy yourself along the way

I end up spending most of my time either working or thinking about work, so I figure I might as well enjoy myself along the way. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day grind of work or a looming project deadline. Sure, work can be stressful at times. That big goal that I’m working towards and today seems so elusive will one day be a distant memory. That’s why I need to enjoy the journey. For me it’s important I enjoy what I do and to realise that every day when I wake up I have choices.

It’s OK to fail…

Failure and success

Until recently I didn’t like the idea of failure.

For a while I was even working under the false presumption that I’d probably never fail at anything again.

Pretty stupid huh?  Success was built into me and everything I did.  Call it what you will, arrogance, gusto, naivety, idiocy.

You read things from entrepreneurs all the time like ‘failure just isn’t an option’.

It’s bullshit.  It’s an unhealthy and debilitating stance that gets in the way of you doing stuff.  Becoming paralysed by the fear of failure can lead to a reluctance to try new or difficult things.

The truth is that I wasn’t used to failing.  I’d always done pretty well throughout life whether it be at school, in sporting competitions and my first two or three business ventures were relatively successful and made money.

It seemed I had the winning formula, not quite the Midas touch, but generally if I decided to do something I could carry it out competently enough that it would be successful.

Failure and success

Then a strange thing happened…

I failed.  Not once, but twice, in six months!

I took a business model that had already been successful for me and tried to replicate it. It looked like a sure-fire bet, if it worked I’d quickly have established an additional source of income that didn’t require too much work following the initial set up.

Sounds too good to be true?  It soon became apparent that the projects were pretty mediocre and would take a while to get going and that when it came down to it, I wasn’t actually motivated by the type of work I was doing and I was not prepared to slog it out in the hope that things might work out.

The strange thing was that rather than being depressed over failing it felt liberating.  It felt good to quit and know that even though things hadn’t worked out, everything was OK, life goes on.

Learning to fail was the best thing that could have happened.

Why failing isn’t always bad:

  • Without failure it is hard to recognise success
  • Failing gives you an opportunity to learn from your mistakes
  • Once you learn it’s OK to fail you are not as scared of failing the next time

Question:  When was the last time you failed?

The Year Ahead…

Hello from Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok!

Tonight I fly back home via Abu Dhabi at the end of a six week trip that took Charlotte and I through Laos and Vietnam with friends, and that has finished in Thailand where we just met up with family for a couple of days. Unsurprisingly it’s been a great experience.

As with many big trips or significant life events, there was a long build up before hand and it’s difficult to believe where the time has gone now that it is over. It does serve as a good reminder that time isn’t going to wait for me, and so instead of being bummed out that this trip is done with I’m excited about what comes next.

The view out over Luang Prabang, Laos

For me 2013 really gets going on Monday when I get back to AMHQ and begin working towards a number of goals I have set over the past several weeks after doing my annual review of 2012 and looking at what I want to get out of life this next year.

I have a number of big plans this year in different areas of my life including business, fitness, travel, finance, learning and also enjoying things a little more. I am looking forward to new challenges, seeing different places and hopefully gaining a bunch of new skills and experiences.

In my previous couple of posts I talked about the importance of setting goals and also about the process I’m following which started by reviewing what went well and what didn’t go so well in 2012 and helped me think about what it is I actually want to do / see / experience / achieve in the coming year.

It’s all well and good setting goals. Goals are only useful if you actually see them through and so to help make sure I am successful in reaching a good percentage of them they need to be specific and measurable.

Caleb Wojcik wrote a post outlining 4 Reasons Why Your Annual Plan Will Fail the other day. This was an interesting read and raises a number of good points as to what you need to do in order to not fail in reaching your goals.

Here is a summary of Calebs post on how you can avoid failing to reach the goals you have set:

  1. Be consistent – work consistently towards your goals and turn your actions into habits that help you progress
  2. Make short term goals – that you can achieve quickly and which complement your longer term goals
  3. Have a plan of action – that is broken down into ‘next steps’ that help you reach your goal
  4. Make yourself accountable – by involving others in your plans you’ll be more likely to see them through

My Goals For 2013

Quite a few of the goals I have set are personal or business related so I’m not going to share everything right now but some of that stuff should come to light later in the year as they are ticked off the list. I have plenty of other goals that I am able to share though and so here is some of the stuff I plan to do in 2013:

Fitness / Health Goals

  • Complete an Olympic distance triathlon - This has been an ambition for a few years and something I meant to do last year. I have already entered the London Triathlon in July and this week started running and cycling in the gym. Training proper begins next week. I am a strong swimmer but to be honest I am pretty scared of the open water swim. I’m not sure if this is because I am so used to swimming in pools or not but it’ll be interesting to see if I can get used to the open water once the weather warms up a little.
  • Learn yoga – My flexibility sucks and last year I got a couple of injuries that could have been avoided if I was stronger and more flexible. I’m going to hit up a yoga class once a week and see if I can rectify this and it’ll be cool to learn something new.

Travel

  • Visit 3 or more new countries – Last year I managed to visit 9 countries in all and over 25 cities which was awesome and a little unexpected. I enjoy going away and seeing new places so this year I am setting a goal of going to at least 3 new countries. It is handy that I can get onto a budget flight just 20 minutes away from my door and this should make visiting a couple of European countries relatively easy and cheap. Hopefully a trip somewhere further afield later in the year will also be possible.
  • Visit every continent before I’m 30 – So this is a longer term goal that I have decided to take on and should also be relatively achievable with a bit of planning, I am not sure if I will get a new continent in this year but time will tell.

Other Goals

  • Read 52 books in a year – I enjoy reading but don’t do it enough. I am setting myself the goal of reading 52 books in a year in 2013. These will be a mix of fiction and non fiction books and hopefully will lead to me learning new things and help trigger new ideas and understanding. I have January’s books lined up and ready to go.
  • This blog – My aim is to develop this blog throughout 2013 and so I plan on posting at least once a week with what I hope will be interesting and maybe to some useful content.

I am looking forward to the challenges ahead and also seeing what surprises 2013 has in store.

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“Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, you ought to set up a life you don’t need to escape from.” – Seth Godin

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So that is what I am up to in 2013, what about you?

My Annual Review Of 2012

Charlotteandlukewedding

Happy New Year!

So I just finished my Annual Review where I looked back on 2012 and tried to figure out what went well and what didn’t go so well.

In my previous post I wrote about Making A Plan For An Awesome Year and the importance of setting goals in order to actually get stuff done.  I’m talking about the big challenges and making the most out of life.  By adopting a pretty structured approach and identifying the things I want to get done in 2013 I am hoping that I will be able to have a really productive and interesting year.  I will be tracking my progress with a series of measurable goals and next tasks for each of the areas I have chosen to concentrate on, following the process Chris Guillebeau outlines pretty thoroughly here.

I found it really helps to think about what you have enjoyed, what you have achieved and also what hasn’t gone so well over the course of the year when considering how you would like to approach and fill the year ahead.

Here are a few of the main points I covered in my annual review:

So what went well in 2012?

  • I got married!  As could probably have been expected there was a big build up to the wedding and at times it was pretty stressful juggling work, travel, our regular lives as well as the wedding planning.   Thankfully it all came together and we had a huge party with family and friends that turned out to be a real day to remember.  You can check it out here.
  • My main business Awesome Merchandise has gone from strength to strength and grew steadily throughout 2012.  We increased our number of customers, expanded our product range and also grew our team significantly.  Perhaps the most exciting and pleasing thing for me personally was being able to take a slight step back from the day-to-day running of the business and to concentrate on more managerial, creative and development work.  This had been a long-term goal for me and one that had at times felt very elusive.
  • I managed to visit 9 different countries and over 25 different cities in 2012.  I got to travel pretty extensively for both work and pleasure in 2013.  This was great as for a few years I had been restricted in how much time I was able to take off from work due to being so heavily invested in the day-to-day running of the business.  One of my travel goals for 2012 was to be able to take a six week trip.  This fitted in with the long-term goal of being able to take a step back with the day-to-day running of the business and it being able to operate effectively.  I found that because I was going away for six weeks we were forced to look at how that would affect work and put in processes and hand over responsibilities so that work would not suffer.  Countries visited included the USA, France, Morocco,  Denmark, Germany, Italy, and during the six week trip I have been traveling through Laos, Vietnam and Thailand.
  • After 18 months of deliberating, starting and stopping I finally launched this blog.
  • Towards the end of the year I was asked to speak at several events about business and social media.  This was a new and slightly daunting experience but I enjoyed getting up and speaking as well as getting to meet a bunch of new people.
Charlotteandlukewedding

Photo by Chris Barber

What didn’t go so well in 2012?

On the whole it was a very positive year but there were a few things that didn’t go so well or I didn’t get to do which led to frustration.

  • Whilst I exercised more regularly than I had in the previous 5 years I had a frustrating year and didn’t complete a number of fitness orientated goals that I had set for 2012.  Two successive injuries to my shoulder and then back meant that during the spring I wasn’t very active and couldn’t train for the triathlon or half marathon that I had entered later in the year.  I could probably have still competed in these events if I had really sorted my training out once I had recovered but by that time I was also travelling quite a lot and had the wedding coming up as well as my honeymoon.  Whilst I am disappointed that I didn’t complete the events or get as fit as I would have liked to in 2012, getting fit and healthy is high on my list of priorities for the new year and I have already entered the London Triathlon in July!
  • Early in the year a new business project I had started failed to get off the ground.  It was the second new project in 6 months that didn’t go too well and had the plug pulled pretty early on.  At the time the failures were frustrating.  What I had hoped would be fairly easy to establish complimentary revenue streams actually turned out to lose money and eat up time that could have been better spent focusing on other projects.  Now the dust has settled I am really glad that I failed on these projects.  That may sound a little strange but I learned a couple of important lessons from failing.  Firstly not everything I do will always work out the way I want it to (this is a little unfortunate).  Also that you can’t just pick up a business model, throw cash at it and expect it to work out.  Finally I learned that I should really focus on things that motivate me and I believe have long-term potential.  It seems I learnt the hard way that there is no such thing as a quick buck.

After carrying out the annual review I started looking at my goals for 2013, some of which I will post about in the next few days.

All in all it was a great year for me and I managed to get a lot done in terms of work, travelling and getting married.  It was a busy year and in some ways a transition year with my role at work and general approach to life changing somewhat.  I am really looking forward to the new year and the challenges that lie ahead!

QUESTION:  What went well for you in 2012? 

Making A Plan For An Awesome Year

Annual Review Notes

The new year is nearly upon us and so I have been working on a plan to make sure that it’s going to be an awesome one.

For the year ahead I have set a bunch of different goals to help me stay focused and make sure I have an interesting and packed year in which I get to do a lot of different things.  At the end of 2013 I want to be able to say that it was an amazing year in which I’d made the most of the opportunities afforded to me by virtue of living in one of the most fortunate places in the world.

Some people may scoff at the idea of setting regular goals and tasks in order to accomplish them.  I didn’t used to set goals either but I found that planning gives me a structure upon which I can prioritise several areas of my life and accomplish way more than I would ever would think possible in a year.  It also helps focus my mind on the fact that I have control over what I do and the ability to shape my future and achievements.

This isn’t really a New Years Resolution based around a loose ideal that I’m willing to let slip a day, a week or a month into the year but a pretty thorough life assessment whereby I set out my priorities and work hard to make sure I get the stuff done that I want to, I get to see the places that I want to see and I can devote time to both improving myself through learning and fitness as well as spending time with friends and family without feeling guilty or like I should be doing something else.  It’s not rigid and I can change, drop or adapt goals at any point but the idea is that these are things that I would like to do and so generally I’ll stick to them.

Annual Review Notes

Why bother setting goals?

Whether you work a job, look after kids or run a business, the day to day routine of life can easily turn into a slog.  You slip into to a cycle of non achievement and monotony that leaves you unhappy and unfulfilled.  You put off the things you always dreamed of doing, the places you dreamed of seeing, you don’t lose the weight you wish you could lose or gain the freedom (financial or otherwise) that you have long yearned for.

You hear it all the the time; ‘I wish I could do X but…’  Only you have the ability to stop making excuses.

The thing with setting goals is that when you want something badly enough,  you actually commit to working towards it and you prioritise things in your life to make sure it  happens, the things that you want, but you are making excuses about not being able to do, are usually more easily in reach than you thought.

In the past I have been in the situation where on paper everything has been going great but I’ve still felt as though something was missing.  My business had been growing and I’d been able to visit new places, take more time off work than in previous years and generally do some great stuff.

Due to a lack of goals and not tracking accomplishments I still felt unsatisfied.  In the day to day bustle of life it was difficult to pick out and celebrate the small victories and accomplishments.  I had no goals set for the business, I had a lack of challenges outside of my work to help me focus and push forward in other areas of my life whether in fitness, learning, or generally experiencing new or fun things.  I also found it hard to relax when I traveled or had time off.

I felt unsatisfied because I hadn’t decided on what I actually wanted to do with my life.  Sitting down, thinking about what you want to do / see / be and then actually setting goals that help you fulfil your ambitions can be a very positive thing to do.

18 months ago I was feeling sluggish and overweight so I set the goal of running a half marathon and set about training regularly for 8 weeks.  Crossing the finish line felt great and I’d not only achieved something new in completing a 13 or so mile race but I’d improved my fitness and dropped weight in the process.  Added benefits were that I found myself more motivated at work and more relaxed in my time off.

Setting goals and plans has helped me in other areas too, particularly finance.  Paying off debt, saving to allow regular travel and towards my wedding were all possible with an assessment of where I wanted to be over a 2 year period and what I needed to do to get there.

Setting and tracking your goals

There are an abundance of blogs and books around this subject but I have chosen to follow the ‘Annual Review’ model that Chris Guillebeau carries out every year and has posted about in some detail on his blog.

This involves looking back on the past year and asking what has gone well and also what has not gone so well.  When I looked at all of the things I had actually done over the past year it was amazing and really helped me think about what I wanted to do, improve upon or change in my life in the new year.

You then set yourself a number of goals for the upcoming year, broken down into measurable ‘next tasks’, in an easy to follow spreadsheet.  This is designed to help you identify and take the next step towards your goal so that is not as daunting, so that you actually start to act upon it and so you can see a clear path to reaching your goal.

The past five weeks Charlotte and I have been travelling with friends around Laos and Vietnam which has given me time to step back from day to day life and make some assessments on both the past year and what I really want to get out of 2013.

My goals are based around business, finance, travel, fitness, learning, developing this blog as well as a few others.  I’ll more than likely add a couple of additional small goals as things change or come up throughout the year.

I’ll be posting some of my review of 2012 and my goals for the coming year in the next couple of days and I’m excited about the challenges ahead.

Question:  What do you really want to do in 2013 and how are you going to make it happen?

Getting Out And Meeting People…

Yesterday I had the pleasure of being invited to Huddersfield University to speak to a group of young entrepreneurs at the Virgin Media Pioneers inaugural meet up for the Yorkshire and Humberside area.

I was speaking about setting up Awesome Merchandise in my bedroom at university, things that have happened and we have had to deal with as we have grown into what we are today, and our hopes for the future.

It was great getting out and meeting a bunch of enthusiastic and determined people that had recently set out on their own journeys!

The Pioneers website is well worth checking out if you are an aspiring entrepreneur and you can click here to read a more detailed blog post about the event and the people we met courtesy of Charlotte.

The Hopeless Generation

This is the hopeless generation

A few weeks ago I was watching Question Time on T.V (I’m not sure why) and there was a debate going on around graduates and the opportunities, or lack of, that exist in todays world once you have finished in education.

A guy stood up, started lambasting the panel and finished with the proclamation that this is ‘The Hopeless Generation’.

I sat, slightly stunned at first, and then I started getting angry with the TV as the audience applauded this guy.

I can’t help but think labelling this, the hopeless generation is pretty stupid.

Firstly do you use Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, WordPress or Spotify? I’m guessing the answer is yes to at least one of those. I could go on and name a bunch more amazing, game changing, headline grabbing businesses that were all started by people that were under 30. I think Twitter was started by a 30 year old so I left that one out. When in history have 20-35 year olds been at the top of so many influential and disruptive business empires?  Not only that but there is a strong argument that these types of companies are changing the world for the better…

Granted, not everyone is going to start the next Facebook or Spotify.  Not everyone can be a Silicone Valley start up backed by angel investors (yes, I know Spotify started in Sweden).  But you also have independent cafes, restaurants, cupcake shops, vegetable delivery vans, clothing companies and a million other interesting, useful businesses springing up everywhere and building legions of loyal fans and customers both online and in person.

Feel free to submit this design on Threadless

You are now able to put an idea on Kickstarter and hundreds of people can financially back your project before you even get started. Bands and musicians can use the same platform to fund an album without needing the support of a record label. Artists can showcase and sell their art online without needing to get featured in a gallery or reviewed by an art critic.  People into drawing comics can connect online and create a buzz around their work leading to conventions and comic award shows…  Hell, this guy could even write ‘This Is The Hopeless Generation’ on a T-Shirt and stick it on Threadless and earn $2000 if people thought it made for a good design.  Or maybe he could start a blog called ‘The Hopeless Generation’ and monetize it through PDF e-guides on how to give up before you even get started.

I think that rather than being the hopeless generation, this is the generation blessed with opportunities like never before.  Opportunities are all around for people, young and old to be successful on their own terms.

There are people all around you that are living proof that you can do your own thing and make it work.  Most of the time they are just individuals carving out a niche for themselves and making a living from something they enjoy and have control over.  Whether you are an artist, business owner, web designer, musician, video editor, interior designer, business consultant, writer, events promoter, foodie, student, traveller, blogger, circus entertainer, scientist it doesn’t really matter.

Instead of sitting there complaining that no one is going to choose you on the strength of your degree or C.V try making some noise and giving people a reason to take notice.

Everything you need to get started is right in front of you…

Learning Stuff From Seth Godin…

Photo: Matthew Hensrud

matthewhensrud.net

I have read Seth Godins books and blog for a few years now…

The first book I read Purple Cow was one of the first marketing books that I ever read and really helped me start to think about ways we could make Awesome Merchandise stand out and not be another boring printing company.

For those uninitiated with Seth Godin, he’s a marketing and ideas guy.  The kind of stuff he talks about really gets you thinking, and encourages you to approach your project or business in a way that challenges the status quo.

I was super excited when I was on the train to London and my phone popped up with Seth’s latest blog post announcing a weekend event in New York.  It just happened to be the weekend that I was going to be in NYC as Charlotte was attending the inaugural Blogcadamy workshop.  By happy coincidence, I had two days to fill in New York and this seemed the perfect way to fill them.

Photo: Matthew Hensrud
matthewhensrud.net

One thing that I was both excited and nervous about was getting out of my comfort zone and meeting new people.  For a long time I had been wrapped up working in my own little world, and to be honest I didn’t get out of it enough.  It’s something that this year I have been trying to address by putting myself out there a little more and trying new things.

The weekend itself consisted of a seminar and Q&A session with Seth Godin on the Saturday.  The Sunday was a more informal session where we split into groups and  carried out a number of activities in between both Seth and fellow attendees speaking to the group.  The subjects covered over the weekend included; how to deal with your own ‘stuckness’, the value of connecting groups, creating a unique value proposition and overcoming fear and challenges that may be standing in the way of you shipping your project.  It was interesting to hear Seth speak in person and his ideas and sharpness were inspiring.

As for what I got out of the weekend:

  • I had to write my name and a random fact about myself on a sticker.  Now this may seem pretty trivial, but the first day it took me over ten minutes to come up with the fact.  I was shocked at how apprehensive and nervous I was.  The fact I eventually chose was that I wish I could grow a moustache.
  • I met and talked to loads of interesting and diverse people.  They included a life coach, a business strategist, religious publishing house owners, a cupcake chain owner and a bunch more.  It was great to meet enthusiastic people I wouldn’t necessarily meet on a day to day basis and to hear about some of the things they were finding challenging.
  • I went on a blind dinner date with three other people on the course.  Again this was a totally new and different experience but it was a lot of fun and the food was awesome!
  • I found a little inspiration and clarification for how I want to move forward with my business and other projects.  It was refreshing to feel challenged and to be in a different environment.

At lunch both days they brought in incredible food from all over New York. This sushi was awesome…
Photo: Matthew Hensrud
matthewhensrud.net

I didn’t stand up and share my story or go up and talk to Seth in person. I should have gone and got a photo and I could have struck up more conversations with fellow attendees.

By the end of the two days my brain was slightly melted due to the intensity of the workshop but now the dust has settled I’m really glad that I took the plunge and put myself into a new and stimulating situation.

Putting yourself into a position where you are out of your comfort zone is a good idea.

We were given this letter press at the end of the first day. Pick Yourself…

Not Qualified

So let’s be honest with each other.

I’m not qualified…

  • I am 26 years old (too young)
  • I dropped out of university (failure)
  • I didn’t go to business school (uneducated)
  • I haven’t worked in the ‘real world’ (inexperienced)

I could go on…

Does it matter?  I don’t think so.

The world has changed.

Degrees, qualifications and traditional methods of learning are not what they used to be.  Gone are the days where a university education guaranteed a career for life with a steadily increasing pay packet.

Today your worth is based on what you deliver.

The good news is that it is easier than ever to deliver.  It’s never been simpler to get started on your own project. It’s easy to share your enthusiasm, commitment and to showcase your talents.  It’s possible to build a business in your bedroom for next to no cost.  You can share your art and build a community of like minded people for free.  You can have an idea and a hundred people can choose to invest in your idea to help get it off the ground.  You can educate yourself from the comfort of your own home, on the bus or lying on a beach.

You no longer need to be ‘qualified’ in order to do what it is you want to do.

If you need the certificate then there is nothing wrong with getting it, but don’t be surprised when that alone is not enough…

Knowing and doing are two different things.  Until you get started with the actual doing you’ll never know what you are capale of and what value that holds in the world.

 

A COUPLE OF THINGS TO NOTE:
1) It is a given that for some endeavours / careers you need to be qualified.  To be a doctor or a pilot etc it is preferential that an individual has reached a certified level of competency.
2) I am not questioning the value of learning.

Why The Hell Am I Doing This?

Sometimes it might be a good idea to ask yourself the question:

Why the hell am I doing this?”

I have been playing with the idea of starting a blog for over 18 months.

The truth is that putting myself out there, connecting with people and talking about what I do are things that I have been stuck on for quite a while.

I’ve lived somewhat in the shadows for the first seven years of running my business.  Perhaps rightly so.  I was young and finding my way with running a business and didn’t feel comfortable sharing my ideas.

I am still learning, but I’m also feeling more confident with myself and my abilities when it comes to talking about things like working for yourself and creating a lifestyle that excites you…

As such the reasons that I am starting this blog are:

  • It’s a new and challenging project in itself
  • To share experiences and ideas
  • To connect with exciting people and hear their stories
  • To encourage others to pursue something that challenges them

If positive things happen as a result of this project then I think it’s worth putting myself out there…

What’s the worst that can happen? 

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