My first business “failed”
Ok, I didn’t want to admit this for ages, and this is the first time I’m sharing all these details publicly!
Not many people know about it, but I started my first business back in 2010. I’d discovered a gap in the market and one that I could see awesome profit potential.
I ran this business (an online custom wedding dress making service) in my spare time, while I was still focused on my (very busy) leadership role in my corporate marketing career for an IT firm.
My goal was to create a business that generated enough I could leave my day job, but after the initial excitement of creating the business, it got put on the back burner.
I kept it going, but just didn’t invest much time or money into it.
My focus was on my career, which I really enjoyed.
Looking back, I’m amazed I persevered with the business for so long!
I got close to closing it down a few times just from pure lack of interest in doing it anymore, but I hung in there.
It was 9 years later that I sold it, still with amazing market potential that was yet untapped.
What went wrong?
Looking back I’ve been unpicking why I didn’t push harder to follow the opportunity and make it more successful, why it didn’t become my ticket out of the corporate job.
It’s actually pretty simple.
The money isn’t enough. My drive for starting that business had been purely financially focussed. I’d treated it like a job.
Although I had seen an opportunity to disrupt the market, I felt no affinity with the product, didn’t love the industry. I felt so disengaged with the whole business, that I never even spoke about it to anyone unless they asked, even my husband!
Zero passion. Minimal motivation.
I didn’t have a purpose that aligned with who I was and WHY I was doing this.
In my mind, even though I did create a growing business and kept it growing for 9 years, I hadn’t achieved my lifestyle objective so it was a failure.
It was a poor business choice because I had no WHY.
How I discovered my WHY
Knowing your WHY is something that you’ll hear spoken about by various business leaders and it’s certainly important for success, but – here’s an even more important point:
Don’t get stuck in figuring yours out, and this is why:
It’s going to change as you grow and evolve as a business owner.
When I first started this business, my why was inwards focused once again.
It was all about why I wanted to start the business – to have flexibility in my schedule, to have freedom to live where we want, and be able to travel.
This gave me the motivation to push through the tiredness and over the hurdles that launching a business inevitably throws in your way! And it was enough to get me started.
Once I began working with clients, I became more clear on my external WHY, my purpose: to help other women who had left their professional careers create successful businesses so they too could get flexibility and freedom.
Now, it’s a few years later and my WHY has evolved more and grown even bigger:
By the time our daughters are entering the workforce, I want to have removed the bias in our society about a woman’s ability to succeed in business or work once she’s become a mother.
I’ve experienced this bias first hand. It runs deep in our corporate world, resulting in so many women having their careers cut short, or stopped, simply because she’s given no choice.
The label ‘mother’ or ‘part-timer’ is a career death sentence at the moment, but it shouldn’t be that way.
Back then, my most talented, most committed and productive staff were part-time working mums, however, in many workplaces they’re treated like they’ve lost half their brain during childbirth.
That’s if they weren’t already made redundant! Yes it happens a lot – it’s crazy, they haven’t lost their talents and ability simple because they became a mum!
This ‘maternal wall’ goes up and they can’t climb over it no matter how much they prove their worth.
I thought it wouldn’t happen to me and I worked hard to prove my worth.
But I was wrong, regardless of results I continued to achieve, the wall appeared and my career suddenly felt a lot less inviting.
That’s when I went “all in” on this business, finding fulfillment in empowering other talented women to succeed through my content, online courses and coaching, and even through my free Facebook community – My Tribe.
I’m extremely passionate about business and marketing strategy, get me talking and I won’t stop!
I also care deeply about helping every single one of my clients and the women in my community to succeed.
It drives me to serve them to the best of my ability every day and I get immense satisfaction when I see their results.
So you see – my WHY evolved over time.
And in 3 years I’m 1,000 times more successful than I was in my first business.
How to find your why
A WHY that works in the long term is always going to be externally focussed. It’s a purpose that’s bigger than you.
Find a reason that you care about deeply in your soul that will motivate you to keep going through the ups and downs that happen in your business journey.
To start with, you don’t need a huge vision of how you’re going to change the world, maybe you just need to change your own world first.
Then expand it a bit more, and then a bit more.
You’ll know when you’ve found your WHY because it’s completely aligned to you, your passion, and what legacy you want to leave with the world.
How you’ve helped others, improved their world.
Don’t stress if you don’t know it yet!
Follow your gut, your intuition.
You’re where you’re meant to be right now and it will come to you at the right time, when you’re ready for it.