It’s said the majority of small businesses fail because they run out of money but what I’m quickly coming to realise is that this is only partly true.
Yes you need cash! Money makes almost anything possible, whether it’s paying the monthly $29 fees on your shopify store or paying the rent on a 50 person office (which I’m not btw) you need cash to a) get your business off the ground and b) keep you going whilst essentially making no money. Even on a tight budget a few coffee’s a week to get you out the house and some ‘treats’ from even the most budget conscious shops, such as Hema, can really add up. Don’t even think about contributing to household bills…..
What I’ve been realising more and more lately is that money is only a part of this. What it really comes down to is self belief, or lack of it.
I’m pretty lucky, I’ve never been a worrier, I jump head first into everything and drag my husband along with me. ‘Let’s buy a house’... ‘ummm ok’, Let’s move to Amsterdam’... ‘Really, ok’... ‘Lets have a baby!’... ‘finally!’... :)
A big part of this comes from the confidence I’ve gathered through my career and especially start up life. I learnt many years ago that you just have to go for it and make it work, and if it doesn’t you put it down to learning and then move on to make it work in a different way. I had great mentors, some crazy, some more logical but all brilliant in their own way.
I then joined Google where building up your confidence is basically their number 1 objective.
Over 12 years I went from a pretty shy 'Digital Products Co-ordinator' who found speaking in the team meetings petrifying, to a (semi) confident ‘Specialist’ delivering talks to hundreds of people, yes they still scared me but I pushed through and did it.
I had no problem sitting in a room with a CEO and telling them exactly what I thought was wrong with their business, confident that I could help them move forward (my specialism was mobile so usually it was pretty clear what they needed to do).
Now it may be that I decided to venture into 2 unknowns, motherhood AND launching a new business at the same time, I have been known to bite off more than I can chew. I do love a challenge and learning new things but for the first time in a long time I can feel self doubt creeping up big time. It’s a doubt that is making me question everything.
Is this even working? Why the hell did I leave my well paid job which was significantly easier than what I’m doing now? Do people even like the products I buy? Can I actually do this? Would Bo (my son) have a better life if I earnt more money, or any money.
I realised this morning it’s self doubt that causes independent businesses to fail, not money. Losing the belief and passion to drive through and make something work will ultimately be my downfall, if I let it.
It’s a difficult spiral to get out of, I had to sit and really remind myself why I’m doing this. There are lots of reasons in terms of personal development, I love learning and this is the perfect way to do so but it wasn’t the reason I started this.
Bo was the reason, I wanted to make a long term change that would enrich our lives, not make us richer. I wanted the flexibility to work for myself, to choose when and how I work. To be able to take time off if he’s sad or unwell, to show him that you can create anything you put your mind to vs just earning money in a job you’re not passionate about. To do like the Dutch and take the whole of August off to show Bo the world, or just spend time cycling round this lovely country. To create a family business and work with other mums doing similar things.
Bo changed everything.
I know it won’t be easy and there will be some tough decisions to be made along the way but I really hope I manage to keep the belief in myself and this going. Money or no money, even if I have to freelance for a couple of month to pay the bills, I can do this.
So if you read this and you know anyone going through something similar tell them they are awesome and not to lose sight of why they are doing this. Keep the belief, passion and drive and you will succeed.