I’ve never seen myself an entrepreneur or a business person, at all, in the slightest. As i’ve said in a previous blog, i had aspirations to be a mad scientist in fact. However, as i plunge deeper and deeper into this crazy decision to make a go of this, I realise now that perhaps this is what i was destined to do all along – if there is such a thing as destiny of course
In the 5 months AWS Productions has been fully operational as a business i have experienced a full spectrum of emotions, mindsets, levels of motivation and injections of intoxicating inspiration, as well as it’s nasty counterpoint. While for 95% of these five months I’ve been enthralled, challenged and rewarded by the day to day operations of running my business – it isn’t without its stresses that you simply wouldn’t have if you had a full time job working for someone else. I could very easily come here to gloat about how great life is as a sole trader and business owner – which i have done to people around me. I’m not going to do that anymore. From here you will receive complete honesty on my experiences in my first half year in business.
Own boss, own hours, creative and professional flexibilities yarda yarda yarda…you’ve heard all this before. (Not saying that these elements aren’t great, which they are – but we have more interesting things to discuss) As i continue to forge myself along the path I’ve selected to take through the wirery thickets of life’s badlands, i’ve discovered that there are pitfalls in every aspect of our lives and consequently; perfection, absolute happiness and contentment may be dangerous illusions.
Wake up, eat breakfast, shower, car, freeway, work. Reverse Order. Times by 5. The often maligned 9 – 5, 5 days a week schedule has become a staple of working life in the western world, often held aloft as a symbol of workers resentment for their desk jobs and enslavement in a system driven by the ever increasingly popularity and influence of the AUD. Having never held a job that adhered to this framework, i can’t speak from experience but it’s clear that certain elements you receive from being in this timetable are security, assurance and routine – things which can be scarce in the early days of getting a business to gain traction. What i can say from experience is when work drys up, however momentarily, a fraction of your attention turns to how much easier it would be to have security, assurance and a rock solid routine. Stress spreads its wings within your mind, it’s tendrils slowly easing their way into your actions, slicing their way through creativity and inspiration before finally manifesting itself in desperation.
Although you are you’re own boss, I still have goals and achievements set out before me so that i remain accountable to myself if i fail to reach them. When it becomes clear that I’m not going to achieve a goal I’ve set myself, you feel horrible. Like anyone in any field, there are periods of self doubt that can be crippling and numbing to your creative impulses. In the first month or so of AWS, such a minor failure would prove to be destabilising for me – it would send me into a state of anxiety as i remained awake into the early hours wondering how i could allow myself to not achieve what i had set out to achieve. I quickly learnt that failure is sometimes completely necessary, it enables you to reflect on your processes as a person and a business. Like events in life such as break ups, family quarrels or work place disenchantment – it’s about you respond to these hardships and subsequently use them to get better that is the ultimate determinant of whether or not something is truly a failure. Acceptance that failure is okay isn’t conceding and inviting mediocrity, it’s being comfortable enough to acknowledge that you weren’t at your best and finding a way to use that it in order to extinguish any lingering fears of it happening again.
Most of you reading this probably followed a link through social media, which is something that has been a major asset to my business – as well as a hurdle to overcome. The act of starting a business is quite terrifying but, at least initially, that was nothing compared to the anxieties generated from the thought of people judging my exploits through the scope of social media. Placing a personal project of a creative nature out into an online space that is for the most part populated by people you know already is a confronting experience. You never know how or if they will accept it or if they are taking the piss out of you and painting you out to be a fool – again, this has eased as the road has smoothed out before me, but nevertheless it was a genuine cause of tension early on.
This is going to sound terrible, but those with businesses in the online realm will understand it. As a business owner and a friend, you are wondering why certain friends and people interact and support your business actively, whether it be through liking or sharing posts on various channels of social media, telling other people about it, asking you how it’s going and generally showing support and interest. On the flip side, you wonder why some of your friends very rarely, or in some cases never, interact with and support your business to help you out. It’s interesting how certain people will always support what i do, regardless of the time or the content, they will help me out. Of these people i will be forever grateful for their continued and unwavering support, and until you have a business out there its impossible to articulate just important these helping hands can be.
As i touched on at the outset, i believe perfection and the pursuit of happiness are important driving factors in our lives – we all have the right to be happy, but we should also learn not to fear sadness, doubt and discontentment. Whether it be in business or in life, you need to take the good with the bad, the failures with the triumphs and the support when you can get it. Having a small business has taught me to be self motivated, to insulate myself against the misgivings of others trying to patronise or trivialise my ambitions and become okay with the idea that perfect is not always ideal and, paradoxically, the importance of failures in the grander scheme of your trek.