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When your business becomes your coming of age saga

August 7, 2014

Thought coming of age was something reserved for teens?  Well, chances are if you are in the midst of your first business venture you are either going through or about to go through it all again.  Congratulations!

Going into business for the first time is one of those ‘I just have to do it even if everyone thinks I’m crazy’ things.  We leave well paid jobs,  kiss goodbye to regular pay packets and exchange it all for the thrill of the chance to become a self-made success story.  It’s exhilarating to feel the rush of endorphins on a Monday morning when you realise you don’t HAVE to join the traffic queue,  say nice things to the boss or hide in the toilet to avoid hearing about a colleagues weekend.

I’ve been watching the Lilly Allen ‘Riches to Rags’ fly on the wall docco and it really struck a chord for me.  I think Lilly is an amazingly clever song writer and being a fellow English girl I’ve always chuckled along with her irreverence and very British sense of humour, comic timing and self-depreciation so I was eager to see her turn her talented hand to another venture.

I was also interested in the sisterhood part of Lilly’s story  (Lilly went into business renting out and selling vintage clothing with her sister Sarah) having recently paired up with my own sister who I also fought with as a child (Sadly it was me that was the bitch, she thought the sun shone out of mine and I think I took advantage of that.  whoops!)……

I know we don’t see everything in these TV programs but it was clear that there were holes in the plan from the beginning but that said the girls ploughed on and made a good go of getting the shop off the starting blocks despite the at times obvious sibling hang-over issues raising their ugly head – it  can be hard to forgive, forget and see a sibling as a fully formed adult human and equal – and personal tragedy for Lilly.

The business went into receivership earlier this year, four years after opening.

Business changes you. Life changes you. There is never a good time, there is never a perfect moment, never enough money, time, energy, hours in the day, tea in the pot or enough soothing words to quiet a tormented soul. Never.

I don’t want to speculate on what happened to Lilly and Sarah’s business as it won’t change anything but what I would like is to acknowledge the fact that it is absolutely right that your own business, your first business is personal.  It is always tough, embarrassing, challenging,  exhausting, emotional and confusing.  You want this so badly and yet it tears your stomach right out.

This is all OK, you will get through it, this is just how it feels when your business becomes your second coming of age saga. There is life, profit and satisfaction waiting just around the corner just don’t go all teenager and drown it out with alcohol and all-night parties….. You are better than that.

What your business needs is long-term, adult commitment day after day because when the novelty runs off there’s much work to be done.

The big rewards will come in good time.

Amanda x


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