Why starting a business is like having a baby…

Carly Thompson-BarryBusiness, Journey, Working mum0 Comments

So I have been thinking lately about how much starting Sass Place has been like what it was like to be pregnant with my son. Here are a few of my thoughts on the journey of starting a business….

The early stages…

Just like the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, the first few months of setting up your business are a quiet, secretive time. You only tell the select few around you, a.) for fear of someone else stealing your business idea (entrepreneurs have to move fast!!!) and b.) because your track record is that you are coming up with new business ideas every 5 minutes and want to be really sure that this is ‘it’ before telling the world!

The anticipation of your new arrival and choosing a name…

That nervous excitement can be all consuming. You want to get your biz out to the world and shout from the rooftops, but you are also nervous. How will you cope? What will people think? Will you know what to do? You don’t know how to run a business, do you?

The name. Seriously. I swear this is the hardest part of a business. You search every domain possible. You scour the government register to see if your name sis picked. You check the trademarks website. Then finally when you think you have it, a facebook page pops up with the same name and its back to the drawing board. Then it happens, like a light bulb, it comes to you (probably in the shower), and everything falls into place. And that’s where the next part comes in…

Doctors checkups…

Accountants (Gst what?!), lawyers (dot the I’s & cross the t’s), mentors (worth their weight in gold!), graphic designers (21 logo revisions later….), web designer (SEO who? No I’m not a company, I’m self employed), bank (please give me money!!), bookkeepers (is Xero a number?)…. The number of meetings you have as you are setting up your business are phenomenal. You start to wonder if you are EVER going to get there, and your brain is overwhelmed with all the information thrown your way. Can I actually do this? Am I ready? Do I know enough to bring a business into this world?

The Setting up of the nursery…

Or the office or the shop front! You get everything new, you spend hours in officeworks selecting just the right colour combination (you have read up on google about what colours mean happiness and success), because if its not all new and looking schmick your productivity may not be enough and the ‘universe’ may pick up on the old juju and not think you’re serious enough! You then later realize that you don’t need all the fandangle things you bought and those fancy trays and those swanky coloured folders that while they look great, really prove no purpose as you are paperless and everything is on your laptop.

The advice…

Everyone has some. Some is welcome and appreciated, some not so much. You get the naysayers – ‘why would you want to take that risk’, ‘it will never work’, ‘there is already something like that out there’, ‘why don’t you just get a real job’? And then the talk of failure starts, before you have even started!!! You bite your tongue, and think to yourself ‘I will show you’!!! I can do this on my own!

The exhaustion…

Carrying around a baby is exhausting. The weight of a business bears on your shoulders. Afternoon naps are needed as you often spend the nights tossing and turning from pregnancy insomnia. Startup business insomnia is similar, your brain won’t switch off as its full of ideas and things you need to do, only thing is that there is no time for afternoon naps as you are busy in meetings, picking products, google searching, writing your business plan or freaking out about your competitiors and if you have made the right decision!!

You wake up in the middle of the night in a panic about open day and whether or not you can do this. You have quit your ‘day job’ and aren’t sure yet how you will pay the rent each month!

Friendships…. What friendships?

Your friendship circle changes. You realize that many of your friends don’t ‘get’ you, and you start to make new ones. You join a networking group. You go to information nights and workshops on how to birth a 6-figure business. And you find a new circle that become ‘your people’. You talk about your business babies over lunch, coffee, dinner, pretty much whenever you are together – how you manage your receipts, bragging about how many hours your worked this week and nodding as you talk about how you ran out of milk again because you were too busy responding to the 190 emails in your inbox to get to the shop!

The weight gain…

So pregnancy weight gain is often around 12kgs… Thankfully ‘business startup weight gain’ hasn’t been that much on these hips of mine, but the pants have gone up a size (one bonus is the bra size has too!) as eating routines are out of wack. Exercise has been put on the backburner as you realize you cant do everything, so you just do the best you can. Renovation bootcamp helps as you prepare to open the doors of the business. Late nights become a ‘grab whatever you can get’ because you are so ‘hangry’ you are worried you may eat your own arm. Generally because you got caught up on social media or writing a blog post…..

The assumptions…

You’re glowing, you appear to have it all together, so therefore people assume you’re succeeding, when really you are going day by day and just ‘keep swimming’. Everyone assumes because of what the exterior looks like, the inside is the same. But you’re feeling exhausted, you didn’t have time to wash your hair or shave your legs, you added on extra makeup to cover up the big pimple on your chin and your bank balance is at $25.50.

The arrival…

If you have a shop front or are opening doors those last 24 hours are insanely busy, as you put the final touches in, you clean the skirting boards because you are sure someone will notice if there is dust and you try and get your software program up and running. In fact, in regards to Sass Place, It was really 2 weeks before we opened the doors that we literally didn’t stop. Give me my 8 hour child birth any day!!!

The Unexplainable feeling of birth….

You’ve done it. You sit back for 5 minutes (between meetings) and take a look around you and realize I have done this!!!!! Yes you talk yourself up in your head for a moment, because what you have just achieved not many have the guts to do. You’re heart is so full you feel like it might expolode! You have just been on a massive learning curve and are likely a completely different person to what you were at the start, and your business is too. Your view on life changes, you hold a greater sense of gratitude and a high level of respect for those who have done the same. Your baby is here and you want to tell the whole world!!!

So I think that pretty much sums up some of the beginnings of business, from conception to birth. Sass Place has been born, and I think was reborn with it. Different person to who I was 6 months ago. More grown up, more knowledgeable, wiser, more grateful for the opportunities we have had and the people we have met and ready to take on the next stage of learning how to be ‘business parents’. Stay tuned…..

xx Carly

We know that not all journeys are the same. And would love to hear about your journey to starting your business!

First published on Sass Place, 2014.

Image Copyright 2011, Out of the Box Photography. www.outoftheboxphotography.com.au

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