Being an entrepreneur is about taking risks. Nothing is guaranteed; you can wish, hope or even pray that things will turn out…. But you have to do the work, be disciplined and just stick at it.
“What you risk reveals what you value.'” – Jeanette Winterson
One of my friends started a biotech business – and for the first seven years it did not ‘turn a dollar’. Not one customer. He had to go through rigorous government red tape before he could even start – which took years. My friend had put everything on the line….his home, everything. I don’t think I have his courage. (He recently sold out successfully and is about to head off overseas for five months playing the great golf courses of the world. A happy ending.) But there were many, many long hard hours being focussed and disciplined pursuing what he believed in.
I was sharing with Kate my colleague earlier today about some of the things that I used to do in the early days – the only job I haven’t done at RedBalloon is cutting code. (I even pretended to be IT manager for a while.)
“If it was meant to be it’s up to me”– my motto.
For instance, for the first 3 years, I would fold every RedBalloon envelope. (They were delivered flat and had to be assembled) About 4 nights a week I’d sit with my kids as they poked out the indent while I folded and packed them into boxes. In the beginning, it was only 20 or so a night – but when we got up to doing 200 a night…it was no longer the best use of the CEOs time.
Looking back at some of the first RedBalloon graphic designs is funny too. I thought I was a bit handy with the Adobe creative suite, so I designed the first logo and then almost all of the promotional materials for the first 3 years too. I had been a marketer surely I knew about design too? Thank goodness, Steph, Joy and Glenn have now got this sorted.
There are so many other things I just did because that was the best way to get things done inexpensively. Jill of all trade – the trick is to know when you are no longer the best person for the job.
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.'” – Anias Nin (1903 – 1977)