Updated: Jan 3
We have been starting each month by writing our own horoscope. Why? Because planning is boring and everyone wants a magical manifestation pill… As a career strategist I know that there is nothing spooky about 'manifesting' outcomes; it comes down to setting goals, having a plan and working systematically through it. But yes, it can sound all too a bit too boring and a lot of work. So make it fun and instead of coming up with a list of goals and a to-do list, write a horoscope. This month we look back at what we have managed to manifest in the 6 months we have done the exercise - and with COVID ending, I am glad to say most things we planned for our children's publishing house have in fact started to manifest. This will be the final 'horoscope' but the work to create beautiful picture books that plant seeds of wisdom and make early childhood learning effortless continues - it won't be a sprint, but a marathon.
Not a runner but ...
I am more of a fast walker than a runner and certainly not one to harbour any aspirations to run marathons ... but a marathon is the best analogy that I could come up with when thinking of the work that lies ahead for us as we start our new enterprise!
In my previous life in the corporate world I did quite a bit of work with funding startups. I used to start all conversations with founders with the same question, "so how did this all start?" That's when the rustic backstory behind the glossy pitch decks would come out, which IMO was always infinitely more interesting than anything on their PowerPoints!
The one thing that became abundantly clear to me was that every 'overnight success' had been (at least) ten years in the making...
When starting a new business or venture and even hobby, it helps to go in with that mindset. With this comes the wisdom of pacing yourself for the long haul that lies ahead - and that is easier said than done.
After the launch of the picture book, comes the hustle
October was probably one of the first few months over the last two years when what I had planned out as my 'horoscope', largely transpired. With the country opening up, we launched our business and kicked off the launch of our debut picture book title. Tick and Tick!
And now comes the part where we need to stay in business ...
When you run your own business it seems like every day you need to hustle (my favourite new word).
"So what are we doing today to reach more people, tell our story, pitch our product and make some sales."
Mind you we are not some venture funded enterprise with a global domination agenda ... However, like every business, we too need to capture a 'minimal viable market' for the business to survive - unfortunately there is no well laid out 'yellow brick road' that leads to it.
Every day involves some new ideas, experiments, obstacles (admin), wins and lessons ... lots of lessons! And of course there are the times where you just go, what now ...
Sounds exciting but it mostly feels like riding a roller coaster of highs and lows. It's easy to get caught up in all this 'hustling business' and feel emotionally and physically drained.
Admittedly I am pronged to fall into this trap... but thankfully have a rather wise co-founder who is a lot more grounded and generally chilled (sometimes too chilled... ;-) who offsets this and reminds me of the long road that lies ahead.
Getting the pace right
So now that we have launched, the outlook for November is to settle into a rhythm that I / we can sustain over the long term - ten years at least...
A few things play into this.
Creating stories we wish we'd grown up with is our passion, but it is not our only passion.
We don't want our passion to become a job and we'd like to have space to pursue other interests.
In the short term whilst setting up shop, there is no doubt we need to give it a lot of our energy. For this to be sustainable, we need to set our day up in such a way that we can make time to do things that are important to us.
High on the priority is being able to take the morning or afternoon off, whilst the sun is shining, to get a walk, swim and some exercise in. Being a night owl, I don't then mind doing an evening shift to catchup, so long as there is enough time for a nightly meditation session and eight hours of sleep! And then there are the 'mini' breaks I like to take during the day to garden, cook and eat proper meals...
Imagine outlining all these requests to an employer ... and that is why we started our own business!
Apart from getting the pace right in the day, it's also about setting our new business up in such a way that it can *almost* looks after itself over the long term.
This comes down to finding the right partners to work with - to do things that we are not good at doing, would rather not spend time learning or doing and in fact would be better for everyone if done by someone else who likes/needs/wants to do it more!
Let the courting begin
Remember what dating felt like? It can be the worst of times and best of times. Starting new business relationship is no different...
Who you bring on can make or break your business, not to mention, peace of mind! Most small business owners shy away from the cost and hassle and end-up doing everything themselves.
November for me is really the month to reframe the 'cost equation' into a 'value equation'.
What does the partnership bring that adds to our lives and more than makes up for the costs we incur for it? For me this comes down to doing business with like-minded people - those who are high on integrity, responsive and follow-through on commitments.
Tick those three boxes and you are worth every cent you charge - which will probably be a fair charge because of the integrity thing.