No matter how old or how experienced you are, starting your own business can be daunting.
I’ve been working in marketing for 10 years now. My job has taken me around the world, I’ve worked for FTSE 100 companies, I’ve helped grow and launch new business, yet when it came to starting my own I couldn’t shake the feeling of ‘what if’.
What if it doesn’t work?
What if I fail?
What if I’m not good enough?
But, what was more powerful than my imposter syndrome and those worries that come naturally to us all, was ‘what if I didn’t give it a go?’, and that scared me the most.
I come from a very working class background. Hand me down clothes from other families, beans on toast for dinner and growing up in a house with no central heating. For me to have come from there and got to where I was before I started my business, was a big achievement for me.
I was living in London, with a wage in the higher tax band and life was fairly comfortable. Fear of loss, losing that comfortability and going home to Hull with no solid income lined up was extremely scary for me and I knew I needed the support of like-minded people on arrival, and that’s when I heard about FEO and their Ignition program.
FEO Ignition was 3 hours every Wednesday evening for 8 weeks at the Hull City Stadium. Each week a different speaker would share their story and/or the information you would need as a new business founder.
My two favorite sessions were the first and the last. The first being Jonathan Elvidge, founder of the Gadget Shop, Red5 and now co-founder of Moodbeam. Jonathan shared his story, telling us about where he started and what he learnt along the way. Sharing his ups and downs, Jonathan demonstrated that success isn’t a straight line, but a journey.
The last session we attended was with Martin Lauer, Founder & CEO of The One Point Ltd. Martin spoke about his journey as a founder and shared his thoughts about entrepreneurship and how his business developed. He had a great sense of humor and ended the 8 weeks on an inevitable high.
The truths of being an entrepreneur and hearing two real life stories filled with challenges, growth and opportunity really inspired me.
I learnt many things from my time at FEO Ignition but my biggest learning was what does success look like for me?
As a marketer, the first thing I want to know from a client is what does success look like? And then, based on that I work out a strategy and how we are going to measure that success. But in this case, in my business, going in I didn’t know what success looks like. I didn’t know what my end goal was or what I wanted to achieve, so how could I make a successful business plan? And the truth is, I’m still figuring that out. But, I’m a hell of a lot closer now than I was before the course. I know what I want as a minimum and I know the sky’s the limit.
Since FEO and starting my business, I’m now an extremely busy marketing consultant for SME finance and tech businesses, Head of Marketing at a startup I found a particular fondness for LegacyScore and I’m also in the process of building my own subscription forum for new business founders.
Thank you to FEO, April, the wonderful speakers and brilliant attendees of Ignition for helping me find my confidence and giving me the knowledge to run a global business from my hometown of Hull.