The Joys and Woes of a Restart UpApril 27, 2016
Our little Publishing company has been around for more than a decade.
We had a bit of a Tortoise start. When we began in 2004 – with more employees than clients, we did not know what to do with ourselves. Apart from the mother ship, also the founder with 35+ years experience in the field, the rest of us didn’t know anything about publishing, client interaction, administration or running a company. But it was an adventure. We worked out of the mother ship’s home, so expenses were minimal. We all took our turn in being CEO for the week. It was fun working along side siblings, the usual bickering, ‘don’t sit like that, sit straight, put your legs down’, ‘Is this the time to come?’ ‘Be professional’ ‘ What do you mean you are not coming in today?’ We stayed together, worked together, went for movies together and went to church together (even the Kardashians didn’t spend so much time together!)
We had steady work for a few years but then it became harder and harder to get work. Family relationships also became strained. One by one, we took up jobs elsewhere, mother ship wanted to close the company down but was advised against it. ‘Keep it running. Bring out a book or two every year’ she was told. So mother ship kept the company afloat.
In 2013, one of us rejoined the company again and in 2015 another one followed. Why? Because there is something extraordinary about working for yourself. Working together alongside family to achieve a common dream. It has its fair share of drama – tears and tantrums, but this time around, it was different. Our little team had experience sprinkled with maturity, a strong and determined need to succeed and a desire to leave behind a legacy that would be passed on.
Today we aren’t a start up but we sure feel like one. Maybe calling us a restart up is more apt. We started a few years ago, didn’t really break any records but we didn’t fail either, just took a long break and now we are back. Refreshed, renewed and invigorated wanting to be and make a difference. If you are in the same place we are at, refuelling a dream, a little nervous, wondering if you made a mistake, whether you should have joined a corporate jungle instead of getting back to your family or your own business, then let us be the first to congratulate you for revisiting your dream.
Here are a few tips to encourage you to press on:
Move out of your comfort zone
If you are still working out of your house, thinking that when you save up more you will move into a swanky office, first things first, stop that kind of thinking. Move into an office. Even if it’s a 300 sq.ft. sized one. Working from home and running a company from home are two different kinds of ball games. Though each one is important in its own way, working from home is more relaxed, if you have flexible timelines, then catching lunch with pals and pulling an all-nighter to complete work may be doable. But if you are running a company, then you need to be more focused on work. And you’ll get your undisturbed working hours at your workspace, away from home. Your clients will take you more seriously too.
The Power of Networking
The first time around, you may have been more like a lone ranger, not asking anyone for favours, wanting to scale the mountain peak yourself. But this time, you need to network, put on your best party face and winning smile and work on that confident handshake. Join forums, attend workshops, and consult professionals. Don’t be stingy when it comes to learning. Be willing to shell out money when it comes to advancing yourself and your business.
Be selective with whom you share your vision with
You may or may not realise it, but the first time you threw in the towel, it was because of the unlimited and unsolicited advice. Sometimes it could have been from a well meaning best friend or a close family member. Getting guidance and advice is not wrong, but acting on it could be costly. What makes a dream beautiful is that it is a unique gift given to you. But when you prematurely share it with many people then it gets analysed and dissected and goes from doable dream to impractical fantasy. You need to find people you can trust your dream with. Not yes-bodies who just want to please you but people who will be honest with you.
Restarting a business is as exciting as starting a new one. So as you embark on your journey for the second time, avoid the mistakes you made the first time around, let encouragement, motivation and the desire to succeed be your best friends. And remember to buy that bottle of bubbly and toast yourself when you reach your mountain top.