I’m sitting in the park, under a tree, tunes on, coffee by my side, looking out to Rushcutter’s Bay, the sun is shining and I’m thinking life is really rather great. Blogging from the park might be the way going forward. Although a dog seems to be a more popular accessory than a MacBook Air around these parts. Still, it’s nice to get a change of scene. Those of you that know me, know how much love I have for my Paddington apartment but it has been a busy old week, with lots of time spent at my desk so it’s nice to get out into the fresh air and make friends with dachshund puppies. The week started with another milestone for Studio 1 Interiors…
On Monday, I presented back to my first Studio 1 Interiors client. A client who was referred through a friend in response to my offer of a free consultation. I’m not yet sure whether the client will become a paying client and, of course, it will be awesome if they do, but I’m relaxed about it either way because regardless of outcome, it has already been a great experience. Each time I deliver a job, whether at design school or with real-life clients, I learn so much. I learn about suppliers, products, how much time the research phase takes, how long concept boards take. I feel like I’m starting to get into my groove (no dance moves involved) about what feels right. I’m starting to trust that I know what I’m talking about and that I’m good at what I do. A few people asked me if I was nervous about the presentation. But the truth is, I wasn’t. I felt really good about what I’d created. I’d loved the process of creating it and I was happy to talk it through, knowing I’d done my absolute best but also knowing that I’d already gained something from the job.
I was early for the meeting so stopped off for a coffee. The girl that served me nodded to the boards (which were pretty much consuming the entire table and would be difficult to miss) and said “Cool, is this work?” and I had a little internal ‘yay’ moment. Yes, this IS work. This WILL work. I’m on my way to doing something I really love for ‘work’. I had my coffee and vegemite toast and ran through my notes on what I wanted to say and felt utterly content about the whole thing. And for someone who used to get extremely anxious about situations where I had to put myself out there, that was a pretty nice moment. I can’t stress this enough, and I’ll continue to say it because it’s important: when you do something which you’re being called to do, and choose to live in the present moment, you will be amazed and amazing things will happen. And like everything in life, the more you do it, the better you get at it or the easier / more natural it becomes. And because you love it, you become less focussed on the ‘must be better’, ‘must achieve this…’ or placing time pressures on yourself to get to some where that you ‘think’ you ‘need’ to be. Instead you allow yourself to fall into the flow of just doing whatever it is right there in that moment that feels good. All this park fresh air is making me get deep. Honestly though, I’m just grateful for the opportunity to practice. The cherry on top was that the client also “loved” what I’d created. And you know, when the time is right, the money will start to flow into the business, I’m sure of it.
“Those who are certain of the outcome can afford to wait and wait without anxiety” – A Course In Miracles.
This week also marked another milestone. The Studio 1 logo was decided. And I really love it. I did the classic marketer move and despite loving it at first round creative, I asked for some tweaks to a couple of other versions then ended up landing back at the first one anyway. You can take the girl out of marketing…! Ha. Graphic Designers love it. Right, Chelsey? Ahem. It was another rather proud moment though when I could stick the final logo to the client boards. Another ‘this is really happening!’ moment. So with the logo decided it’s time to turn attention towards the website again as I try to harness my copywriting skills. The client presentation also enabled me to do some sums (you know how I so like to resist doing those sums) and start thinking about what services the business with offer and a cost structure. That’s a work in progress and will be something I work on next week with the wealth coach (remember from last week?). You’re an avid reader? You remember? Good! Well done you. I’ll update on that next week. I did say I wasn’t nervous about the presentation, but if anything, I was probably experiencing slight hesitation around the conversation that would be had around money. Last week I talked about receiving, and I suspect there might be a little bit of work to be done around the ability to ask too!
In a bumper week of firsts, I also went to my first small business networking event. Those networkers like an early start. 6.30am in fact! It was dark when I left the house. Just as well there was coffee. Connections & networking is something I want to talk about in a later post but what I will just share is that one of the first questions someone asked me at said event, was “So, what’s your business model?”. Um, business model you say? Right, yeah, interesting question, um, sorry, you’ll have to excuse me, I think I’ve just seen someone I know…<runs towards exit> I didn’t actually excuse myself but what I did after my inner critic yelled “YOU SHOULD NOT BE HERE!” was waffle some stuff about “early days…” “working through things…” Blah blah blah. This blog probably isn’t exactly the ideal Business 101 model and so it likely won’t come as a surprise to you when I say I’m not exactly a business plan kind of girl. You know by now I’m not doing the whole business start-up thing by the book. What book? I don’t know, just, you know, a book about how to start a business the sensible way, or something. I did toy with the idea of a Business Plan in the beginning. After all, you don’t get through 4 years of business studies degree without producing a pretend business plan or two. In fact many an assignment would involve business plans of sorts (oh, and a SWOT analysis, we loved a good SWOT) but, 15 years later, when it came down to it, for my own ‘real’ business, writing a business plan felt like a bit of a chore. In blog post #4 I spoke about my relationship with written word and if it doesn’t come easily, I generally don’t feel compelled to do it.
So there, I’ve said it. I don’t have a business plan. Now you might be reading this thinking “No business plan?! ALERT ALERT” but I’m ok with it, but I’m truly sorry if it’s stressing you out. Over my lifetime, I’ve had a lot of business ideas, some for products I thought wold change lives, some for a service, some a little out there, some a little less so, some now exist because someone else had that same idea and the majority I’ve forgotten about. Why? Because the thought of writing a business plan made my creativity shrivel. I recently read Lisa Messenger’s book “Daring & Disruptive” and I found myself able to relate to a lot of what she spoke about. If you know about The Collective you know how successful it is…
“Take The Collective magazine for instance. I didn’t do any business plans. I did a little marketing research and once I confirmed there was nothing like this already out there, I kicked into high gear and began taking action towards making the magazine a reality.” – Lisa Messenger (Daring & Disruptive)
Like Lisa, I’ve realised I’m better, when I just start. Just get going. This week I was kindly invited back to Sydney Design School to speak at a Mind Your Own Business evening for previous and current students of the school (told you, it’s been a proper busy week) and one of the other presenters was Head of Operations for Business Chicks and during her presentation, Samantha happened to mention that never has a business plan been written in their business. It’s simply “not our style” she said. Turns out this Business without a Business Plan lark is quite popular!
Of course, I know that the traditional Business Plan has its benefits but what I also know is that I have to run my business in a way which feels right for me and anything done from a place of fear isn’t likely to be a good thing for any business. No, I’d rather start and learn in the process. Business without a plan. Risky? Probably. Feel the right things to do? 100% . I don’t know any other way. What I feel like I’m doing is starting up my business intuitively. Which I guess is the entrepreneurial way, right? I’m going through the process believing that each step will be taken at just the right time to ensure what needs to be done will be done. Mistakes will be made. I’ll learn. I’ll do it better next time. And I feel more in-tune with my intuition that I have in a very long time. I think I’ve always been able to feel those ‘I just know’ & ‘gut feel’ feelings but the difference now is that I’ve found enough courage to trust them enough to follow them. Maybe a business can be intuition-led and maybe it can’t but either way I suspect wherever you sit with it will be reflected in the results delivered. For now, for me, it’s important to go with my gut feel and so far so good.
What I do probably now need to focus on is my core message of my business, the ‘why’. And that’s what I’ll focus on this next week. What do I want to be know for? Both from a website & marketing perspective. But also, at the networking event, I had a 60 second slot to talk about my business and I’m not entirely sure I nailed it. So, next time, I want to nail it. Maybe my elevator pitch can be my business plan? There, I have a plan.
So that pretty much summarises this week. Oh actually I did also do a rather stylish fall over in the street. That was interesting. It was raining. I was carrying the obligatory Paddington accessory of a yoga mat and the next thing I was sprawled on the pavement. Clearly I’ve forgotten how to walk in the rain. Falling over was not a first. No, many a bruise has been obtained through similar activity over the years and this week I had another one to add to the collection! Keeping it classy.
Tomorrow I’m off to meet a client in Newcastle. That’s right, 4 weeks in, I’ve already exhausted the Sydney market, I’m branching out. I jest. But, a client is a client, and Studio 1 Interiors doesn’t mind getting its travel on.
Till next week friends. Oh actually, one last thing this week. We’ve established this isn’t Business Model 101 and I’m not sure if what I’m about to say is exactly Blogging 101 either but if you’re enjoying the blog I’d love you to share it (buttons below) with your network to help spread the word and maybe help someone else begin their journey to love what they do. This post, the first post, any post, if you like it, share.