There’s an oft quoted saying that is attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt: “do one thing every day that scares you”. It pops up in many places – from gyms to Pinterest motivation boards. I admit, it used to inspire me. Some days of late, though, living by it makes me feel like I’m becoming a paranoid schizophrenic.
Every day trying to set up my business, I can say, has been a day lived in fear. Fear of failure, fear of too much success, fear of meeting deadlines, fear of relying on other people to deliver, fear of running out of money… Damn it, do we really need to live in fear every f*@!ing day? (Yeah, it’s easy to tell everyone else to live in fear when you’re the First Lady isn’t it?). So in aid of assuring myself that I am not going mad, here are 5 lessons I’ve learnt so far, in trying to set up my bespoke activewear technology business:
1. In technology, it will never be perfect. Aim for perfect, be happy with good, release when it’s good enough. During the first few weeks of working on the website, I dotted every “i” and crossed every “t” – that was the lawyer in me! Now, six months later (and 2 months behind schedule), I am learning to let go of those missing bits and pieces (for now!) and we’re preparing to do a soft launch of the website in a couple of weeks with a reduced number of items and reduced functionality. If you’re interested, here is the beta version.** If you do have a look, I’d love to get your feedback, so feel free to PM me!
2. Every night, make a “to do” list comprising all the things that you MUST do the next day. Keep the list short and specific, and tick each item off as you finish them – oh, the satisfaction! Keep a separate bucket list of all the other little bits and pieces that you will need to do eventually. For your sanity, this needs to be separate from your daily “to do” list. It will be comforting to know that you have a depository list so that you don’t forget the finer details, as required by your perfectionist side.
3. Talk to people, make friends and be nice. Most business people would refer to this as “networking”. I hate networking. I hate the pretence and I hate the ulterior motive behind it… But I love to socialise and I love to get to know people. I’ve been bowled over by all the people – old friends and new – who have volunteered their time, resources or advice to help me thus far. It’s amazing the lengths people will go to when they hear your story and they take an interest in you! And I believe that people are only interested in you, when you are honestly interested in them.
4. When it all seems too hard, go for a jog. When it all seems like it’s going to shit, call a friend and grab a drink. There IS a solution, it may just not be obvious today, so come back to it later when your mind is refreshed.
5. Occasionally, look back on the lists that you’ve made back in (3) to remind yourself of what you’ve achieved and how far you’ve come. I have six beautifully bound notebooks that contain all of my ideas, sketches, meeting notes and to do lists. I love to flick through them to see how far my ideas have developed and to revisit the little issues that once upon a time used to be major stress points. The fact that they were made on beautiful paper makes it all the more pleasurable to look at again.
… and, if you’re really feeling like a paranoid schizophrenic –
(5.5) blog about it… Maybe there are others out there going through or have been through the same experience. Is that you? If so, I’d love to hear about it!
** and the soft launch version of mylo-dee is here.