I was working in a vintage clothing store in Sydney in my early twenties, living in a new city (I'm from Melbourne), going out a lot, studying, running a market and trying to lose weight.
Any time I wasn't planning Lonely Hunter markets, I was completely preoccupied with this diet caper.
I was tucking into my chicken cashew stir fry one lunch and talking about whatever get skinny quick scheme I was halfheartedly trying, when my boss Jono said to me, "losing weight isn't sexy, Courtney."
Huh? I was stumped. Of course losing weight isn't sexy, it's hard work and as time has gone on I think Jono was trying to say "Courtney, you're dreaming about weight loss and the magical power losing 5 kilos in 15 minutes holds but you're not really dieting. You're all talk. Dieting isn't that fun, it's hard work, and you are expecting massive changes with little effort." He was right.
Is that "What does dieting have to do with running a business?" I hear you ask?
This is some of the best business advice I've ever received, because at when it comes down to it:
Running a your own business isn't sexy
Following your creative urges and pouring your heart into your work is fun. It's an expression of who you are and a way to bring some beauty into the world.
Your friends and family cheer you and you know in your heart of hearts that this is what you want to do but when you sit down to finally register that domain name, open that Etsy shop or take the plunge into having your first market stall, suddenly you're overcome with the desire to clean the bathroom.
It's at that point where you're on the brink of taking a leap that things start to get really nerve-wracking, and not so fun.
But just because it isn't fun, doesn't mean it isn't worth it.
Building your business will let you fulfil your creative urges and make the world a better place while you do. For real! The world needs that crochet bear/necklace/print you make and you owe it to us to share your work. You've got to work through the challenging parts to make that dream a reality.
My best piece of advice from taking your business from idea to reality is to set aside the shortest amount possible to make an impact.
I'm not talking hours here, I'm not even talking 30 minutes, do 15 minutes a day if you can and if you can't 5 minutes is fine.Figure out the least amount of time you can dedicate to starting your business and do something in that time everyday.
You may think 'open shop' is the first step in building your own business but there are lots of small actions you can take to get there. You could decide a name, spend 15 minutes looking into a blog, or take one product photo.
Give yourself 15 minutes a day to work on things and you'll get there. Believe me, it's how Maker Academy started.
Having a business is hard but extremely satisfying work.
The to-do list may never end but that shouldn't stop you.
You'll feel tired at times, and not motivated to continue but you can push through and keep going.
We want you to! Your family wants you to! The world needs you to push through!
When it came to my diet I kept half-heartedly trying to lose the 'last five kilos' but I never really committed to doing the unsexy work that would lead me away from my beloved 3 cheese pasta and into a world of steamed broccoli, mostly because the work was unsatisfying and pay off wasn't worth it.
The unsexy work of building a business may feel like eating never ending plates of steamed broccoli, but the outcome of seeing your work out there in the world is definitely worth doing the work.
Building a business may not be sexy, but do it anyway! You've totally got this.