12 months, 12 reflections on one year in business

Image: card from http://www.kissmekwik.co.uk

This week I’ve been founder of ZenergyActive, my Pilates and wellbeing company, for one year.

This blows me away on two levels. Firstly my small business is slowly but steadily growing when most small businesses fail in the first year. Secondly, it’s taken me until now to own the words ‘founder of ZenergyActive, my Pilates and wellbeing company’. I finally updated my LinkedIn profile last week when friends gave me a push to get over my concern that it might all go to pot and I’d end up eating humble pie and begging for a Marketing job back.

They assured me that wouldn’t be the case as the business IS steadily growing and what forward looking employer wouldn’t admire someone taking the leap to follow their passion and get a small business off the ground. ‘Think of what you’ve learned……’ they said. So I took the plunge, changed my profile and then reflected on just that….what I’ve learned during my first year in business:

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1️⃣ It’s possible. It’s not easy but it is actually possible to quit the day job, retrain in a totally new field, start a business and earn money doing it.

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2️⃣ It’s a rollercoaster. Because it really matters every comment and interaction either makes my heart sing or break.

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3️⃣ It’s utterly empowering. Whatever the obstacle, opportunity or skill gap you simply have to find a way to make it work and inevitably you do.

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4️⃣ You attract likeminded people. I’ve found you become drawn to and connected with people working outside the traditional corporate path on their journey to fulfilment. Either physically or virtually you share, guide, encourage, console and celebrate with one another.

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5️⃣ You discover your community. Teaching in the local community means I can connect to my neighbourhood but it goes beyond that. Being around to take in parcels, have a cuppa/G&T with a neighbour and use local businesses has given me a sense of belonging.

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6️⃣.I’ve seen Facebook in a new light. Without Facebook my business wouldn’t have survived it’s first year. Being able to feature on community pages (run by local volunteers – thank you!) has been an integral source of customers along with a way to run affordable, targeted advertising.

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7️⃣ You find your voice. Knowing how to represent yourself in words and pictures is daunting. I was initially in analysis paralysis second guessing what every word, picture, colour and post said about me. Slowly I’ve found my rhythm and my confidence has grown to just go for it.

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8️⃣ You can give back. I make time to volunteer each month. With my Yellow lab Dave, we visit local residential homes as part of the Pets as Therapy organisation – a really special experience I might have missed out on previously.

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9️⃣You’re so grateful to friends and family. Without a team they become your colleagues, life coaches, brand developers, product testers, flyer distributors, pop-up Pilates event crew, social media advocates….you’re rock.

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🔟Self-care can go out the window. Work and non-work blur when you follow your passion. That can mean that it’s difficult to stop. You have to park the guilt, explain to your concerned partner that it’s not work to you but also set boundaries and nurture yourself

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1️⃣ 1️⃣ Things that mattered before, don’t. Spending decisions come into sharp focus when you’ve given up the day job. It was surprisingly easy to stop spending on clothes, hair and beauty products and prioritise investing in the business and quality experiences with friends and family. You think twice about who you give your money to and appreciate it more.

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1️⃣ 2️⃣ You make an impact and gain personal fulfilment. The feedback I’ve had from my clients has blown me away. I’m impacting not just how they move but how they feel; their stress levels, sleep quality and overall happiness – creating an overwhelming sense of fulfilment.

So on reflection, it was worth the gamble to switch lanes. Although this path requires just as much grit, hard work and determination as corporate life, even working 4 nights a week as well as in the day, I’ve achieved a greatly improved work life balance. I make people healthy and happy for a living and work doesn’t seem like work any more – I couldn’t have asked for more than that. #zenergyactive #oneyearin #changinglanes #takingaleap

Ps the image is of a ZenergyActive birthday card pushed through by a neighbour and loyal customer! Amazing

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