My first business began to take shape when my son was six months old. It was a time of adventure, chaos and optimism with of course great uncertainty and an awful lot of washing.
I was doing my best to juggle – baby on hip, sterilising bottles, reading books and making phone calls. It was tiring but the adrenalin was keeping me alert, despite frequent nights of broken sleep. To get as much help with my preparations as possible, I went to an enterprise event encouraging women to start new businesses and explored all the avenues for support that were available.
The first person I met was Sylvia, an elegant and calm lady who seemed to have everything under control.
Sylvia was smart, helpful and encouraging and offered me a place on a start-up course to help with business planning. I jumped at the chance and within three months my business plan was ready.
With Sylvia’s help, I found my first client and then the day came for me to deliver my first training presentation: I was petrified. Sylvia had come along to support me and I tried to absorb some of her confidence, wishing I could present the same calm professionalism I saw in her.
Somehow I got through the ordeal and, with a few bumps along the way, my business began to flourish.
Years later I told Sylvia how much she had inspired me.
“I always felt unprepared and over-preoccupied by nappies and bibs. I was afraid people wouldn’t take me seriously: I really envied you your confidence!”
“Seriously?” She shook her head. “I wish I had your courage,” she said. “I could never do what you do.”
We laughed about it together, but the lesson for me was clear. It took a good few years of presenting and delivering training courses for me to build confidence in my ability. Yet it only took 3 months to find the courage to start.
I began before I felt ready but, if I hadn’t done so, I would be the one believing it was impossible and would never have given it a try.