Lots of us want to be entrepreneurs – and for all the right reasons. Dreaming of making millions one day is fine, but it’s not why we do it. For me at least, with notonthehighstreet.com – the business I started with my friend Holly Tucker – it’s been so much better.
As an entrepreneur, you have the satisfaction of creating something that wouldn’t have happened without you. Opportunity and excitement are part of your daily life. You work with interesting and clever people – ones you’ve actually chosen to work with. And then, if you’re fortunate enough to see success, it gets even better. You make a good living and your children even entertain the idea that you’re not completely embarrassing, thanks to The Apprentice.
So is there a catch? Definitely a few small ones. If you want to start a new business you work insanely hard for long hours. It’s exhausting, frequently terrifying, and there’s a vertiginously steep learning curve to climb. But since it’s also a lot like being in love, none of that is too much to bear.
As an entrepreneur, opportunity and excitement become part of your daily life
Exactly six years ago this summer, Holly and I were in a frenzy of texts from our respective holidays, sharing ideas for brand names and to-do lists. With a total of four other small businesses and three young children to manage between us, we could have picked a better time. But we’d got a new, bigger-than-ever business bug, and our new baby, notonthehighstreet.com, was on its way.
Since then, we’ve grown our online marketplace to support 1,800 of Britain’s best creative businesses, designer-makers and boutiques. I’ve been in the happy position not just to watch our own business flourish, but also to share ideas with the hundreds of other amazing companies that have taken that journey with us.
And that’s what this column is going to be about: the highs and lows of business success. From lows such as the barriers to raising finance and the childcare situation in the UK, to what makes business so compelling, from nailing practicalities like hiring and marketing to exploring big ideas, commerciality and work-life balance (though don’t push me too hard on that last one). Do email me your ideas and thoughts and I’ll see you at the next Stylist Network event on 17 August.
Main picture credit: Rex Features