Last night I was invited to attend and speak at the Dumfries and Galloway Women in Business event, held at the wonderful Crafty Distillery. The event focused on outside support available to local business through the Business Gateway (which we are so lucky to still have in Scotland) and Scottish Enterprise.
Preparing my notes for the talk, I had the a wonderful opportunity to stop and take stock of my business journey over the last two decades (yes, twenty years! I have no idea how that happened, I’m still 33 years old in my head). I should explain that the Crafty Distillery is a new distillery in Dumfries and Galloway, and their first product is the Hills and Harbour Gin (which if you haven’t tried it yet, I would thoroughly recommend). But along with a wonderful product they also have a magnificent building, a Timber and Steel framed building with acres of glass sitting literally seconds from the A75 but with far reaching views extending over the Galloway forest – one of my favourite places on the planet. And it truely is a wonderful place to sit and enjoy.
Reflecting, I was shocked to find that we had been working with the Business Gateway for 19 years, from my very first business as a local post master and village shop owner, through to selling our dotcom business to and spending a year working with one of Austin’s finest tech startups, to our wonderful Kids Bee Happy. And the one emotion that I truely felt was how much I enjoy running a business.
You see, before I ran my own business, I trained in London as a Chartered accountant, and one of the big learnings that I had from that time was that if you enjoyed business, then it really didn’t matter what business, what sector, what products.
And at Kids Bee Happy this is what we help people to do. We were awarded the FSB Innovation award for Scotland because we were brave enough to take a tried and tested, proven, established business model, and throw a big part of it in the bin. Because we believe here at Kids Bee Happy that our Direct Sales consultants are more than just sales consultants – they are business people, and they run their own businesses. That our role her at Head Office in Kids Bee Happy is to help them learn and develop business skills, and those might be sales and marketing skills, but more often the skills relate to confidence, mindset, and just being brave enough to get out there and do it.
One of the other roles that I am proud to have is as an Ambassador from Women’s Enterprise Scotland, and a big part of what WEScotland does is to highlight the economic impact of women owned business and the potential to our economy of acheiving a situation where women start up business as the same rate of men.
So, what I am saying, apart from that Hills and Harbour Gin is really good, is simply – Do it!. If you are like most families in the UK continually trying to square the circle of expensive childcare and holiday care clubs, or long commutes to jobs that you don’t enjoy, then do it, take the step and do what you want to do. There is so little job or income security in employment these days that all those excuses that tell ourselves to justify staying in unwanted jobs – they’re not really real, they are just our fears dressed up pretending to be “reasons”.
20 Years ago I was living in a town and a house that I hated, working stupidly long hours in a job that gave me absolutely no challenge or satisfaction, and with the knowledge that for the next 10 years as I worked my way through the manager ranks, and the junior partner ranks that those hours were only going to get longer, and of course the added bonus of having to commute round the M25 for three hours a day to get to it. It would have been so easy to pay heed to the excuses of good career progress, six figure salary, using the skills I had spent the past 8 years training for. But last night, sitting reflecting in a such a wonderful place, I have never been happier than that day 20 years ago where I woke up and said “sod it!”
PS – if you’re close to saying “Sod IT!” but you need a bit of extra support – you can get a bottle of Hills and Harbour Gin here 😉