Balancing Work, Life—And A Business
Growing up, I always had ambitions of starting my own business. Reflecting on this, I think this ambition stems from my time working for my parents’ business. Each weekend, we would travel to the local Otara and Avondale markets to sell imported items such as clothing, accessories and toys. As the market for these items became saturated, my parents looked into branching outside of Auckland. This led us to travel down to Rotorua every second weekend, in the early hours of the morning, where we would set up our store in front of the Rotorua lake. I still vividly remember the days of wearing a waist bag, and selling to customers through till the late afternoon, before packing up our entire store and driving back up to Auckland. These were some challenging times for us as a family, but also made for very memorable family trips, and lots of time spent together. I have my parents to thank for teaching me the essential selling and negotiating skills, which have continued to help me in my role as a Senior Consultant, here at Madison.
So it feels like as long as I can remember, starting a business and being the boss of my own company has been not only a dream, but a strong desire. As a teenager, and throughout university, I spent time dabbling in small imports, and selling products on Trademe. These experiences have taught me valuable lessons, which I have fortunately been able to apply to my current business. In August 2018, my colleague, and close friend Eden McKee and I, started our e-commerce business (www.herofficial.co.nz). It all began with a personal fitness goal, which soon turned into a deep passion, and ultimately a business idea for the two of us.
Some may think I’m crazy, some may think I have a lot of confidence, and some may think I’m brave to start a business, while working a full time job. I think it’s probably all of the above! Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t an overnight decision. Eden and I did a lot of thinking, planning and number crunching, before we agreed to take on this challenge together. Since starting this new venture, I have had to quickly learn how to successfully balance my full time Senior Consultant role at Madison, with running our business in our ‘free’ hours, while still making time for family, friends and for myself.
Many people have asked how I have managed to balance what’s essentially two jobs, plus life in general. Well, it’s tough, but definitely possible. Here are a few tips I have picked up from my experience over the past few months, that I believe can be applied to work, life or business:
I know that you’ve heard this from a multitude of entrepreneurs and successful business professionals. Yes, it’s been said a thousand times before —but there is a good reason for that; it’s true. Make sure you are passionate about the job you are in, the business you have started and the hobbies you have taken up. It makes all the difference. Can you imagine how hard it is to keep going during the inevitable difficult times, when you don’t care strongly about your business? I’ve found that my passion for fitness and the benefits of HER bands, is the main ingredient in helping myself build drive, and maintaining my determination to build our business. There is a quote I came across which illustrates this point well – “Do it with passion, or not at all”.
Setting goals is an integral part of our business. To start off with, it is always best to have tangible goals. I recommend starting small, and working your way up to more challenging goals. For Eden & I, a decent, tangible goal was as simple as ‘designing our website and finishing it by a certain date’. Goal setting allows you to be held accountable for your own tasks, and helps to motivate you towards an achievement. This will allow you to have set timeframes, and give you guidance in where you can spend some of your spare time. If you find it challenging to work towards or achieve a goal, visualisation really helps. If it’s an overseas trip that you would like to go on this year, why don’t you try putting together photos of your previous travelling trip or photos of the places you want to see. Have this visual in front of you to remind you to keep working towards achieving this goal.
Prioritise your tasks
Many of us modern humans have adapted to a lifestyle that is busy and fast paced. We often find ourselves ‘running out of time’. How can you manage your job, business and social life? Prioritising is your answer! I personally like to write daily lists, and prioritise each task in terms of urgency, and make sure I complete it by a set timeframe. If things at the bottom of the list don’t get done, at least I have completed my most important tasks. This ensures that our business can still operate when we are not available, as well as ensuring I complete my responsibilities at work while still allowing me time to socialise. Recently, I decided on a lifestyle change which involves waking up earlier and completing my gym session in the morning. This allows me to concentrate on our business, and provides me time with my family in the evenings. If you can, try and shift your schedule and lifestyle, to give you that balance you need.
Have a support group that you trust
Juggling several things in life can become stressful. I recently experienced ‘burn out’, something that is hard to admit to. As someone who strives for the best continuously, I had set myself an expectation that I can do everything. It’s definitely not the case, and I strongly recommend that everyone look after their wellbeing, whether you are working or running your own business. Everyone’s wellbeing triggers are different. There is no shame to speak to your manager, family or friends about how you are feeling, or what is going on for you. Being burnt out from your job or work can affect you in many ways, and the people around you. When you openly speak up about things, the support group around you can provide you suggestions to help you cope and get back into the groove of things.
Our business HER has taken off like a shot in the last few months. We will be launching our new range in March, which has exceeded our initial expectations. Planning never stops for Eden & I, and while our new launch starts, we will be planning and forecasting on what our next product will be!
If you are ready to jump into a business, here are my top 5 tips to help get you started:
- Make sure you do research on your chosen product or service!
- Speak to people you know in the industry and outside of the industry
- Ask yourself the question – is it a product or service that is in high demand? Or does it have potential in the future market?
- Remember to look carefully at things on the financial side. Like job searching, you want to make sure your new business meets your financial requirements.
- Lastly, trust yourself and take the risk. Sometimes the answers you need will only be found once you start taking action.