If you had asked me to write this piece during my first week of starting my new business I’d certainly have a different story.
We started with four team members in 2008, which as many of you may remember was the height of the recession, not great timing I have to admit. Our office was above a Blockbuster video shop, to get the office ready on time we painted the walls, cleaned the carpets and cleaned the windows – when you’re a business owner, you’re a jack of all trades.
I was enormously proud to be starting my own company along with my business partner. As many business owners will tell you, it’s all hands on deck during those early years and no job is ever too small. We made the brews, we hit the phones, we ran the sales briefings, we pitched new business, managed the IT; we definitely earned our stripes over those initial years.
Once the excitement of starting a new company subsides, reality really does hit home. You have a responsibility to everyone that you employ; they have bills to pay, mortgages to pay and families to feed, so you HAVE to make it work.
So now 8 years in, what would I say are the 5 reasons why starting a business was the best thing I’ve ever done?
Control & Freedom
Everything is totally within your control and you have the freedom to make decisions without the red tape. It’s a big responsibility.
Running your own business can be massively exciting especially during the early years as its new for everyone involved and no two days are ever the same. Although having the ability to be able to adapt and accept both success & failure are important.
Your decisions, good and bad, can make a massive impact on yourself, your employees and your clients. It’s important to remember that you don’t always get it right, you’re only human after all, but when you do, it’s the best feeling in the world, trust me.
You get the opportunity to work with lots of different people with different skills from different backgrounds and not to forget, you get the chance to create your own culture within the business. People & culture, I would say, are the two things that can make you succeed or fail in business, getting the combination right is massively important.
Building a brand and business you can be proud of
Finally, I would say the most rewarding part of starting your own business is being recognised as a brand that industry peers and even strangers have about. It makes you realise that all of your hard work really has paid off at the same time as being humble enough to remember you have to keep going to maintain success.
What advice would I give someone who’s just starting out?
Someone gave us a bit of advice when we first started, do everything with urgency. Honesty, I totally agree with that comment, operating with urgency but also efficiency is crucial when starting a business because you can turn into a busy fool very quickly.
Having a plan and working it, even when its going a bit crazy, is really important.
The Media Octopus/Insurance Octopus brands have grown from 4 team members in 2008 to over 100 in 2016, so not bad for a business that started in a recession. Exciting times are ahead and I’m really excited to see what we can achieve in the next 8 years.