BY JESS JONES, SOAR COLLECTIVe & 2nd avenue events

‘All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.’
— Walt Disney

At the beginning of 2004 I was on a tram on Collins Street Melbourne, heading home after a long day at work.  I was the manager of a Boost Juice store and living with housemates in Fitzroy North.  The lengths of my shifts were dependent on how busy we were and if staff had called in sick.  I was 22 years old and spent my weekends having a lot of fun.  Working at Boost was also a lot of fun and attracted a great variety of young, energetic people who were mostly a dream to work with. 

Except this day I remember feeling tired and weary and suddenly realised the routine of my life, which was admittedly pretty normal for my age.  Work; earn money, pay rent and party with whatever was left over, to the point where I was usually living pay to pay.  I’d complain this was due to being paid fortnightly but who was I kidding…clearly it was the lifestyle I was living. 

So here I was on the tram and thought ‘what am I doing?  What’s the point of all this?’  So out came pen and paper and I started scribbling, and I haven’t stopped.  My first notebook consists of ideas and quotes, seminars I’d attended and business resources (not many back then).  My entrepreneurial journey had begun. 

On page 1 of my first notebook, I list the pros and cons or buying or leasing a commercial property in Melbourne and setting up my own café.  Yep.  With all of my money.  Page 2, I write about an business idea for a portable bar in just 4 easy steps:

1.     Get bar fridge measurements

2.     Get Chris (friend at the time) to build a prototype

3.     BUSINESS PLAN (yes, written in capitals)

4.     Find funds!

So easy.  By the 3rd page, I’m writing about buying 50% of the Boost Juice business from its current owners and contemplating ‘would this mean they become silent partners?’.  Oh and another pros on cons list of course!

A common thread over the last decade of my notebooks that is still repeated now is to identify your weaknesses and find people to fill those gaps.  Back then; I clearly thought I could do it all.  And even now, I still try.  ‘Keep those balls in the air Jess!’  And I admit, I actually LOVE and embrace the juggle.  But when it comes to the areas I stink at (anything to do with numbers and my brain goes AWOL), I need to constantly remind myself to ask for help. 

I can hear you say ‘but I can’t afford to pay someone to do (insert misery inducing task here)’ and I’m not at all suggesting you have to.  But take a look at your family and friends.  Is there someone you know who’s great with numbers/marketing/ideas/talking on the phone?  I added that last one because I have a bit of a phone phobia, but more on that in a later post.  Most family and friends would jump at the chance to chip in and help.  Even if it’s just for advice on how to tackle something a better way than what you’re doing now. 

I’ve seen many successful business owners speak over the years and they all had a common message – seek help where and when you need it.  You can’t be good at everything and you shouldn’t want to be (and this is coming from a highly competitive person!).  Let go of the tasks which suck the life out of you and focus on what you’re good at and what you love doing.  Set yourself free. 

Jess x

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