BY JESS JONES, SOAR COLLECTIVe & 2nd avenue events
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.