I’ve been freelancing around my day job basically since I graduated from public relations many (many!) years ago. I always wanted to start my own business as a writer, designer and publisher but was worried about having enough clients, paying the bills etc. But the birth of my first child gave me the courage to go for it…sort of! I bought a publishing business so I would have instant cash flow.
I continued to freelance in communications and writing just to get used to this new giant baby I had purchased. I inherited some problems with the business, which had been run down while in the sales process, but set to work building and growing. I was plunged in at the deep end. There was old staff to manage, new staff to find, payroll to understand, systems to evaluate and new client relationships to develop. Long hours were fine, I loved it – both the work I was doing and being my own boss. Eventually I grew the business enough to focus on it exclusively, and to launch a new consumer magazine. It was a huge chunk of money to invest in a new product but the business was ready and the market was ready. Taking risks is important for business growth.
That’s when my worst fear happened. A change in state government meant the sponsorship our main publication relied on instantly ceased. No warning given. Our cash flow from the magazine launch was still non existent. We were, effectively overnight, insolvent. I worked frantically to find a solution. I spoke to everyone I could – MPs, mentors, accountants, family and friends. The stress was so much that I spent Mother’s Day in hospital with chest pains and palpitations. When my husband and kids came to pick me up, I looked at my family – my 4 year old son just starting to experience the world and my not yet one year old daughter, and it made me consider what I was doing all this for!
I had wanted to spend quality time with them. I couldn’t do that if I was highly stressed. With the business I had wanted to do something I could be proud of, that stretched me professionally. I had done that. But it was no longer viable. I had to rethink.
So I am freelancing again. It’s small scale, just me. It’s using all the things I have learnt and loved about my work. The cash flow isn’t consistent but with the ideas and skills I have learned, it will be. If nothing else, I was forced to become an expert in sustainable business models! The experience I gained managing a company has been tremendous. It helps me understand the pressures my clients are under, the need for bottom line results and working with top people.
Running a company was the most expensive university ever! But also the best. And while it will be many years until we recover financially from the loss, we have gained so much more. I was tested and challenged in every way in that business and it gave me an understanding of my strengths and abilities I would never have otherwise had. And I no longer fear the challenges of business and money – if you love it, just do it, and absorb all it has to teach you.
A little bit about if creative:
if creative engages your audiences. We help you celebrate and understand those big moments in your life and business, with storytelling, design and publications, research, communication campaigns and change planning. Work includes the news site the local experience helping to create strong local areas, event planning and creating interactive online and print guides.
Alchemist’s grove make a range of gorgeous handmade natural soaps, made in small batches using all natural colours and essential oils which are very gentle to use. All the soap is palm oil free and packaged in 100% biodegradable packing.
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Alchemist’s grove is giving away 4 of their beautiful artisian handmade soaps of your choice. Total prize value is $32.25.
To win, leave a comment below by Saturday 11 May 2013, on an inspirational Mum in business you know.
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