Carla slumped into the chair at the end of a miserable day and looked despondently into her mirror. Her unique make up offer (Stickless Lipstick) was looking distinctly unimpressive: sales had slumped, her website designer had started to resemble the Jurassic Park Fat Controller and her overseas supplier had clearly decided to up sticks and move to the Himalayas for all the communication skills he was demonstrating. She wondered, not for the first time this week, this month or indeed this year, whether this new business start up business was all it was cracked up to be.
But this is all in a day’s work for the aspiring entrepreneur. There will be many days when sales suck, profits revert to losses and your products look pathetic. There’ll be days when the cliches fly thick and fast as you attempt to hold onto any motivational cliché you can summon up at two in the morning when the kids aren’t sleeping, your partner’s out boozing and the cash flow is freezing before your very eyes. ‘Dream It Large‘; ‘No Sleep Till Christmas; ‘Pull Out Your Hair Until Your Head Bleeds‘: will all come flooding into your consciousness and add to your general feelings of inadequacy and defeat.
But this is all fine and should be welcomed by the aspiring entrepreneur because after all, you’re allowed to have bad days: very bad days in fact. You’re allowed to feel a failure and not step up to other people’s plates and you’re allowed to disappoint as many people as you can before breakfast. Building your business is not about pleasing others but looking at yourself in that mirror and accepting yourself, warts, beauty spots and peculiar skin blemishes and all.
After a long days night of trawling around the internet, Carla subsequently found her own source of aspirational aphorisms to slow her to sleep and face the next day with renewed vigour and purpose in the form of Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies.
‘Imagine a caterpillar moving‘ rekindled her internal locus of control; ‘Repetition is a form of change’ was a comforting reassurance that even the biggest thinkers of the era aka Albert Einstein can sometimes get it disastrously wrong; ‘Pay attention to distractions’ allowed her to stop obsessing with the orthodoxy that expects obsession: and ‘Disconnect from Desire’ jolted her into remembering that having a desire for your business is one thing but that sometimes desire can get in the way of allowing things to happen of their own volition.
Carla’s current fave track is Pharell’s HAPPY: an infectious incitement to keep your spirits up: but sometimes it’s OK to realise that there are very good reasons to be miserable about the state of your business. It won’t be the end of the world and it won’t be the end of your business, or indeed your life.