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The psychological price of running a business

Only one post from me today, as I’m penning this post from China where I am right now, finalising our own label and working crazy hours. So it’s biz column day.

As a business owner you are many things: an employer, a leader, an innovator, you have a lot of weight on your shoulders. For me this has become only too apparent with an ever-expanding team and now a group of artisans and factories in the far east who are reliant upon us. It’s a hefty weight to carry around. I find myself thinking about it often, if I’m honest I find myself waking up in the small hours thinking about it! I try and go all superhuman and grow extra arms and eyes and legs and constantly try to work harder and longer to keep all the balls up in the air!

Whatever your craft, writer, designer, photographer when you work for yourself I don’t think there is ever a moment (at least not for me) when you put your feet up, pat yourself on the back and say well done me, look what I’ve accomplished. Evenings are rarely spent relaxing around the TV. Instead they are spent researching, designing, talking, strategizing, figuring out content for the blog, on and on it goes. This business that we have created is pretty full-on, and it’s continually being refined, tweaked and expanded. The weird thing is that all the amazing developments that have happened, books, licensing deals, lecturing – all truly amazing things that I never even dreamed of suddenly become part of the norm. Sometimes I need to pinch myself more often and think back to six years ago when none of this had ever happened!

What I’m trying to say in a really roundabout way is that as an entrepreneur, you don’t ever feel like you’re done. You never believe you’ve arrived. There always feels so much to do, so many new ideas constantly floating around my brain, other collaborations happening, and there’s a whole world out there to take over! Apparently most entrepreneurs feel this way, with 45% of us being all stressed and anxious most of the time.

Running a company will always be a crazy ride; there are no 9 to 5 hours, for one thing. There will always be great highs and real lows, but the thing about running your own biz is taking time to see it from another perspective. Taking some me-time helps to recalibrate, and you’ll come back with a fresh, more objective perspective. For me this is going to the gym, hiking with the 2 M’s over the weekend – whatever you need to do to get out from a business funk, do it. On Sundays I try to make that my one day a week when I don’t look at the phone or even talk about the business. This is hard as G and I are both involved in it, but otherwise it can make you exceedingly grumpy. Trust me! With a bit of a break like hiking, gardening, chilling, listening to jazz, cooking something delish – all this means that come Monday morning you are back at your desk ready, refreshed and wanting to push it further.

Read any stats and you will hear that business leaders work long hours, have poor diets (either eating too much or don’t eat enough), get cranky, have feelings of uncertainly, feel unprepared and often even under-qualified. So I guess with this post I wanted to reassure you that although it is tough (no kidding on that front!) and running a biz does take it’s toll, this is normal and you shouldn’t let that put you off.

The more delaying and pre-planning you do the longer you are putting it all off. Remember that we all start at the same place – at least most of us do – with no money, no clue, no network and no experience. The guys that do succeed are the guys that have gotten started in the first place. They’re not still talking about it, they are doing it!

Take the leap, go follow that dream and just remember to take that bit of me-time (she says working 6 days a week, 14 hours a day)!

For anyone starting our online retail class, I look forward to meeting you all next week. G is at the controls until I get back, so any questions – he is your man!

Check out the weekly biz column archives for more tips and business advice.

For retailers, start-ups and budding entrepreneurs, why not try our London Retail Class, or sign for our Online Retail Class?

This is our ultimate A-Z guide for anyone thinking of starting their own business, or looking to take the next step in building their retail empire.

Also if you’ve got a business or thinking of starting one up I’d would love to hear about any challenges, hurdles and successes you have faced. Basically, tell me your story so far! I’ll feature it across all our media channels to our international database to inspire, motivate and ignite others to follow their dreams too.

Email us at with the subject line #MyBizStory.




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