This is probably not your typical start-up success story but here goes….
I decided to start my first business in August 2016 following a career in Education which whilst I enjoyed it I found myself increasingly frustrated at the lack of autonomy I had. The organisation went into a period of restructure and redundancies, so the timing felt right to finally make the leap.
I had always wanted to start and run my own business but had never really had the opportunity or a good enough idea to make it happen.
Due to the changing education landscape at the time, particularly around apprenticeships the timing was ideal to offer an impartial service to both businesses and education providers to set up or improve apprenticeship programmes.
Initially I had no idea if I could really do it, if the business concept would work in a sustainable way. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The original concept grew rapidly, and the business evolved to offer many different services alongside an expanding team.
However, what inevitably comes with the kind of growth we experienced at such a rapid pace were growing pains. And we had several of them as the business grew and expanded.
During this time Steph and I had been going through fertility treatment in order to have our first child. Honestly, I think people around us thought we were crazy embarking on starting a new business and planning to have a baby at the same time, but for us it felt right.
No one prepares you for the emotions you will go through during this process and challenges you will face. We had faced 6 unsuccessful attempts of IUI and had to move onto IVF which still took two attempts until Steph finally fell pregnant with Sophia. This spanned a period of two years involving a lot of hard work, expense and by far the hardest emotional roller coaster we had ever been through as a couple. At times we had faced complete devastation and were almost ready to give up but knew we had to keep going to complete our family.
We have found this is all still very much a taboo subject that not many people talk about, exactly what is involved in going through fertility treatment and just how hard it is. And indeed the fact that we are both female, society just has no concept of what it is like to in effect be the “other woman” in this scenario and watch your wife endure a variety of procedures and all the emotion that goes with it. The feeling of sheer helplessness at times was unbearable, but it’s not about you.
When we finally found out that Steph was pregnant it was the most amazing feeling ever, having worked so hard – but we knew this part of our journey was only just beginning.
During this time Steph also joined me full time on the business and our lives felt like they were moving in the right direction.
Cutting a very long story short the original business I had started back in 2016 had grown to offer so many services that it was fraught with issues and a significant number of pretty big challenges to overcome.
Sophia was born on the 28th June 2018 and although people say this all the time you never really know until you experience it for yourself, but life as we knew it literally changed in an instant. The second we held our tiny Newborn baby in our arms we knew our lives had changed forever.
The birth of Sophia whilst the absolute happiest day of our lives completely changed my perspective on life and everything else in it. For that reason I knew business had to face some tough changes but I wasn’t quite sure what. Some of the challenges I was faced with at this time felt completely insurmountable.
I decided to make some drastic changes. I closed what was my original business, restructured our services, created a fresh new offer and devised a new brand ready to relaunch our second business which we are only just on the cusp of now!
The new business will launch formally during May of 2019 and will begin our new business journey, taking everything, we have learned to date and applying it for a second time creating sustained growth supporting our clients to improve their businesses.
We all as people and parents want to provide the best for our families and our children, and to do this we need to be the best possible version of ourselves we can be. That is what should motivate us in everything we do, I wasn’t always the best version of myself I could be in order to provide for my family, so something just had to change. And whilst by far one of the toughest periods of our lives it has allowed us to develop something better and more sustainable than before.
In the entrepreneurial world failures are not talked about nearly enough and we should share our experiences with each other more often as this is what fuels our learning to create better businesses. An entrepreneur’s journey is a period of iteration and learning which I think actually is quite aligned to parenthood – you dive in with both feet without a clue what you are doing but learn on the job and get there in your own way in the end.
I can honestly say I still feel like I have no idea what I am doing in business or as a parent but we are embracing the journey and loving every second of it. Sophia is the happiest and most hilarious baby either of us have ever seen and she certainly keeps us smiling and on our toes which is exactly what keeps us going every day no matter what happens.
We are excited to embrace our next chapter in business and parenthood and once again for us looks set to involve a new business and hopefully another new arrival as we plan to embark on the fertility journey once more towards the later part of the year.
Create Talent LTD will launch in May 2019 providing a suite of services to business and education providers designed to improve the quality of education, training and careers. We support businesses of all shapes and sizes to make use of apprenticeships whether they employ 1 or 100 and where appropriate create graduate schemes and access a variety of funding systems for training. We supply a whole range of digital training content from simple lesson packs to whole courses on our fully managed e-learning systems suitable for business or provider use. And we are even embarking on an exciting new software product that will change the process of funding audits in the education market place . So feel free to check us out on our website, follow us on social or get in touch for an informal chat.
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