On the 23rd of February 2008,I choose to start this blog. I started with the post “An End is just a new beginning” which in some respects laid out where I was at in terms of business and career, at the time and into the future.
Reading back over that post I can see things were about as clear as mud, to put it plainly. I knew where I was but that was about all I knew. This blog was in some ways the avenue that I was going to choose to explore that, however at this point in time I do not honestly believe I have achieved that at all. In fact this blog has probably only confused me more in what I am looking for than anything else.
If you read back through the posts on this blog what you will likely find is a fairly mixed bag of posts that are mostly focused on problems that are not so much personal problems. The topics discussed are about business, and personal development, but to much in an abstract way.
The other issue that I feel is present was not so much working on the the present I was facing, or even the future, but spending to much time in the past. For example the peak and ultimately the majority of what I personally experienced in business all occurred before I started this blog. So a majority of what I have discussed in business on this blog does not follow me exploring different avenues, but exploring just one the past, which doesn’t really help anyone to a great degree I do not believe.
All this means that maybe I am not really approaching what I set out to achieve with this blog. I am busy writing posts for the blog without really looking at whether they meet any criteria. If they are even relevant to personally developing and exploring my own growth.
The peak of my business life was really between 2004 and 2006. These three years and really a year either side of this period taught me a lot about what it takes to be in business. A number of these lessons eventually formed part of this blog, while another group has left fairly definite mindset in regards to business.
This business was for at least two years a six figure business. At this point there are a few lessons you need to learn, which luckily for me some of which came naturally. It just seemed like common sense to me that you needed to manage your cash flow, to get customers paying quickly and wait to the extent of your terms of credit to pay your suppliers.
Some of the lessons I found more challenging to take on board, or maybe it was that I was just choosing to ignore them. For example when you are turning over six figures without any marketing you can get a little complacent about this, and rather then making an effort to market the business, I let this area slide. This lesson really hits home in the decline of sales, leading to eventually a non performing business.
Ironically this business also helped me greatly in seeing what area’s I liked to work and which I didn’t. For example the business was primarily focused on Computers and Technology, and it become fairly apparent to me that this was not an area of business that I wanted to be working in. While I think competition is good, I found it to be quite taxing on the return I would get from the time invested. Rather then spending an hour doing a quote, I would be spending 4 hours doing a quote, checking all the suppliers for the best prices while also needing to check competitors to ensure I was pricing within the right ballpark. Not to be the cheapest but to be competitive, and remain the easier option for my clients who would be checking prices at these competitors.
Ultimately I learned a lesson, one which I never got to finish implementing myself, mostly due to lack of interest in this particular industry. However it is a valuable lesson I believe for anyone in business. Customers who buy based on price alone, should not be ignored but at the same time, should not have a lot of time dedicated to them. You should focus your marketing on customers with a interest in the whole package, SERVICE, KNOWLEDGE & price. Click through for more on this.
A career, is the one thing almost everyone comes out of school believing they want. Ten years ago when I made the move from School to working, this is what I believed I wanted. However I believe it should happen quickly. That once I proved myself in one role I should move onto something better. Unfortunately there are only a handful of companies that work that way, and more often then not, you need to really be in outstanding to move very fast at all.
It was not until the most recent job that I held that I found my way to moving forward slightly quicker, however I still found it slow. In my very first job, I was employed to build computers. It did not take long for me to realize two things about this job. The first was that I was very good it, the second it is very boring. So it was not long before I was looking for ways to move on and up. However in a small company there are few if any opportunities. Leaving this a fairly short lived job.
My next job left me really in the same place. Working in a warehouse, turned out with the same two realizations. Although at this time the company I was working for was much bigger. However still did not offer really the opportunities to move up that I was looking for. Again ultimately ending in me leaving the company, at which time I took my steps into my own business as I already discussed.
Finally as the business was in decline I made the move into my third job. I actually found something that was a bit more interesting. Working in retail, this time selling computers. With the interest and the enthusiasm I brought to this job, it was not long before I took one step up. However this step also was the step that brought my happiness in this job undone. It was this time I learnt a really important lesson about working in a job, you have no control over how you progress, you can do the best job, and if your manager does not like you, you are not going anywhere. Which left me stuck in a job without any possibility of a sideways or any other sort of movement, and again resulted in me leaving the job.
Finally I found what was to be my longest held job. It was easy enough, and did not take long to offer me some challenges. The best bit was I looked to progress quickly through a number of different area’s, just what i wanted. At least until I found the ceiling, you can progress as fast as you like through the ranks but if you reach a spot where there are already established people and they are not going anywhere you don’t move up. So at least I end up with the opportunity to move sideways. But if you want to move up, even a sideways movement will not keep you happy for long. But this lead to my latest realization….
I realized the future should be an open diary full of blank pages to fill with experiences. Not a play book, full of what to do next, your potential career path, or really any other pre determined path. Which as a realization ultimately lead to me resign another job. However where previously upon leaving a job the first thought (with one exception when i went into business for myself) was looking for another job. As it stands I see it being quite a long time, if ever before I consider actually looking for any apply for another job.
I am now holding my diary for the future, full of dates, all but blank. Ready to fill it with the potential for whatever life may bring, whether that is my own business, travel, freelance work, or the open possibility of whatever opportunity may present itself. I am free to pursue whatever my life encounters.