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August 29, 2014

Risk

The mind is a wonderful thing. It’s also a complete liar that constantly tries to convince us not to take actions we know are good for us, and stops many great changes in our lives.

Scumbag mind.

Read the rest of this great post here, when you get the chance.

It’s time to tell you what I have been up to. The last few months have been very busy with great things, but also with the giant battle that is self-doubt. I wanted to talk about both things so that you might be better equipped should you ever have to make these kinds of choices.

For years, I have had the dream of owning my own brand. Last year, in September, I started turning this dream into tangible decisions that would lead to a place where I was equipped to follow this dream.

I saved cash to invest into the launch phase but started spending on product development, samples, design, branding and investigating ways to run a business from anywhere in the world.

Making sure the designs were 100% took a few months and samples, sizing and the like took another few months.

In the process of this, the normal doubts of could I run my own brand successfully, affording the same lifestyle I had become accustomed to, in a short period of time.

I forged on, moving from cycling apparel into designing my own t-shirts, caps, arm warmers and socks and worked on cash flows, branding scenarios and launch plans.

Again, the closer I came to pulling the plug on my current job, the more and more anxiety built up around the success of the new business.

In the end, about a month ago today, I pulled the plug and resigned from a job which paid me well, gave me lots of freedom and where I had the opportunity to work for years to come.

So why this bold move into the land of uncertainty?

Quoting from the article here on the mind:

First, the main principle: the mind wants comfort, and is afraid of discomfort and change. The mind is used to its comfort cocoon, and anytime we try to push beyond that comfort zone very far or for very long, the mind tries desperately to get back into the cocoon. At any cost, including our long-term health and happiness.

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I found this incredibly true and realised it was this push for comfort that kept me back.

Still, I fought off this ego pushback and resigned.

I was scared, for sure.

I had two weeks to organise the transition and handover, and then 2-3 weeks to get the new brand up and running.

Then the greatest gift came…

People were so excited and invested in me, as a person. I had no idea. They supported from all angles, from free coffees to down payments on kit that was not even released, that they had never even seen.

It reminded me that indeed, despite living outside of a traditional community, that I have my own community for sure.

Astounding and the freedom that came from that blew me away. Sure, I still have stress but its a different kind of stress.

Here are the bigger lessons I learned:

1. Be prepared. I had back up plans for my back up plans. I saved enough to cover me for 3 months with no income, and set up some consultancy work, unrelated to the new brand, that would cover me for the first 6 months, if I had no sales.

2. Research your market. I have gone super niche on the new brand, really high end clothing for athletic people. I don’t need to sell thousands of items of clothing in order for it to be a success, as the product is premium.

3. Be open. I had many conversations with my then fiancé, now wife, about the changes that would come and where I needed to adapt my lifestyle to make sure we were ok for the first few months. We are both involved in the business and the team effort was supremely exciting for both of us.

4. Talk, but don’t shout. I spoke with friends in the run-up to this, letting them know about what was coming, giving small hints and getting them to mentally invest in the brand months before it was available.

5. Breathe. It’s a big thing, and be aware of what you are feeling. Acknowledge the anxiety, but don’t let it sit in the back of your mind, gaining momentum. Mould it into a positive.

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Today, I am sitting at Eurobike in Friedrichshafen. I have come to meet suppliers and potential clients for the future. I decided to come a week ago. I flew through Dubai to save cash and am camping with a friend, eating at parties and abusing the press centre coffee. This has saved me a months worth of salary versus coming direct, staying in hotels and eating in restaurants.

Also, I love camping with a really good friend, love the hustle of meeting new people at parties we have gate crashed which turns into conversations of business. Never discount the hustle.

Risk is a funny thing – it’ll scare the living bejesus out of you, if you let it.

It’s not for everyone and there are ways for you to dip your toes or vicariously live through others’ risk.

3 Comments on “Risk

Dale
September 1, 2014 at 9:46 am

🙂

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Donovan
September 8, 2014 at 8:12 pm

Very nice write up, enjoyed the read ! Goodluck with the brand, you will rock it.

Reply
Wynand
September 23, 2014 at 12:46 pm

First time in a year that i’m visiting! And it’s been overdue.
First, congrats! And second, well done! Inspiring!

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