Every proud parent looks at their child on their birthday and thinks: “Wow! Where did those years go?”
Which is how I felt this morning.
Back in 2011 I knew a few things about business start-ups, most of it horribly daunting. For instance, that 90% fail in their first year. That if I could stay in business for three years, I had a good chance of making a go of it. Also, that it takes on average three years to turn a profit (I took longer, as it goes).
Fortunately, I only found out those things after I’d left my last salaried role, set up my laptop in my son’s recently vacated bedroom and sketched out an idea for a logo.
As a ‘heart-led’ rather than ‘head-led’ decision maker, I’ve made more mistakes than I can count over these past 10 years. That includes jumping headlong into running a business before I’d worked out how to do it. Why did I do that? Well, I was 100% confident in my abilities to deliver for my clients; I just never really thought through who was going to take me on, and how they would find me. (Some of you will be nodding at the familiarity of that, others will be contorting your face in horror!).
And yet, here we are in 2021, having flexed and pivoted yet again in these pandemic times, with a backstory of clients I have loved working with (and mostly still do), exciting work, new clients, ideas in the pipeline and a work/life balance that feels pretty much spot on.
Winnthinking is never going to be a fast-growth, thought-leading, ruthlessly efficient promotional machine, because those things aren’t what floats my boat these days. In truth they never did, though in business one isn’t supposed to say that.
I no longer attend breakfast networking at silly-o’clock. I’m not moving into Instagram and TikTok. I don’t beat myself up for not making 10 prospecting calls per day.
Instead, I’m giving my time and energy to the clients and projects that bring me joy and bring them tangible change for the better. They come to me through word of mouth and slow relationship building. They tend to be looking for a longer-term learning partner who can be flexible and light-on-their-feet. They tell me they enjoy and are refreshed by what I bring.
So, what is Winnthinking today?
If businesses were trees, Winnthinking would be a Bonsai. Small, portable, versatile, at home in the niche space, perfect for trimming to the unique shape you, the client, needs it to be.
Other trees may grow faster, cast more shade and suck up more moisture. Sometimes you need broad, spreading branches for everyone to sit under. But if the one-size-fits-all approach didn’t work, if the tickbox wasn’t ticked, if the change you needed didn’t happen – small can be truly beautiful.
Thank you to every wonderful individual and organisation who has been part of this journey so far. You’re the reason for it all. What shall we do next?