In a previous article, I discussed how I came to start Eternal Collection, my costume jewellery company, based in the U.K. Looking back, it is amazing how the evolution of Eternal Collection was influenced by – and influenced – almost every aspect of my life. It has been an amazing journey!
When I talk with other women about my time with Eternal Collection, they often ask me what I learned from the experience. So, to help the other women in the Sixty and Me community, who may be thinking about starting their own business, I thought that it would be useful to share some key learnings here. I hope that you find them useful as you pursue your own dreams!
First and foremost I’ve learned that sometimes in life you have to forego your own plans to help someone else. I was apprehensive of my mother coming to live with me, as there had been years in my younger days when our relationship had soured.
In changing our course in life to accommodate Mum I’ve learned far more than I ever would have in my old life. Setting up our own business has given me a confidence I didn’t previously have. I now know exactly what our customers like, I manage third party manufacturing, finance, advertising, buying finished jewellery and components. I’ve come to grips with graphics software, repro, catalogue publishing and have a plethora of knowledge I lacked prior to setting up Eternal Collection. Trust me. Nothing will keep your brain sharper as you age than running your own business!
I relish seeing the business as a whole entity, not just understanding the one or two facets of a business that being employed gave me.
I’ve learned to do whatever my instinct tells me is the right thing to do and when I’ve made mistakes I’ve learned from them. Mistakes are good sometimes – they remind you that you are not infallible and will make you question yourself.
The key is not to allow mistakes to knock your confidence, but learn from them, analyse where you went wrong and then pick yourself up and carry on with the added insight that mistake has given you.
I firmly believe in treating people as you would wish to be treated and I’ve always applied that belief in our business. Yes I’ve had my fingers burned a couple of times, but the relationship I have built with our suppliers is based on that belief and has paid off time and time again and many of our suppliers will do things for me that they wouldn’t dream of doing for other clients.
I have learned that little is insurmountable if I remain determined and sure of my own convictions and most of all – I never, ever give up.
What kind of business would you start if you knew that you couldn’t fail? Have you, or anyone that you know, started a business in their 40s, 50s or 60s? Why do you think that there is a stereotype that older entrepreneurs are less successful than their younger counterparts? Please join the conversation
Tags Small Business