Basic Business Lessons – 30 Years In The Making
This feels like quite a landmark for me. I am turning 30 and the business “Lucky 6 Marketing Limited” is turning four. However, many of you may not know that I have in fact been the manager of a limited company for nearly six years!
As I approach the age of halfway to 60 I have found myself thinking about times past. It has been one hell of a ride and I have been very lucky. So with these thoughts, I am writing to share six key lessons I have learnt from over six years of being in business.
Plastic Tree Records
I was writing a 15,000 word report on the physics of microphone placement while also working on the university record label Plastic Tree Records. We were young, we were ambitious and we didn’t care.
Plastic Tree Records was a side project, what is commonly known as an Extra Curricular Activity. Our team totalled about seven members all from different creative courses. We balanced this project with dissertations and a very busy university workload. We all did it for the love of music. We did it because it was cool… very cool.
In just a standard university year of 10 months, we manage to record and press a few hundred EPs and organise three sell-out gigs. It was loads of fun and hanging out with the team from Plastic Tree Records was just fantastic. This leads us to the first two lessons:
- A good team is crucial. Every member must be exceptional, share the dream, be focused and pull in the same direction. Achieving this will lead to success.
- Focus is not optional. You must be as focused as a laser cutting metal. With focus obstacles such as time, money and external factors will be overcome. I saw this many times with the team at Plastic Tree Records and many times since.
Lucky 6 is born
Two years later I had just split up from the rock band I had managed for the past year. It felt like I had split up with the girl of my dreams. Up to that point, it was my life, my entire existence and a huge amount of fun. But I had chosen to leave.
I was only eating four days a week as I could not afford food. I was working part-time in a local warehouse and in between shifts rehearsing, booking gigs, managing their social media, managing their money, recording tracks, gigging and any other job that needed doing. This is not how I pictured my life.
I was not an easy existence, although at times a huge amount of fun I could not see a positive future for myself. Upon splitting up from the band I knew only one thing. I wanted my own business. At that time I did not even know the basics. I had no idea what a limited company was or how it was different from a sole trader. However, I knew a limited company was a business and that is what I wanted.
In pure ignorance and self-assured arrogance I set up a limited company. I did it online and it only cost £25. Dead easy! However, even though this was a mistake I knew it and did it anyway. I knew I was jumping into the deep end but I also knew this is what I had to do. I had to find out the hands-on way. Out of a mistake, my adventure began. This leads us to the next two lessons.
- Know what you want. If you know where you want to get then all you have to do is work out the journey to get there. If you don’t know where you want to go you will end up on a journey but you will most likely go in circles and not actually getting anywhere.
- Educate yourself. When I jumped head first into being a business owner I started to read a lot about the subject. This proved invaluable. Read, read again and read some more!
Unlucky events leading to the best Luck!
Two more years later my first business was failing. I had clients, in fact, I had clients from around the world but I could not make enough money to cover my time. Again I was only eating half the week and life was very hard. Little did I know it was about to get harder.
One evening I stood up from my bed and my knee dislocated. A quick trip to the hospital revealed damage that meant a month off work. At this point, I was still working at the warehouse to fund my business and no overtime for me meant no money at all. Now I was looking at a month of no food.
Luckily in this time of need friends and family came to my aid. They made it very clear to me that all the help I wanted was available and this was not the end of the world. Soon after my accident, I split up with my girlfriend of three years. It seemed everything was falling to bits. I also started to question my business, then called Lucky 6 Music Mix.
An idea from many years ago kept hijacking my thoughts. Social media management. The idea had first come to me in 2006 when working on the Plastic Tree Records project. We had managed their social media and that of the bands we represented. Since that time I had managed the social media for the rock band I managed and then my first limited company. Why not offer this service to other businesses?
At this key point in my life, I became closer to a good friend of mine. Terri Juniper. She had been my confidant for the past four years and now we became more than friends. In fact, we started dating, or courting if you like. Business wise I had two choices. Close down the company or carry on but with the new idea. Of course, I chose the latter. Lucky 6 stayed but it became marketing. The rest you probably already know. This brings us onto the final two lessons and probably the most important.
- Luck does not just happen, you create it. Luck is not just chance. It’s not just one or the other. Your actions, choices and outlook on life will determine your luck. So stay positive, connect with like-minded people and dare to follow your dreams.
- Never give up! When your knee drops off never give up. When you are hungry because you cannot afford food never give up. When you leave the love of your life never give up. When everyone around you tells you to get a job never give up and most of all when you doubt yourself and question your path keep going.
This is the wisdom I feel I have accumulated over the past six years. Here is to the next six years of Lucky 6 and the next 30 for me. Thank you for reading this far and not giving up on this blog. I predict good things for you.