My father had an expression for when mum was pulling her hair out, fed up with the drudge of raising four young children or when one of us was struggling with exams or a broken heart. He'd say “You’re not Robinson Crusoe”. It became one of those well worn expressions that I didn’t really give much thought to at the time but had a vague sense that Dad was trying to be comforting, telling us that we weren’t the only person experiencing whatever difficulties we were going through. We weren’t castaways like Robinson Crusoe, alone on an island.
Dad's words popped into my head again as I read Emily Kerrigan’s article in this month’s Olive Magazine about six people (including me) who have changed careers and started up food related businesses.
Before the interview, we were all asked to think of five things that we wished someone had told us before we started our businesses- what we’d learned, mistakes we’d made along the way. I was the last person Emily interviewed and as we spoke she commented on the fact that there were many similarities in what we had each told her: be patient and remain positive through the times when business is slow; be prepared to be flexible and adapt if things don’t work; trust your instincts and keep faith in what you are doing; and learn from the mistakes you make.
Last night as I read through the stories in the article I felt incredibly comforted that, even though I didn't know it at the time, I had not been alone. While I was getting Lantana started, there were many others experiencing the same doubts, frustrations, long hours, and highs and lows that I was.
So I’m adding one more piece of advice to anyone who is starting up their own business:
Don't feel that you are going through this alone. You're not Robinson Crusoe.