Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Robinson Crusoe

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.

18 comments:

James B said...

What a great saying with a real meaning.

Anonymous said...

I just read the article in Olive - fantastic! You must be very proud of yourself.

Jane said...

Congrats Shels! Love the picture of you at Lantana!

sameer said...

yeah lovely picture!

and thank you for the post too. mathew and i have found restaurant owners probably the best help and support out there as we finish 2 months at mooli's.

we will come and get a coffee just like old times soon!

sam

mathew said...

thanks Shelagh! Robinson Crusoe had ok weather tho.

Shelagh Ryan said...

and beaches. Lucky buggar.

Liska said...

I just read the article and can't wait to visit London and Lantana Cafe. Happy New Year and all the best to you :)

Chew said...

Gorgeous pic. Nice one lady!

Shelagh Ryan said...

Thanks Chew. Lovely to see you and Jasmine the other day. Very impressed by your formidable blogging start to the year. Here's to keeping it regular in 2010.

cry said...

路過~很有趣吶...........................................

Jess said...

Congratulations and thank you for the words of wisdom :)

Jess from wheneverythingelseisaufait.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your Olive article!

I just have to say, as much as I rely on Lantana for decent coffee on the north side of central London, sometimes I really wish I didn't have to. Your staff take customers for granted and can be rude, pushy and SLOW. I waited 20 mins to get my menu, 10 extra mins to get my order taken, then food 15 mins later. This incident was not a one off, there are particular staff members that need a reality check.

I'm sorry to describe negatives of what is decent food* and lovely coffee experience, though a good cafe is more than that. Sort the staff out- one can take orders, one cleans tables etc.

* Hopefully it's surely time for some new food options?

Shelagh Ryan said...

Dear anonymous of 25 January,

Obviously I am extremely disappointed to read your observations of the staff, particularly when I said how brilliant they are. I would really appreciate it if you could contact me directly on shelagh.ryan@gmail.com.

Regards,

Shelagh

663 said...

加油啦!要繼續發表好文章喔! ..................................................

Anonymous said...

Hi Shelagh

Thanks for your email address though i'd rather just leave my comments as is. I perhaps think you've had a word in your staff's ear's, as last time I was in, massive difference!

Thanks

s said...

Fantastic and has inspiring. I have just set up a business (Indian cookery classes and have also started blogging (mainly images of dishes I have made with some recipes also available. Seeing your words has reminded me that its not just me! I'll def continue to read his blog - hope to visit your Latana next time I'm in London!

www.absoluteindiancookeryclasses.com

http://www.absoluteindiancookeryclasses.com/Blog%282044470%29.htm

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