As of 2016, I will no longer be found in this online space – this is going to be my last blog post here, Stir Up Media is closing.
The blog will stay for now, so please feel free use my previous advice/blogs, share it with your clients/followers/readers.
Why, You May Cry?
Ok, you probably won’t be crying, but I’ll be 100% honest and open about my experiences as a business owner – my heart hadn’t fully been in it for the past year, with it feeling worse by the day, so I have made the extremely tough decision that Stir Up Media will be coming to an end as of 2016.
My business was firstly created from various reasons, including various redundancies and being sick of not at least attempting to be my own boss – mixed with a terribly poisonous personal relationship of which drove me to want more than “my little lot” so I went for it as best I could. And for a good few years I really made it work, I got my name out there, I pulled the work in and enjoyed joining little teams/individuals/companies temporarily as we joined forces. I worked with some big brands, some smaller companies and some truly interesting individuals alike – I have had a BLAST.
It was tough – we hear it all the time, running your own business isn’t a piece of cake, etc etc.
When you’re a sole trader, you are not only doing the stuff you love, you are your own marketing department, accounting team, HR manager, secretary, etc etc… it’s exhausting (mentally & physically) and nobody is truly honest about their experiences – I literally didn’t switch off at any time of the day or night, my business was my everything, the cogs are a whirring a million miles an hour and I was starting to find it exhausting. You can only do so much yourself, and when you’re doing the work you are doing and then have to still switch over to marketing yourself to find your next clients (and money!) I was starting to panic – I had no life and it was beginning to take its toll.
I was starting to feel a little isolated in my home office, but when I was networking or chatting to other business owners, it felt as though I might be the only one who woke up wanting to cry every morning before I’d even switched my laptop on. I adore the work I’ve been doing, but it wasn’t enough towards Easter 2015 – I took a break and travelled for a bit to get some space and relax for a bit. This was the BEST decision I ever made, it helped me to stop, take stock of the situation and start to plan what I needed to do for a happier future.
Don’t get me wrong, everything else in my world has been (and continues to be) truly amazing, including a new relationship with a fantastically supportive man, but I wasn’t fully enjoying my free time with him due to not being able to switch off from my work at any time.
The Final Straw
This summer I went to one of many business networking events in Cambridgeshire, I saw many familiar faces and the same answer came to me every time I asked them how they were. The response?
“Business is booming / It’s my best financial year so far / Things are amazing, I couldn’t be busier”, blah blah blah.
I was chuffed for every single one of my business friends, but I came away feeling stupidly depressed. I cried, I was upset at the thought that I was the only business owner in town not to be joining them in their positivity. It was the last straw for me, I mentioned it to my own local small business support group and the consensus was that everybody is struggling, but everyone puts up a “front” – that’s fine, but it’s all smoke and mirrors to me, I didn’t like it. I kept questioning my own business, my attitude towards business (I have never been more passionate about anything, but it just wasn’t working financially for me) – I kept asking myself what I was doing wrong.
Why don’t more people share the negative? It’s something that stuck with me for a few months after, I still felt very much alone and it was the final straw for me – I decided that I had given it my best shot, the “social media world” is a cut throat one, so many “gurus” out there, a lot of bitchy comments and sneaking around behind peoples’ back, I had had enough.
I don’t have one regret – I have loved every minute, but now is the time for me to move on to the next challenge in my life. It has actually been a really hard decision to make, I didn’t want to “give up” – but it was the right decision for me to let it go.
There was no immediate rush to find my next challenge, but with my truly supportive boyfriend working in the careers service at the time, this summer he sent me an email with an advert for a Social Media Co-Ordinator role for a travel company in Newmarket. I didn’t think I would have a chance in hell, but, I went for the interview, I got on with my interviewers like a house on fire and they hired me to help them with a very juicy and exciting project for various departments within their organisation.
For the past few months I’ve been very quiet on my own social media network, this is the reason why, I’ve gone back to full time employment and I’m LOVING EVERY MINUTE of it, I couldn’t have stumbled upon a better team or company to work for, it’s the best fit I’ve ever made.
A “normal” day entails creating social media content and maintaining the running of over 37 individual Facebook pages, along with Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest accounts for them – to say I’m busy is an understatement… I’m in my element!
My team are like an extension of my family, it’s always a worry moving into a new job, not knowing who you are going to be working with, but it’s honestly a dream come true – these guys are fricking awesome. On my first week, one of the girls hosted a pizza party for all 18 team members within our “creative studio” so that I could get to know everyone. We socialise, talk about cats & superheroes far too much, swap What’s App messages & Snapchats at a rate of knots when we miss each other at the weekend, enjoy lunchtime coffees (even a spot of afternoon tea or Geocaching for the geeks in some of us!) and they have a similar love of food as me… when I say similar, I think they actually love food more than I do, just shocking haha.
We work well together, we talk all day, we know what’s going on day to day, we adore our boss and management team, it’s how a good team should be – I have to pinch myself that I finally found this job!
Most importantly, I’m able to switch off at night when I get home, I don’t wake up in the middle of the night sweating or teary, I have a steady income and I have never been happier – I’m about to spend a second Christmas with the man I truly love and I can finally see a future – I just couldn’t see it before.
For me, this is the best decision and one that I stated I would never make whilst I was self employed – for the past few years I’ve sworn I could never go back to “full time employment”, but it’s changed my life around drastically, I’m a different person – in the most positive way possible.
My Best Advice?
Owning a business isn’t for everyone and that’s ok – I wish I had been told this, given some advice in some way when I struggled with this issue myself.
Everyone tells you that it’s the best thing you could ever do, but it’s fine if it doesn’t suit you – it happens and you can be proud knowing you at least tried.
Following your instincts and going with it really works – you never know what’s behind a door, so be open, say yes as much as you can, but don’t stress if things don’t work out, there’s always another door to peek behind!
This experience has helped me to learn a heck of a lot and it’s not to say that I wouldn’t try it again with another idea, but right now, it’s just not for me.
What I really can take away from my experiences with Stir Up Media is that I’m actually truly proud of myself – I made it work, but couldn’t commit to continuing to do so.
If I can inspire just one person who is going through a similar experience, then I’m happy I shared this post with you.
I want to take the time to thank each and every person who has crossed my path through Stir Up Media over the past few years, I’ve met so many amazing / intriguing / challenging / interesting clients and contacts – it has been amazing to get to know every single one of you and I can’t thank you enough for your friendship, business or support!
My personal blog will still be running at www.MissSueFlay.com – this is still a huge passion of mine and that’s going nowhere, so do follow me through my blog & social media channels there!
And if you need social media support yourself, I’d highly recommend the services of Hayley Williams at Keystone Marketing – more info here.
Over To You…
Have you experienced similar experiences or feelings?
Does the future scare you?
Are you uncertain about your own business/ideas?
Do you feel completely different to me?
I’d of course be keen to hear from you in a comment below…
“Do not fear to lose what needs to be lost” – Sue Monk Kidd