A lot of people see and hear about business success they think the success they’ve achieved is linear. That the person behind the success either had superior intelligence or was fortunate to be at the right place at the right time.
And that’s simply not true.
I can only speak from personal experience but achieving business success was anything but a straight line to the finish. I went through periods of hardship and met obstacles of all shapes and sizes along the way.
What was a consistent theme across all this was my ability to turn my hardships into opportunities. Seeing negative situations in a positive light and being able to turn things around was something that I wasn’t necessarily born nor do they teach you this in school. I had to learn and endeavour to persist with getting through these rough patches to enjoy the good times.
Enter hardship #1
Before starting Box Advisory Services, I was working in a Chartered Accounting role. I had been with the same firm for several years and was making great in-roads with my work. I was putting in a lot of hours and always made sure I was giving maximum effort.
One weekend, I was asked to come into the office to help with some renovations and moving around a few things in the office.
Somehow, I had inconspicuously torn a tendon in my hand that would lay me off for a month.
I was devastated.
After receiving surgery to repair the ligament, I spent a lot of time at home resting – unable to be productive. What was the kicker was that had I been able to work to my full potential and complete the work by the deadlines that were set, I would have been up for a promotion.
Being someone who’s super ambitious and unable to sit still, I found myself in a pretty poor headspace.
After spending a week or two feeling sorry for myself, I realised that rather than playing victim to my own story in my head, I’d use this spare time to capitalise on a project.
This is when MachCo store was born – my first ever business venture.
MachCo store was an e-commerce business that sold a hodge-podge of different merchandise ranging from polaroid films to onesies to stationery.
The business was a hit! Orders were streaming in and not only had my hand healed after a month, but I also had to get family members on board to help out with all of the processing and packing of orders.
Enter hardship #2
Three years ago, I badly injured myself after landing awkwardly taking a shot in a friendly game of basketball. Turns out I’m pretty good at seriously injuring myself.
I broke my ankle.
This time, it wasn’t just one month, it was six months.
I felt sorry for myself for about a week. After a week and not sure what to do with my time, I decided to channel all this unspent energy towards building out my dream accounting business.
Notice the trend?
That’s how Box Advisory Services was born.
Three years on, we’ve got four full-time staff and some part-timers. The business is growing in leaps and bounds and we’re starting to grow a great reputation amongst the small business and contractor community with the work we’ve done for them.
Right Place at the Right Time
After running Box Advisory Services for a year and seeing some great (albeit slow) success, I received a call from my former boss.
He noticed what I was doing and wanted me back at the firm and offered me a handsome pay-rise from what I was previously on. But, I was enjoying running my own business too much and politely declined.
Not taking no for an answer, he instead offered to invest into Box Advisory Services for a significant amount (I’ve never been offered anywhere remotely close to this!) and on top of that, offered to pay me a wage if he was given a stake in the business.
This was a huge moment for me and put me at a business crossroad.
On one hand, this told me that I was clearly on the right track and was validated by people who I respected in the industry. On the other hand, did I want to be giving up equity in my business?
Needless to say, It was a difficult decision. But, it didn’t take me long to come to a decision.
I spent the night wide awake not necessarily pondering about whether or not I would accept his offer, but what I needed to grow the business to ensure that I wouldn’t regret knocking back this offer.
I wanted full ownership of my own business and be proud of something that I created myself from start to finish.
Whilst you’d hardly call this a type of hardship, this can really be a stressful situation for a lot of people. Instead, I used this investment offer as fuel for motivation to ensure that achieve the results I need to validate my decision.
As I said at the beginning, success isn’t linear.
I chose to see things as a glass-half-full situation and this was an opportunity rather than an obstacle. By chipping away at the situation, you may not see immediate overnight success, but eventually, if you turn up every day then you can almost certainly bet that things will get easier.
So, the next time you find yourself in a pickle, ask yourself this – where do opportunities lie within my hardships? Because you never know, this might be your next big chance to create your own success story.
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