2 July 2019
Taking a leap of faith and starting your own business makes you grow up real fast. Think of those unexpected grey hairs as a 20-something when you’re already struggling to adjust from Tequila Tuesdays to Tax Tuesdays as ‘earning your stripes’.
The juxtaposition of the solidarity of being your own boss and the split-personality mania of wearing so many hats also forces some self-reflection and many young business owners find themselves become much more responsible, empathetic and self-aware.
Yes, there certainly is a lot of growth that happens as a young business owner, but even more so as an older first-time business owner. Growth in terms of understanding new technologies that you otherwise may have avoided, an aptitude for apps when your previous experience with mobiles was ‘for emergencies only’, or a reinvigoration to your mind that new intellectual challenges allow you to explore.
Much like a school, a sharehouse or travel tour abroad, there is always a context where significant growth periods in our life occur. Think of co-working spaces as a safe place from the rat race, one where you can go to figure out how your new life journey combining your passion and purpose can flow into a sustainable income… without also having to worry about paying the electricity, buying the milk, calibrating the wifi or ensuring your chair is ergonomically sound for the long hours that will be spent procrastinating from upon it.
A co-working space is something of a haven, with other slightly dishevelled and sometimes panicked comrades that can give you a knowing nod of encouragement and reassure you that you’re not the only one doing a tough stint in the mental growth department. But then there are also the others, the ones who have found their footing, that come in elegant, organised and motivated. They overhear your despair of forgetting to follow up an unreturned email and wink “there’s an app for that” and proceed to change your life with a click and a swipe in your chrome bar. Hello, productivity! Look at me, efficiency! You look to them as a shining beam of the slightly advanced you, one who has come out from the hard yards and into the next phase of growth – one where you’re a little more certain, a little more stable but with a whole lot of business unknowns to embrace as your goal posts shift.
Each day of co-working teaches you something about yourself, if not a little life hack from someone else. There are the little wins, but there are also the clichéd two steps forward and three steps back. Peak and valley, up and down. And each day we get stronger, we get more proud. Proud of each other and how far we’ve come, proud to have challenged the norm and validated why we begun.