On the 16th February 2015, two years ago today, I had my first meeting with a potential client. I’d been worried about it. Could I do this? Could I sell my services as a ‘marketing consultant’ for hire? Seven years in a senior management role had taken me away from front line selling. Yes, the department I headed up was responsible for supporting a sales function, but, it’s not quite the same thing. The thought was uncomfortable. The experience wasn’t.
I ignored all my sales training. I ignored obvious buying signals. I just listened and I advised. I gave them some ideas, and we really just had a great conversation. I came away from the experience excited. Maybe I could make a go of this entrepreneurial thing after all. I remember telling Gill that even if it didn’t come off that the experience alone had fired me up. I was excited. I could have a business conversation without feeling like I was selling.
At 9.32pm that evening, I got an email saying that they wanted me to help them. In fact, the exact words were…
We would be delighted to have your expertise on our team.
It was a massive moment for me. It felt like validation. All the unease about going into business for myself was washed away in a tidal wave of pure joy. That’s why the 16th February is such an important day for me.
I was trading as Square Tree Marketing back then, and exactly a year after the high of my first sale, I made a decision that I had to make. On the 16th February 2016, I changed the name of the business to The Story Edge. Why? Because my business had evolved so much in that year. Square Tree Marketing and being a generic ‘marketing consultant’ didn’t reflect who I was or the direction I was going in. It felt like a risky move, but my gut and a few trusted friends told me that it was the right thing to do.
I’d love to say that ‘I’ve never looked back.’ Or that ‘I’ve gone from strength to strength’ and that I’ve experienced ‘unparalleled joy and spectacular growth’ – but I can’t. I’d be a liar, liar pants on fire. It’s been tough. Changing business model from being a ‘marketing consultant’ to a ‘copywriter’ then to a ‘coach’, in such a short space of time, has, at times, felt like a series of false starts.
But, now I see that for what it was. It was part of my journey. Yes, yes, I know… ‘journey’. Fully aware that that word makes some folks recoil, especially in that context. But, I don’t care. It has been a journey. I’ve figured out who I am and how I can best help people. I know I’ll make many more mistakes. I know I’ll keep learning.
But here’s the important thing. I know I’ll keep going. Why? Because I love what I do. I love putting my ‘bat-belt’ of communication, marketing, writing and, of course, storytelling skills to use to help people solve their problems. The doing is great, but the results are what matters more than anything.
I’m proud of my business. And, yes, I’m proud of myself. The truth is that I couldn’t have got to this milestone without the support of my clients, partners, friends and most important of all, my family.
Thanks to every single person that has encouraged, supported and tolerated me over the last two years. It really has made all the difference.
Today matters to me, because I’m still here. Today matters to me, because I know who I am. Today matters to me, because I’m no longer scared. And, most important of all, today matters to me, because I’m happy.