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Cecilia, Designer and Founder
10 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started MumbaistockholmShare this
In addition to realizing that the most important work you can do is sometimes not to work at all - what are my main insights during the years of building mumbaistockholm? As mumbai turns five this year, here’s a list of things I wish I’d known before I started.
10 Things I Wish I’d Known
When I Started
There’s never a breakthrough moment
Seeing your jewelry on the cover of a fashion magazine?
Having Sweden’s biggest influencer ordering a custom jewelry piece and writing about it on her blog (at the time Sweden’s largest)?
Selling in a store in New York?
Getting 10k followers on instagram?
Having the Editor of the country’s largest fashion magazine highlighting you in her monthly column - and even putting you as #1 on her monthly list?
Check, check, check, check, and check!
Did any of these things mean I could stop hussle, even for a tiny bit? That sales, showroom bookings and instagram followers would start to flood in in a steady stream? Nah! There’s no such thing as a breakthrough moment. “If only...” doesn’t exist. Having a business means you have to keep struggling - always!
You need no-one but yourself
“I need to hire a designer/marketer/website developer/salesperson/accountant” - put in the profession you need here!
Truth is: you need no-one but yourself. In fact, during the first year(s) of business - most probably the person who is best equipped to build that website is YOU! An accountant? Actually, you better learn the basic accounting skills that’s needed to plot in the sales and expenses (this is how you learn your business). A photographer? Yes that could be nice but - if you cannot make your own products look attractive, how will anyone else be able to?
With so many ready-to-use tools out there - there’s no excuse for not doing it yourself!
Need to build a website? Even the web agencies don't build them themselves! Buy a theme that you can change colour and fonts in yourself. These are developed by professionals who are probably more skilled than the single IT guy you’re paying per hour.
Need nice pictures? You don’t need photoshop or an art director - spend a few hours on finding “your” filter and you’re branding will look rock solid! No need for photoshop or a super skilled photographer just yet.
Need to build a social media following? There's tons of online courses available with a click!
(In fact, I still use just my iPhone and a VSCO filter for creating most of mumbaistockholm's instagram pictures. The secret I've learned? When it looks dirty and rough, it will speak to people more!)
A successful entrepreneur I met (who had built and sold several businesses during the past 30 years - including some failures on the way), told me the one thing that distinguished successful businesses from the ones that failed: “the successful ones learn to do everything themselves”.
…but you also need a strong team!
When you do hire, make sure your hirees are best in class - whether it is a contractor, an employee or a collaborator. A chain is never stronger than its weakest link. This doesn’t mean everyone needs to be highly skilled from the beginning. Simply look for these two traits in your team members: a passion for her subject and the drive to always become better. Find people . who tick these boxes, let them do what they’re supposed to do - and you'll find yourself with the strongest team ever.
It never gets easier
You just get different problems. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable!
You will live for the highs
And you will learn to ride out the lows. As you keep innovating, you will keep doing mistakes. The difference, as time passes, is that eventually you will stop beating yourself up every time you fail. You will learn that it is part of the process, and instead you will celebrate yourself for the new ideas you implement that do succeed! These will make everything worth it. Chill and celebrate when you hit the sweet spots!
No-one will ever fully understand you
So you better become best friends with yourself! You will ask yourself questions and you will answer them yourself. The discussions between you and you, where you evaluate and analyze different angles of the problem? You will have them while on an airplane over the Atlantic. Or when doing a particularly strong Kundalini Yoga kriya. Or when sitting at a café with crossed arms looking into the far distance somewhere outside the window. Eventually, you will have the answer (see point 10).
90% of all your good ideas will come while travelling
What is it with the lightweightness that arise as soon as the airplane wheels lift from the ground? All your problems suddenly decrease tenfold in size and space opens up for millions of fresh thoughts to come in. Ideas so obvious that all your new strategic directions will suddenly become crystal clear. 5 hours, 7 hours or 12 hours on an airplane? You will spend them with music in your ears and a notebook, sometimes closing your eyes and sometimes writing frenetically. When you land, you will have all your answers.
(Then the next part starts: sorting all new ideas that again arise when you are on your destination. You might even skip your return ticket, stay three months longer, get a house and become a yoga teacher...)
You will never have an office (not even when you have one)
Sitting in one spot a whole day is just not for you. Having regular meetings is not for you. Apparently, you need alone time and you need lots of it. But you also need people to watch. Relationships to observe. Cafés, hotels and restaurants - these will forever be your offices. Accept it and don’t try to go against nature!
Always prioritize having fun
Your passion is the only thing you have. If you loose your passion, you will loose the game. You loose the connection with your followers, your employees and your customers. They feel it better than you do! When you're not having fun anymore - when the pressure becomes too much and the problems too big - switch things up. Go on a trip. Take vacation on a Tuesday. Quit the part of your business that doesn’t give you energy. Your business flourish because you flourish.
Your gut instinct (and the courage to follow it) is everything you need
Engaging in activities that develop your intuition is the most important investment you can do. You do have all answers within you.
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