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Apparently, so Google tells me, 4 is the number of stability and order – I think that’s because a square has 4 sides and that makes it nice and even but I can’t be sure. Actually, lots of things come in 4s – the seasons, the elements, the horseman of the apocalypse… Oooo even the 4 leafed clover and that’s super lucky.

I’ve got distracted there, I was just trying to open with something about the beauty of the number 4 so I can segue neatly into telling you that today Linkedin reminded me that I have been running my business for 4 years (I love you Linkedin, as I would never have remembered that!). So there, I segued in the most untidy way possible but I’m back on topic.

What have I learnt in 4 years? Here’s my top 4 (see what I did there) …

  1. Nothing is immediate. I’d love to say that you can start a business and suddenly you’re a millionaire but realistically that doesn’t happen. We all have to work hard, we all doubt ourselves and we all do a happy dance at that first sale/client/success. Getting to the point where you feel like you’re actually doing well takes ages and it’s only now I’m starting to feel like that.
  2. Nothing comes to you. Sorry. I know, it sounds negative, but it’s not. When you start running a business you have to work at it: to create it, to build it, to sustain it and nothing will just be handed to you. You have to go out and look for opportunities, for ways to succeed but I can promise you that it will be worth it.
  3. Nothing prepares you. The long nights, the ridiculous hours, the utter panic… nothing really prepares you for the reality of being totally responsible for your own business. You can have studied business for years and still not know a fraction of the reality, but that’s ok – make mistakes and learn from them; develop and react to changes; adapt your ideas to be something that will work… whatever it takes you know you can do it.
  4. Nothing anyone says should stop you. If you’re lucky you’re surrounded by entrepreneurs and small business people who can help and guide and advice or at the very least understand why you feel like smashing you head against the wall repeatedly. However, the likelihood is you won’t and not everyone will understand the long hours the lack of cash flow or the other situations you find yourself in and that means that you should learn to follow your own instincts because no one knows your business better than you.

That’s the 4 sides of my square – my 4 big reflective thoughts as I reach this milestone. Next year I think I might have a party – not just write a blog… any one up for that?

Oh, and one last thing after those sentences that started with Nothing. EVERYTHING – EVERY MOMENT, EVERY TEAR, EVERY STRESS, EVERY HEADACHE – EVERYTHING IS WORTH IT (although I do miss buying shoes as much as I used to).