Entrepreneurship

My Entrepreneurial Journey: A Tale of Truth

My Entrepreneurial Journey: A Tale of Truth

From an early age all I wanted to do was establish my own business. Inspired by my father, and stepfather, both who were business owners, I wanted to work for myself. Most importantly, I wanted to be successful. I had no idea what my business would be, but watching my father’s work, dedicating their lives to their passions was what motivated me. I dreamed that someday I’d have a project I was equally passionate about and proud of.

Imperfections Are Ok

At nineteen I was diagnosed with dyslexia. Whilst it came as a surprise, it made a lot of sense. Dyslexia explained why I struggled with certain things and excelled at others. As I was at University studying business, my diagnosis made me take a long look at the way I learn, and affected how I approached my coursework.

After graduation, I took that understanding into my work life and set up strategies that would allow me to complete my tasks efficiently. I attribute my current success to many things, but specifically self-awareness. Understanding how you work, and why certain tasks are easier for you means that you can approach life in a new light.

Multiple Intelligences

The theory of multiple intelligences was developed by Howard Gardner. He stated that “intelligence” is not just one skill, instead a series of eight abilities. Therefore a person may need to access information and knowledge in different ways, in order to process it. Knowing that my mind works differently to others means that I have the skills to overcome the things I find difficult. I’ve been able to avoid frustration by ensuring that my interactions with clients serve me in the best possible way.

Howard Gardner’s theory describes intelligence as three states-
The ability to create an effective product or offer a service that is valued in a culture,
a set of skills that make it possible for a person to solve problems in life,
the potential for finding or creating solutions for problems, which involves gathering new knowledge.

These principles can so easily be related to business. Being an entrepreneur is all about establishing a unique product or service and problem solving. I’m intelligent in a unique way and my understanding of my ‘difference’ stands me in good stead in a business environment as I’m well-equipped to find new and effective ways of doing things.

Failure Isn’t The Be All And End All

Living with dyslexia also taught me that failure is ok. It happens. It’s how you deal with it that’s important. After my father retired due to ill-health, he spent his time inventing an anti-snoring device which I decided to brand and take to market. I’d specialised in marketing at University and it seemed like the natural choice for me, working in my chosen field with my father, my inspiration.

We had a fantastic product, it was reusable and British made, which kept with my high morals and ethics, but not fast-moving (FMCG) enough for large supermarkets. It was also not cheap enough for the likes of pharmacy retailers so we decided to sell it online. I sank my house deposit into the company and whilst we had ups and downs, being a one-product e-commerce site, it never made the millions I had intended it to.

Failure is a learning curve and my down experiences have made me who I am today

I now work with businesses and agencies as an SEO expert as well as running courses, a health site and will be launching a new business platform next year. Just because one idea didn’t take off, doesn’t mean my entrepreneurial journey is over.

Being a serial entrepreneur with many ideas daily, I make sure that I have a set amount of work that brings in an income. I also have what I call ‘projects’, which indulge my creative side.

Get Your Strategies In Place

Being dyslexic is definitely a curse and a blessing since it has made me far more perseverant. I am used to working hard to achieve success. I have developed strategies to overcome my weaknesses. Here are my top tips.
Outsource what you don’t enjoy, or what you’re not so strong at. Not only will you become more time-efficient, but you’ll retain your passion. There is a vast amount of software available for business owners. From project management software to automated systems. These tools will keep you organised, allowing you to juggle multiple projects and really focus on the tasks you’re competent at.

I’m not a millionaire yet, but I do understand it’s not always about the end goal. I’ve taken to looking at monthly income as a measure of success and feel that if I earn the same, or more, than I would in a ‘normal’ job, and I have flexibility, and I love what I do, then I am very, very successful.

About the author

Phillipa James

Phillipa is a dyslexic entrepreneur and chartered marketer who previously worked for large corporates but who set up on her own five years ago. She currently owns an ecommerce store, a marketing company and runs various events in the businesses and health and wellbeing sectors. She is enthusiastic about helping people achieve a work/life balance and therefore has a passion for start-ups and people venturing out on their own so she is also working on a project to launch a platform to help small businesses achieve their goals which will be available next year.

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