Here at Lickalix we have decided to share our journey with you about how we came to start our own business and then take you on the journey with us. Hopefully along the way across all the different blog posts we will give you a little insight into what it’s like to own and run a business, maybe give you a little inspiration to follow your dreams or if all else fails give you some light reading with a few amusing anecdotes.
How it all began
Like a lot of people Dom and I were fed up of our jobs and really hating that part of our lives. Now hate is a strong word so I can only speak for myself, but at that point in time I really did hate my job. I defined a good day at work as one where I didn't cry. If defining your day comes down to these criteria it’s not a good sign. I would say I’m not even a big crier, just to paint the picture a little clearer.
A typical day started at 8am when the rest of the office was starting at 9.30am and if I left before 8pm I left like it had been a good day. When I got in at 8am I wish I had got in at 7am because I just had so much work to do and most of the week I would be finishing at more like 10pm. Maybe it was the pressure I put on myself but I was incredibly stressed all the time with the sheer amount of work and the day just didn’t have enough hours in it.
I remember one time just before one of the May bank holidays we had a massive presentation to our biggest client. We finished at 3am the night before the presentation to get everything ready. Our team was shattered but we had done a great job and the presentation went amazingly well. I didn't have time to plan a lovely bank holiday break but my best mate at work, who I worked really closely with on this client, had organised a lovely game of tennis to unwind. In the end we had to cancel because of work. It only meant not playing tennis one evening but for some reason this just tipped me over the edge.
I’ve never felt this sensation before or since then, even with everything that has gone on in our lives since, but I can only describe it as a mini breakdown. I’m not sure why but not playing tennis together to celebrate all our hard work just made something snap inside me and I cracked. In the end Dom had to take me to my mum’s in the countryside, where for 3 days all I did was sleep, walk the dog and do absolutely nothing. It was the second sign in my life that I had to change something.
Then finally we went on a much deserved summer holiday to the South of France. We treated ourselves and hired this lovely villa with a pool. In the end we ended up doing absolutely nothing, which is unusual my standards. Normally holidays are packed full with 20 million things to do and see. The whole week consisted mostly of sleeping, lying by the pool, playing tennis and eating. I was so totally and utterly shattered that I couldn’t face doing anything else.
With this realisation Dom and I said to ourselves that we MUST change our lives to be happy again. We had both always dreamed of owning our own business and had been saving money to put towards it ‘some day’. So we said right let’s do this. We made a pact that when we got back we would quit our jobs in 1-2 months after we had researched our business ideas.
We got back that weekend and on the Wednesday Dom handed in his notice. I then couldn’t wait and handed mine in the next day without a clue as to what we were going to do next!
A bit hasty?
OK so in hindsight should we have thought through our business idea before we quit our jobs? Yes, however, neither of us had any headspace when we got home at 10pm or at 6am before work, to dedicate time to our new business idea. So in the end we were a bit crazy and quit our jobs within 1 day of each other with no idea of what to do next. But looking back I can’t see another way we could have done it.
I will be honest and say none whatsoever. If it’s the right decision you won’t have any regrets. However, there was definitely worry. Worrying whether we had done the right thing, worrying about money, worrying about if it all goes wrong…and you know what, we still have all these worries. These won’t go away until we make enough money and have stability back in our lives again, which will take a while to achieve. But looking back every day I can say we did 100% the right thing because we are happy again.
The happy test
I really believe in this ‘happy’ test. I have grown to realise that happiness is one of the most important things in life to me. You can get bogged down with life and get in a rut and not do anything about it. I was unhappy in my job for a whole year before I decided to make a change. I kept on telling myself things would get better…and guess what they didn’t. I think after a year of things not changing and continuing to make you unhappy you have to make things change for yourself.
As a side note, you need to find the things that make you happy, even the little things. For me it’s cooking, walking in the park, laughing at my friends stupid what’s app message…find the little things and make sure you really enjoy them and don’t take them for granted. But overall you need the big things in your life to make you happy at the same time.
Ok it got a little philosophical there so back on track now…
Things you will miss
Firstly, the people. The best thing about both Dom and my jobs were the people we worked with. We both had really close friends that we worked with and that’s the main thing we miss about leaving our jobs to work just the two of us. Remember the true friends will always stay with you even if you don’t work with them everyday, and actually when you do see them outside of work it’s even better to catch up on all your new life stuff and all the old office gossip.
Secondly, having people to help you do your job. For example I am rubbish when it comes to IT. So in my old company as soon as something was wrong I would run over to the IT guys and they would fix it straight away (they were amazing). Now we have to do absolutely everything ourselves, it is absolutely painful to spend days trying to get your own emails working.
Thirdly, little things you take for granted…like stationery. You forget how easy it is to walk into the stationery cupboard and get another pen, notepad or printer ink. Now we have to remember to buy all of this stuff, store it and keep track of when to order more. Sounds easy enough but when you are juggling 20 million balls trying to set up and run a new business stuff like new pens is just way down the list, so it’s nice when those little things are taken care of someone else.
Lastly, stability. From enjoying a regular income, having a set routine during the day, answering to your boss and being able to switch off in the end, as it’s not your company. There are lots of things that you will miss but these are the ones that come to my head first. Just remember that by choosing to set up and run your own business you will have to give up lots of things. Make a list of everything you can think of that you will miss if you give up your job and take the leap of faith. If you don’t mind losing those things for what you will gain then great and you’ve just prepared yourself a little more for what’s ahead.
In it together
I wouldn’t be on this journey without Dom and I don’t know how I could do it without him. We are the ones that had to push each other to quit our jobs and try and start up our new business. He is the one that I tell all my worries to. He is the one that I bounce ideas off and we take them from good ideas to awesome ideas together. He is the one that helps me with all the problems that I feel are just too big to face alone. And…he is the one that I celebrate all the good times with once we have been through all the hard times and stress together and come out the end.
I literally do not know where I would be without him.
Starting a business with someone else is always easier, but not everyone can be as fortunate as I have been. If you are be starting your own business by yourself then don’t worry.
All you have to do is have someone there that can act like a business partner. Even better a few different people so you don’t bore the same person all the time. Your parents, sister, brother or best friends could also be there to help you. If you work by yourself it can be a lonely world, so don’t let it be. Let these people in and tell them that you need their help and they will be only too pleased to be on the other end of the phone or offer a hug when times are tough…when you celebrate together it’s even better.
So to summarise…
1. If you define a good day at work by not crying…it’s time to make a change.
2. Come up with your business idea before you quit your job.
3. Worrying is fine but don’t regret.
4. Take the happy test all the time.
5. Make a list of things you will miss if you run your own business to prepare yourself.
6. Have a right hand man (or woman or group).
7. If you still want to do it…you just have to go for it.
Have you thought about starting your own business? Tell us about it. Like what you read? Please comment and share.
Have a look at our next blog about coming up with your business idea.