Three years ago I made a very quick decision to set up Medialuxe. I didn’t have any clients, certainly no savings or strategy and definitely no plan B. I’ve learnt so much in my first 3 years in business, not only about the actual running of a business but also about myself too and so this is a reflection post to not only mark my business birthday but to share more of the story behind Medialuxe, how I’ve shaped it into the business it is and the lessons I’ve learnt along the way.
How I started
I was working in-house for a fashion jewellery and accessories brand looking after all things brand and communications, along with managing the e-commerce side of the business. Based in Worcestershire, the business was to relocate in the summer of 2017 and this meant a daily 120-mile round commute – something I knew I wouldn’t want to do and so I began to search for a similar role closer to home. Maybe it wasn’t good timing or perhaps I was being picky, but either way, I couldn’t find anything that I felt excited about. I’ve always been driven by enjoying what I do and so I didn’t want to settle for something that in a few months time I wished I hadn’t taken… and yet that’s exactly what happened.
I took a role in digital merchandising for a well-known high street retailer and swapped a small close-knit team of five, for a head office of over 350, not to mention, a complete change in direction for the work I would now be doing every day – something far less creative than I was used to. The pay was really good, more than I’d previously been earning and so when I accepted the role, I convinced myself this was going to work out for the better and I’d learn to love this new direction.
I handed my notice in and four weeks later my new job began. Four days later, it ended. I left. I’d taken a risk to do something different and whilst I knew it was the right decision to leave my previous position, in those first few days, I knew this new role really wasn’t the right fit for me. After a Friday night in tears to my now-husband, wondering what the hell I was going to do, I made a very quick decision (not to mention a very risky one) and called in as soon as the weekend was over to say I wouldn’t be returning. Less than 48 hours later, it was official, I was going to work for myself and so I launched Medialuxe.
In reality, I knew I would eventually work for myself, I’d already had a taste of running a business in my early twenties selling vintage clothing and loved having something to call my own. And when I look back, the desire to be self-employed was always swimming in my mind. I remember seeing quotes daily on Instagram and Pinterest like ‘turn the page’ and ‘be the girl who decided to go for it’. I felt like they were calling me – I felt compelled to create a career that I really wanted, however, I’d always manage to talk myself out of doing it.
The more I reflect on that time, I realise now that had the situation not happened the way it did, I may still have been in that same situation, holding myself back and waiting for the ‘right time’ – a time that in reality, doesn’t even exist. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly could have been more prepared and that may have made the first 18 months of Medialuxe less challenging, however, I can say wholeheartedly that the lessons I have learnt in my first 3 years in business have been invaluable and not only made me a better businesswoman but a better person too.
Anyone who runs their own business will tell you that there are good days and bad days, serious highs and serious lows – there isn’t anyone to take the fall if something doesn’t work out and if you want to ensure you’re earning, you only have yourself to rely on. I’ve definitely experienced an endless ride of emotions and I don’t think this ever really goes away because the nature of business is always evolving and unpredictable, but you learn to adapt and accept it’s part of the territory. What I can tell you is if you work hard and enjoy what you do, the good days and the highs, far outweigh the bad days and the lows.
It’s very rare I actually stop and think about the business I have been building over the last three years. We’re programmed to constantly be thinking ahead, working out what’s next, how to grow, develop, etc. and for the first 18 months, maybe even two years, it was very much a case of *I hope this works out*.
Given that I’m writing this post, I can now confidently say that Medialuxe has become a business I am incredibly proud – that’s not to say it’s the finished article (because I’ll always be looking at ways to improve) but, if 2017 me had been able to fast forward and look at where I would be three years down the line, I’d have been over the moon and extremely glad I’d made the decision to just go for it.
If you are reading this as a fellow business owner or you’re dreaming of pursuing your own venture someday soon, I really hope I can impart some of the lessons I have learned along the way because, well, I wish I’d had somebody to tell me these things.
- If you are dedicated to making it work, you will never truly switch off, your brain will always be working away at 100 miles an hour on that idea you had earlier in the day, or planning what you need to do tomorrow, or thinking about how you can do this better, that better, and so on
- Trust your gut, always. That potential client who is questioning everything you say, it won’t get better if you do actually work with them. If it doesn’t feel right and they don’t see your value at the enquiry stage, they certainly won’t later on either
- Forming connections and creating a community of supportive, like-minded people will be your biggest investment, they’ll make the best days better and be there to make the down days brighter
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help no matter how silly you think the question is – you’ll be surprised how willing others are to offer you some advice, after all, everyone has started somewhere
- Whatever you do, try your hardest to refrain from comparing yourself to what every other person online is doing. This will definitely drain your energy and achieve absolutely nothing. Remember, we mostly see the shiny, happy parts and not the struggles and hard work that have come before. Everybody is on a different page of a different chapter, so stay focused on your own thing
- The business plan you begin with, whether that’s a detailed document or a few notes, will not be the same business model at year one, year two, or year three. You’ll mostly be exploring and learning and then forming a greater understanding to help shape and inform your offering
- Say yes, even when it feels scary. Last year, I said yes to more opportunities, like speaking on panels and collaborating on content and it’s one of the best things I’ve done and something I wish I’d done sooner
- Likewise, learn to say no if you need to. You are in control of creating a business that works for you as much as you are for your clients or customers
I have so many ideas I want to explore and it’s exciting to be able to build on the business I have already created. I feel like now I have the foundations in place, I can continue to shape my services so that I can keep on supporting my clients in the most effective way and working alongside them on projects that I am truly passionate about.
The nature of what I do means that I can’t always communicate what I’m working on until 6-12 months later and so there are some incredible brands I’ve been working with over the last year that are set to launch in the coming months and I can’t wait to show you what’s been keeping me busy!
So there you have it, I hope you feel like you know the Medialuxe story a little more. From the bottom of my heart I want to thank every single person that has helped this business to grow and given me the confidence to keep doing what I’m doing and of course, thank you to my wonderful clients for trusting me to support you and your brilliant brands.