Monthly Archives: January 2020

Lindsay’s In Business: PART 87. Funding 

woman sitting in wall hole

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What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfolds

It’s the end of 2019 I’m feeling set up for 2020.  This is what we developed this year:

  • A comprehensive new reporting tool
  • A showcase of sample reports and a workshop demo
  • Evolution of the brand, messages and imagery
  • A new website and updated materials
  • 15 accredited Mirror Mirror practitioners and 40 more set up for training next month
  • A few new and repeat client engagements
  • Initial work to set up a new organization-wide alignment diagnostic product (underway)
  • A drumbeat of articles, conferences and social posts
  • A bigger and stronger team.

I’m proud of these achievements and acknowledge my extended team of their fantastic support.  There are 10 people helping to put this Mirror Mirror together, piece by piece.

My wish for 2020?  We start making a real impact in the market: trainings, case studies, evidence of value, credibility; training, case studies, evidence of value, credibility ….

That’s great, you might be thinking, but there hasn’t been much income so far.

How is it all being funded?

To cut a long story short, it’s been a mix of a few lucky breaks that I’m very grateful for:

  • Some redundancy cash
  • A ’loan’ from my mum and dad
  • My husband moving into consultancy instead of a salaried role
  • But above all, we’ve been able to syphon off funds from our rental apartment instead of using the money to pay off the mortgage.

And that property has been amazing.  It’s right in the centre of Delft and we’ve let it on short term via Airbnb for the past 8 years.  Tourists, visitors to the University here, people on business at for the European Patent Office and Shell, and other travellers whose relatives are marrying at the beautiful Town Hall have all stayed there.  The occupancy rates have been going up and up as Airbnb has become so popular.  It’s really helped us stay afloat – providing the equivalent of a whole salary to keep the family going.

I was looking ahead to 2020, thinking that if we have this rental income plus the same consultancy money from my husband, I don’t need to draw a salary.  I don’t see the possibility of a salary for me next year anyway.  We are still in the mode of low expenditures and zero investment in pensions or mortgage reductions, which is always a nag in the back of my mind. I still need to re-invest all revenues from sales so my horizon right now is a salary in 2021.

But then last week, we got a note from the local Government.  It said that short term holiday rentals are now considered illegal and we have 10 days to respond to the letter, and then later if we do let out the property on a short-term basis, we’ll be fined 10,000 Euro!  This already happened in Amsterdam but we didn’t think it would come to little old Delft.

My husband’s consultancy contract expires at the end of the year and he doesn’t yet have his next position lined up.  That doesn’t worry me too much but I’m wondering how long we can delay proceedings on the rental house for…

Nevertheless, I think we’ll be ok.  I don’t have a debt that needs paying soon, I feel confident about the business – the worst thing that happens is, we have to sell the house.  I’m just grateful that we are able to juggle things to stay in the game.

Mirror Mirror – a team alignment diagnostic tool and process in one, helping people align to the strategy, as well as each other.

 

Lindsay’s In Business: PART 86. Building Capability

people sitting around brown wooden table under white pendant lamp inside room

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What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfolds…

We have 3 jobs in progress and almost all 40 places for January’s training are booked up!  The pressure is on to get the best Mirror Mirror training programme finished before Xmas. Meantime, it’s 22.00 and I’m typing in pyjamas. I want to get this written before tomorrow.

My youngest daughter was off school sick today – that hardly ever happens. She lay on the sofa looking cute interrupting my work every 5 minutes with attention-seeking comments. She’s such a sweetie but the experience for me was a mixed back: a test of infuriation, caring, patience and acceptance all at the same time.  By about 14.00 I had given up on my well-intentioned plans to spend the whole working on the training course and succumbed to distraction.

Actually, I have 6 days over next two weeks blocked to prepare the training delivery.  And what a crucial task.  Getting this right means growth. The trainings are one day virtual Mirror Mirror courses scheduled with 10 participants per time.  From the pilot training course I delivered over the summer, this one will be a major improvement.  You could say I’ve been preparing for it for months.  The content brings together the new sample reports, the new messaging, the new processes, the new concepts and new commercial parts of the business.

I’m pleased with the format of the training day.  It starts in advance of the training day with pre-read / pre-watch videos.  The day programme consists of three online sessions – each one interactive so the participants can think things through and learn from each other. There’s offline reading and tests in between the sessions. Finally, individual 2-way feedback sessions culminate in a pass or fail situation – although I’m sure most people will pass.

I might have to skulk out to coffee shops over the Xmas break to get everything properly prepared – there’s so much to do.

Sometimes I think I’m neglecting my daughters a bit with the extra hours I’m squeezing in. But then I realise I’m just busy, like any other working mum and there’s no point in feeling guilty about it.  I’m probably more being an example to them – showing them that if you’re the working type, it is possible to find a balance that works for everyone.

And as the girls are 11 and 12, they’re starting to ask questions and listen to my explanations about what I’m doing and why.  Wouldn’t it be great if they could work for Mirror Mirror – or take it over one day?

Anyway – it looks like we already have quite a team.  I have Miss X in Berlin on Product Development (involved from day 1), Miss Y is a contractor based in Maastricht who helps on the IT side, and now I have Miss Z on board with Operations Management. She’s living quite close by, now wanting to get back into the workplace for 20 hours a week or so after her kids have left home.

It takes time to explain what’s needed and set up all the back-office processes with someone new. Miss Z has spent the first two weeks getting set up with software and learning how to use the reporting tool.  We’ve set up a new job process and are using it now.

I’d like her to support on training administration, social media, materials development…  it’ll be great once she’s up to speed.  Finally, I’ll be able to concentrate on growth.

But it’s back to preparing the training for now. Wish me luck!

Mirror Mirror – a team alignment diagnostic tool and process in one, helping people align to the strategy, as well as each other.

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

Lindsay’s In Business: PART 85. Looking at 2020

close up of two flute glasses filled with sparkling wine wuth ribbons and christmas decor

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What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfold

It’s Boxing Day and I’m reviewing 5-year financial cashflow projections for Mirror Mirror that were set out carefully just before Christmas.  It’s an important document because it will guide our expectations and targets. On one hand it’s a fictional document. You can put any numbers in you like. On the other hand, the numbers need to be believable.  You want to be conservative, but too conservative and the business doesn’t look viable. We landed on predicting a three-fold annual sales increase, which may or may not happen.

The contents of that document weighed heavily on my mind. Looking at the increasing forecast income and expenditures, and the activities needed to process all of that, felt overwhelming.  Can I manage that?

And my reaction to that is doubly unsettling. How can I believe these predictions while doubting myself as the person who will lead the business there?

My husband reminds me that 2020 is the year for sales, that I need to create 3 or 4 goals and a roadmap of activities that will achieve those goals.  That I can do it. It’s my job. I know he’s right and immediately feel better.  And then I remember. I always feel anxious and blue after drinking even the smallest amount of alcohol – and over Christmas I’ve had a couple of drinks a day.  I’m not in the right frame of mind to assess this and prepare for the year ahead.  Perhaps I should give up drinking altogether.

It’s 2 days later and I’m on the Eurostar from London to Rotterdam, feeling more positive, looking again at the cashflow projections and the 2020 business plan. Here’s what I’m telling myself:

  • Yes, the sales figures are believable – it starts with a total of 30 sales in 2020.We already have 3 in the bag.  A new product like this could skyrocket or take a lot more time to take hold.  We don’t know.  It’s partly luck. We will be spending minimally. That’s the gamble.  Just take it.
  • Don’t look at the whole picture – take it step by step
  • Don’t try too hard – Mirror Mirror is a great product. Do what you’re good at which is rallying support, building the network and getting things organized.You have the team – delegate.
  • You can do this.

Apparently if you expect things, you are basically communicating what you want. But if you have intentions, you INTEND for a certain course, you are seeing what emerges, what unfolders. You are more open, you are asking not telling.  You are open to more courses of action.

In 2020 intend to bring the ready Mirror Mirror offering to market via a growing network of practitioners and see how it goes. I intend to do this in a calm and contented way, steering away from frenzied action and overwork, settling into a sustainable work life balance for the long run.

Mirror Mirror – a team alignment diagnostic tool and process in one, helping people align to the strategy, as well as each other.

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com