Project Life Success
Business success How to run a business

A dilemma

I have a dilemma. Quite a nice one to have, but a dilemma all the same.

I have the opportunity to replace myself. Which was always my plan, because I want to go on to do more, but I wasn’t expecting to be in this position until at least well into 2018.

For the past year or so I have been learning how to run a business. Firstly, a building company and then, since October, our bathroom and wetroom business.

It’s been a steep learning curve in how to run a business. My twenty years’ experience making TV programmes gave me practically no business experience so that has all been new.

Business admin, payroll, taxes, bookkeeping and so on were all fresh ground.

Pricing up, handling materials, running credit accounts and so on were VERY scary even 12 months ago.

Even though I’ve been self employed in the past, I was still working for other people, generally on a fixed rate, so it was really like being in a job.

And although Dean was a builder, a sole trader, he worked on one project at a time, generally working alone.

So we have scaled on, scaled up and scaled out beyond anything either of us knew about before.

It’s going well. But I’m struggling. I LOVE running the business. I love managing systems, coming up with new ones that make us more efficient or effective or both, managing money, building and growing relationships.

If I’m honest, I’m not so keen on the other stuff. The managing of individual jobs, clients and costs.

It would probably be correct to say that in that area I am holding the business back.

I’m definitely not pushing us forward like I could be.

Recently I’ve found that I’ve been putting off contacting potential customers because I wasn’t sure what to say to them. And experience has taught me, if I constantly delay doing something then it’s just not for me. Not the end of the world, I told myself, it’s just something I need to work on and get better at. It could be a year or more for me to get good enough at it to build it into something I can hand over to someone else and move on to other things.

And then… along comes T!

We’ve built a good relationship with T, the showroom manager of one of our suppliers. I don’t know him very well but he seems to share our values and passion (we truly care for our customers and want them to have an amazing experience with us, not feel ripped off or compromised in any way).

A couple of months ago, randomly I had a feeling that T would work for us one day. I told Dean what I felt, because of some of the amazing things that have happened to us since we began this journey to change our lives.

Then two weeks ago, Dean went to pick up some materials and came back with the news that T is being made redundant in January – the company are closing the showrooms.


It’s crazy. Months earlier than expected, and yet here it is – the opportunity.

The perfect person – at least I think he is – to start doing all the stuff I am finding hard. Someone who sells bathroom products every day, who already juggles quotes, figures, all those things that are still another language to me.

But how can we afford to take him on? I blogged here about how we’ve just taken on our third member of the team. So that’s three people currently supported by this baby business which is still finding its feet. Still funded by my somewhat erratic pricing and amateur invoicing.

(I am currently funded by my rental income, not really taking any salary, just the odd snippet here and there.)

We are by no means rich, just getting by and learning the ropes which change every day.

And yet, if we somehow make it happen for T to join us, I suspect he will move us all forward so much faster than if we do it alone. I am seeing him as someone to head the sales, then manage the bathroom refurbs, ordering materials, managing stock, booking subcontractors and so on.

I could step back and manage the business, do all the networking and the marketing and the things I really enjoy and am good at.

Plus, at the same time I could continue with all my big ideas and, in time, start all the other new businesses I passionately want to see up and running.

It is a true dilemma!

We are meeting up in early January and I’ll let you know how it goes!


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