At 21, I decided to let courage lead the way, and with no certainty of what the future will bring, I launched my first business. While I knew a lot of hard work lay ahead of me, the road ahead proved to be quite different to what I was expecting.
6 years on and with 4 successful businesses launched – today I’m sharing these life lessons with you, in the hopes that the knowledge I acquired will inspire you to do just the same.
If you’re a woman with hopes and dreams, then hopefully this will help you give you a kick to start building the life you dream of.
Lesson One: Building my business gave me a sense of self-confidence I never knew I had before
I was very fortunate to align my first business with a personal passion of mine, green tea. At 21 I launched my tea company, Zen Green Tea, after wanting to find matcha in Australia but struggling to find
it anywhere. By combining my passion with career, it was easy to excel, as I always wanted to do more to propel my business. And with this, came a feeling of accomplishment and self-love.
Along my journey, I have met some amazing people that align with my purpose in life and help me to grow further. This new found appreciation I have for my abilities has helped me to measure my self-worth on factors other than beauty or a status quo.
Lesson Two: Being an entrepreneur does not mean you have to give up your life
While many entrepreneurs will have you believe that entrepreneurship will consume your every hour, minute, second – I’m here to tell you it doesn’t need to be that way. During the early days, when it came to building my business, I turned to my friends and family who helped my business to grow.
For example, one time I received a new contract to sell my tea in retail stores. The order was more than all the stock I had in the country, so both my parents took a week off from work to help me package the whole order by hand.
I connected with my family in a way I never expected, and now I cherish all those memories. I was never short of a helping hand, and in turn, I ended up spending more time with the ones I loved.
Over the years, I’ve gotten savvier, and have since implemented ways to streamline my business. So, while in the beginning, I spent a lot of time with my loved ones growing Zen Green Tea, now we spend just as much time together reaping the benefits of the hard work we put in.
Lesson Three: I performed better in my full-time job
Not quite ready to leave your full-time job while growing your business? No worries, because I encourage you to stay! One of the most surprising lessons I learned is that being relentless in my pursuit to become an entrepreneur, excelled my growth in my corporate career.
I didn’t quit my full time job until I knew it was fully off the ground, so it meant that I had to be more productive and efficient in my time. It also helped me feel less isolated as I still had my colleagues around me, and more comfortable with my finances too.
And finally, it helped me perform better in my day-to-day role because it helped me understand what my manager wanted from me; to take accountability, be proactive, and deliver value.
This meant that my colleagues and boss trusted me more and I found that I was promoted quicker than others. So if you think you don’t have the time to set up a side business, it might even help to accelerate your current career path.
Lesson Four: It has given me a glimpse of retirement – and why I don’t want it
I have seen an early glimpse of “retirement” having grown my businesses to a place where I can pay myself a decent salary and reduce my hours to just a few per week. However, to be completely honest – I don’t want it.
I learned that while I dreamed of living a life of leisure, in reality, I am happier living a life of learning and growth.
Society has wired us to believe that all the time we sacrifice in our lives will be worth it for the golden pot of retirement at the end. I have found that to be a lie. My taste of retirement just bored me.
That is to say, I feel more accomplished when my spare time is spent acquiring new knowledge and putting said knowledge to good use for the greater good. I take all the chances I get to do activities, sports, and hobbies, and I think more about how I can use my business skills to build something which will give back to society in a meaningful way. It’s all about balance.
I wish more people could get a glimpse of what retirement is actually like, so they can stop sacrificing their present and start bringing a more mindful balance to the way they are living their lives.
Lesson Five: It has made me think deeper about what makes life worth living
This leads me to my last lesson learned – working out (or at least trying to work out!) the true meaning of a fulfilling life.
As I grew as a person and a business owner, I had to unlearn previous beliefs, like the belief that money brings happiness. When I realized that money was just a means to an end, it left me facing a blank canvas. This blank canvas was scary, but I realised – for me to colour it, I had to define for myself what it means to live a meaningful life.
During my quest to answer these questions, I found comfort in practicing gratitude, learning by reading, and feeling thankful for the smaller more significant joys of life.
It has been a wonderful journey. I am continuously looking for ways to make my life more meaningful and fulfilling, and it is far from over.
I hope these lessons have served as a source of inspiration, and motivation, to fuel the fire burning within you. I hope you will come to realize that the most significant factor in determining the success of your dreams is YOU. I wish you every success in living your most fulfilling life.