9 August 2019

The week that was - UKFast at the Seashell Trust - the team work hard to maintain the grounds at the charity

Whether it is teaching our apprentices or getting stuck into volunteering, our director of people development is proud to get stuck in.

I was recently asked, if you could leapfrog the journey to get to your end result, would you? If you were offered the opportunity to skip ahead to achieving your goal, would you take it?

It is an interesting question isn’t it? It is a question that I am often brought back to when I think about entrepreneurship. The #entrepreneur hashtag on Instagram is awash with images of the incredible lifestyle that some entrepreneurs lead.

There are reams of images of sports cars, of piles of cash, of travel and more. Yet, this trend is painting a false picture of what entrepreneurship really is. Building businesses is about early mornings in the rain on a market stall, about sacrificing everything you have to put it into your startup, about putting in more time and effort than you thought possible.

In reality, it is also quite a lonely place to be. There are so many people relying on you, yet you’re the only one who is in your position. You’re the one in your shoes, who has taken your journey.

Seeing the sheer amount of people seeking investment for their businesses before they have even begun to put the level of graft in that is needed is frustrating to say the least. Taking this route may give you a shortcut to that lavish lifestyle, but in the long run you are giving away swathes of the business before you even know where it could take you.

Stick with it, work hard, enjoy the reward

I am not saying that it’s easy – it isn’t. Those long nights when you are desperate to sleep but something needs doing for a client. The days when you know that you need to switch off and take a break but you just can’t. The days when you feel like you are getting nowhere fast and you’re reaping no rewards at all, are the hardest and I remember them well.

It takes a huge amount of resilience to carry on, especially when investors notice that you’re doing well and start to offer you deals. For me, that was never an option in the early days. I turned down several tempting offers, knowing that we were onto something amazing and with the right amount of graft, we’d make the business extraordinary.

I firmly believe that sport teaches you this resilience. You don’t get results unless you really work hard. Fitness, tactics, strategy, nutrition, teamwork; all of those elements come together to produce results. You can’t be an Olympian without years of hard graft, so why would it be any different in business?

We are almost forgetting to be proud to work hard. It is not just about the results at the end of it, it’s about the journey that got you there. Sir Alex Ferguson was an advocate of this mentality, and would instil this in his Class of ’92. Also always saying “well done, son” or “come one, let’s get it right next time” after every match.

There is nothing greater than working hard for something and reaping the rewards down the line.

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