It’s very easy to get disillusioned when trying to build a new business or find a new career path. The road is long, lonely and often filled with obstacles and rejection. You watch on as others appear to be doing it just right. They move from one success story to another but your life/business seems to stand still. Along the way you begin to question yourself, your capabilities, even your worth. Regularly you want to quit, admit defeat and just give up.
Necessity who is the Mother of All Invention
Plato believed that necessity was the mother of all invention, that a need or problem encourages creative efforts to meet that need or solve that problem. This makes sense to me; the idea that if you need to do something and the proper tool or technique doesn’t exist, you try and figure out a way to solve the problem. A feeling that something was lacking in the marketplace was a driving factor in why I set up Fortior Insight Ltd; a novel, relationship based approach that brings together complimentary businesses with a focus on value creation for both our customers and our partners.
Necessity, for me, however, is much more that the mother of all invention. Necessity is my greatest motivator: I have a family to support and a life to live. Whilst work often brings me great satisfaction and opportunities to travel and see the world, its core value will always be that the income I earn allows me to share precious moments with the people I love.
I changed my career path a few years ago as I began to question if that was still the case. I realised that I was at risk of trading my life’s true value for the money in my pocket. I struck out a new path and I began a new journey. There was no lotto win or inheritance along the way so I knew the journey would still involve work however this time I would be following my own path rather than someone else’s. Despite many challenges along the way and not knowing what the future might bring, its a decision I have never regretted.
However, As Liza Minnelli sang and we all know, “money makes the world go round” and unfortunately for me, after a few quiet weeks after Christmas, “the clinking, clanking sound of money” was becoming concerningly muffled.
When you haven’t any coal in the stove
And you freeze in the winter
And you curse to the wind at your fate.
When you haven’t any shoes on your feet,
Your coat’s thin as paper,
And you look 30 pounds underweight
When you go to get a word of advice
From the fat little pastor,
He will tell you to love evermore.
But when hunger comes to rap,
rat-a-tat rat-a-tat at the window
*knock knock* (at the window)
Who’s there? (hunger) oh, hunger!!
See how love flies out the door…
I heard a freelance photographer on the radio last week speak about the life of a self-employed person and in particular, the existential crisis they face on a near weekly basis. I couldn’t help but relate to her experiences. I have spoken to many people over the last few months about how they deal with setbacks and rejection in their business. The response has nearly always been the same, ‘never take it personal and never believe that your worth is in anyway diminished by the value somebody else may place on it.
As I started with a quote on necessity, I’m going to also wrap this piece up with one: Benjamin Franklin believed that “Necessity never made a good bargain”. In other words, t’s hard to drive a good bargain when your pushed to your limits. Again, I can totally appreciate this and if I’m going to be as honest in this piece as I set out to be, I have certainly exploited other peoples desperation in business negotiations in the past.
In the last month or so, it was my turn to have this negotiation tactic used on me. Others (and I don’t blame them for this) attempted to leverage a lack of new assignments on my books to bargain me down and renegotiate my rates. I wasn’t however prepared to accept this as I knew my value.
For me, the work I have done over the last couple of days has justified my approach. A week or so ago I was given an assignment by a client to help them prepare for BREXIT. They are both an importer and exporter, so the first thing I did was map out their supply chains.
The added value I was able to bring to the process began here. At every port, I had a connection, an opportunity to speak to someone and for my client to consider their options. In addition, I was able to suggest alternative routes and even potentially new suppliers and validated customers. Next we moved on to potentially new customs arrangements and EORI registration. Again, I had firsthand knowledge of the requirements and intermediaries we could talk to. As the process continued, I did what I always do and what I do best. I adsorbed myself in the detail ensuring no stone was left unturned. I considered not only the requirement today but also I preempted potential future questions and outcomes.
And this is why our client had given us the contract. They knew that no corners would be cut and that we would work beyond our brief. We justified our cost both now and in the future by guaranteeing that we would be there if any problems/questions arose down the line.