SURPRISING THINGS WE’VE LEARNT SINCE LAUNCHING AUDREY
As audreyonline.co.uk celebrates its first year this month, editor Marina reflects on an incredible journey.
You can’t expect a new venture to be easy. And on launching Audrey we certainly didn’t anticipate non-stop fun or a smooth and natural evolution once it got it off the ground. But there have been many genuinely gob-smacking aspects – as well as setbacks – in our journey since we made Audrey A THING for public consumption.
YOU CAN’T IGNORE YOUR NEED FOR CHANGE
Back in Autumn 2016 the urge to do SOMETHING became really strong. Not because I hated my life or work, but because of a really powerful feeling that there must be more to life. Family, work, home, social life… these things are all important, but are they enough to keep you happy until you, like, die? I had more ideas and passion than I was really using. Did I really want them to go to waste? No thank you. But it still took a few more months of angsting before I actually did something about it. A few sessions with a life coach really helped me realise that being creative makes me happy, and doing nothing about it was affecting my mental health.
FEAR IS ACTUALLY A GOOD SIGN
Working out what that creative SOMETHING would be was the hardest part. Lying wide awake at 4am, day after day, my head would fill with possibilities. But every single one would get mentally nixed by drawbacks and obstacles. The things that could go wrong, the fact that I could fall humiliatingly flat on my face, that it would be a huge financial risk, that someone could do it better. The chatter in my head became unbearable, buzzing with ideas that I didn’t know what to do with. The gods of creativity were a-calling and not to be silenced. Writing my fears down helped me explore and answer them. Those fears were, eventually, a sign that I was on to something.
HELP IS LITERALLY EVERYWHERE
If Audrey ever wins us a big award we have a huge list of thank yous to share. Team Audrey, in the early stages, was huge. Sharing your plans with like-minded people who are ‘on the same page’ in some way can be incredibly powerful. Because for every idea you put forward, those people will throw a few more into the pot. You may not realise it but there will be people in your network – on the school run, in the office, in your extended family, at yoga, in your book club, and of course in your social media networks – who will not only support your plans, they’ll contribute to them and be generous with their expertise. Who do you know that can help?
TWO HEADS ARE BETTER THAN HUNDREDS
All those ideas are great – but you can soon find your head’s exploding with all the possibilities. Where to start, which things to do in what order, what goes where on the time line of your plan of action, how to make an income – you can’t make those decisions by committee. In the case of Audrey, those decisions were made much more easily when co-founder Faye Watts came into the picture. Having someone to share the responsibility with – to discuss things until they became crystal clear – made such a difference. And once we both had a sense of clarity, things happened very fast. We had lift-off. Can you join forces with someone whose skills complement your own?
DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT
I have a sign behind my desk that bears this message. Because when it comes to being creative, never a truer word was written. Whether you’re writing a blog post, crafting an online course or creating a piece of art, you can’t keep endlessly tweaking and improving it ad infinitum. You can’t sit on it and agonise over it to the point that mental paralysis sets in. At some point you have to let it go. Mistakes? Yes, we’ve made a few. But done is better than perfect, because it frees you, and that means moving onto the next bit. You can always go back and make it perfect later.
IDEAS CAN MUTATE AND GROW
When I look at the Audrey site now, I can see many remnants of the original creative vision, that first raw but thrilling template. But it’s now so much more. Because once your ideas become a tangible thing, that thing tends to take on a life of its own. People’s response to it feeds into your next steps. You become bolder and more experimental, but also more intuitive. You take off in new directions to see where they’ll lead. Your original idea can end up turning into something quite different – bigger and better. So while you need to be clear on the DNA of your project, when it comes to its iterations, you have to let it evolve – because you can’t just stand still.
ONE AMAZING THING LEADS TO OTHERS
When I met Faye, apart from running accountancy firm FUSE she was campaigning to encourage more women into the world of finance, into the board room and the world of business. Through launching Audrey this developed into a passion for helping women with ambitions of any kind. So in the true spirit of Audrey she’s since seized the day and trained as a transformational coach, as well as being shortlisted for a stack of awards. A year ago none of this was on the horizon. So start one thing and see where else it leads you.
YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE CAPABLE OF
This is an important message for anyone sitting on the precipice of a huge decision about their future. That job you think you might fancy trying, that business you long to launch, that journey you’d love to take, that way of life you’ve always yearned for… well why not give it a go? You don’t know what you’re capable of until you give yourself the chance to find out. We genuinely had no idea how Audrey was going to change our lives, but it has – in so many ways and most of them good ones. The places it’s taken us, the people we’ve met, the articles written about us, the utter giddy-making thrill of doing something that makes total strangers say ‘I love what you’re doing’. So many unforgettable moments in our first year of Audrey. And if we can do it, so can you.
Words: Marina Gask