Happy 7th Birthday Wessex Spirits!

It’s my 7th Birthday!

On the 17th February my little business was 7 years old!

This birthday has got me thinking and reflecting.

I was 38 when I launched Test Valley Gin at The Greyhound in Stockbridge. I had two small people aged 7 and 4. My plan was to make gin for a year, then return to teaching when littlie went to school. That was my business plan: give it a go! No plan for growth, no plan for VAT, no business, sales, marketing experience, no ability to count or knowledge how to make stuff, no plan for success – nothing! To just give it a go because I had to do something, and the various demands of my cherubs meant a ‘proper’ job wouldn’t work for me. 

So I gave it a go. And I’m still giving it a go I suppose! I remember so well talking to more established small business owners when I started out, asking them how long it took to feel like they knew what they were doing and if they had got the hang of things. I couldn’t wait till the moment when I ‘got it’. But no words of encouragement were received there – just the response that they still haven’t worked it all out. And I certainly haven’t, 7 years in. There is no getting the hang of things because things never stay the same long enough. But I guess that’s part of the fun. And I’m afraid no more words of wisdom from me!

What I have learned:

  • I’ve literally made every mistake possible and I have no clue; but I’m still here. Living proof that if I can start a business anyone can!!!!
  • To redefine success. I haven’t made millions, I haven’t created a world or country, or county or anything renowned brand, but I do pick my babies up from school every day and get to watch their drama shows and some of their sports matches and take them to appointments without stressing about my boss. And that is pretty cool I think.
  • There have been many days / weeks / months when I’ve wanted to give it all up. But then I realise that actually there’s nothing I’d rather do instead. 
  • Right – this is the biggest thing I’ve learned. You may call me a bit slow as it’s taken me approximately 6 years and 10 months to work this one out fully: I can’t do it all by myself – I know! I’ve said it to other people all the time but never really believed it for myself. I’ve realised I have felt that I HAVE to do everything otherwise it kind of doesn’t count! It sounds mad thinking about it now but a lot of our beliefs we just accept and don’t think about – that’s why they’re so hard to change. But the penny has finally dropped for me; slowly but it’s getting there! Getting the right help is amazing for not only growth of the business but for state of mind and happiness in general! It has been amazing realising what an amazing team of people I have around me and how it makes things exciting to get another perspective.
  • Asking for help is not a weakness or a sign that you’re not coping. It’s a game changer. 
  • Failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of it. And how I’m really really trying to take my own advice and enjoy the journey.

Anyway, there are some of my musings on life, the universe and everything. Well my tiny part of it at least.

Oh, and buy some gin; that would be great, honestly it’s really good!

Cheers and happy sipping,

Kate xxx

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