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Nothing happens by chance, my friend

Luck:  Success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions

It would probably have been more appropriate for me to have written this 2 days ago, on Friday 13th but I was out having way too much fun on my mini-adventure so didn’t get the opportunity.

My husband and I started a business 5 years ago. Frequently, we are told “you’re so lucky” referring to us being given this opportunity. Each time, I wince internally and bite my tongue, for what we’ve achieved has nothing to do with luck.

I have quoted the Oxford English definition of luck above. Our success has not been bought by chance, rather 6 years of hard work and sacrifice.

When the company Andy & I worked for hit tough times 6 years ago, we decided the risk was too great by staying there, like sitting ducks waiting to lose our jobs (and being deeply unhappy at work).  We set about starting our own sports therapy and rehabilitation studio.

For 6 months or so we were swamped by business plans, finance applications and spent weeks in business start-up seminars until we were finally ready to make the leap and register our business. That was the easy part compared to what came next.

We found premesis to rent and had an offer accepted. I found out I was pregnant 2 weeks later. Bad planning? Perhaps, but it would not hold us back and we went on, full steam ahead. To cut a very boring long story short, negotiations went on and the lease took 18 months to complete.

Andy had already left his job and was operating in the same place but on a contracted-out basis. I was studying for an accounting qualification and have a very vivid memory (and I think video evidence) of me, sat at the computer with a 3-day old nursing baby, entering invoices into our bookkeeping system (to clarify, I was entering the invoices, not the baby). I sat my first exam 6 weeks after Finn was born, those first 6 weeks a blur of nappies, very little sleep and accounting conventions. NOT how I imagined my first 6 weeks as a Mum.

No sooner had we got the keys to our new studio than I had fallen pregnant a second time (this was not a mistake by the way, unplanned would be my term of choice). The studio was a bare shell so a 7-month-old Finn was kept occupied in his playpen in the corner whilst Andy and I (in between bouts of nausea and exhaustion) painted, plumbled, built and created our studio, our dream finally realised.

I worked until 2 days before giving birth. Andy took 2 days paternity leave then continued his 14-hour working days, leaving me (often sobbing) with 2 babies on my own. I continued to work weekends after Max was born. He’d accompany me in his car seat and watch on as I number-crunched and desperately willed my lagging brain to keep functioning.

2 years on and the business is flourishing. Andy is still working the long days and misses out on a lot of the boys’ growing up. Yes, the business is doing well but, as anyone who’s run a business knows, that money is channelled straight back into the business so we’re yet to see a financial gain.

We’ve recently employed a fantastic personal trainer/sports therapist. Hopefully soon Andy can start working more ‘normal’ hours and we can have a better quality of life.

Reading this back, it sounds like I’m having a right old whinge. I appreciate many people are in much worse positions than us and we’ve achieved a lot which I’m incredibly thankful for. This was a dream of ours for a very long time and there’s nothing like seeing your dream finally realised and we love every minute of our jobs. I do, however, reiterate that we’re not ‘lucky’. ‘Lucky’ would be winning the lottery or finding a tenner on the street.

We’ve worked bloody hard for what we have and I urge anyone who has an ambition to do the same. We had very little money to start-up, it was all done on believing in ourselves and using our confidence in that belief to gain faith from others that we could make it work. And we have.

Another fine example of following your dreams is Helen. Her ambition has just been realised in the shape of Lionheart magazine, a beautiful, inspiring independent magazine. Proof that if you want something badly enough, you’ll make it happen, luck or no luck.

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