Little Empire was born about two years ago. Yes, you read correctly. It took us 24 months of trying, sampling, researching and trying again until our concept of an environmentally responsible children's brand was ready for it's first outing. And what a journey it was! The great german poet Hermann Hesse once said "In all beginnings dwells a magic force". That is true, but it is also true that all beginnings are freaking hard work. Good news is, I learned a few things on the way. These 5 things helped me to stay sane and reach my goals during this whole process.
1. It ain't easy but it's worth it
2. Post Its and Baby Steps
That's probably the German in me who enjoys to keep things in order, but man how I love my post its. Without them I would be lost. On the wall above my desk I have a white space, divided in 3 sections: To Do, In Process and Done. Every morning I write down all the tasks of the day on little post its and stick it under the To Do section. That already makes my day so much more efficient and organized. I can see straight away what I have to do and in which order it would be best to get things done. I can see also if I put by far too many tasks on for the day, which is mostly the case. But then I can filter and focus on the most urgent ones. I break the tasks down in small portions. For Example, instead of 'Shoot new image campaign'I'd write 'Select clothes for shooting', 'Contact model XY to ask for availability', Contact Photographer ( that one is easy as it is mostly me or my husband ), 'Set Shooting Date' and so on. Every time I do one of the little things that will help me reach my goal, I can move a Post It from To Do to Done or, if its an ongoing task I'll stick it under the In Process section. From the moment I started doing this, I suddenly realized how much stuff I was getting done. And every time I feel like nothing is moving forward I look at my Done section. I mostly keep the Done Post It's on for a few weeks. It is my Number One Motivator.
3. Be kind to yourself
My working time is very limited. I have about 4 baby free hours a day from Monday to Friday. which gives me 20 hours a week to run my business and do anything else which I can't be doing with a baby hanging off my shoulder. Often enough I trapped myself into running against time, trying to get as much done as possible. I ended up being quite frustrated and unhappy, focusing on all the things that didn't work out the way they should have and those I hadn't even had the chance to look at. I never allowed myself to take some of this precious time to do something nice for myself. Just an hour to go down to the beach or book me in for a massage. Well, but whats the point in doing anything if you don't enjoy it? So I started to take my own needs more serious. Meet a friend for a coffee even though work kept piling up, taking this extra hour to read that book which was getting all dusty on my night desk. And do you want to know whats the funny part about it all? I realized, that I got so much more done when I was well rested and in a good mood. I still don't get everything done I want to and yes, things are still moving too slow for my taste, BUT it doesn't frustrate me anymore. I feel that being kind to myself is one of the biggest achievements I conquered lately.
4. Create a secret circle of allies
I've never been a very secretive person. Especially when I am exited about something I like to tell everyone I meet about it. When I started my business, I quickly realized that doing so will drive me crazy in no time. Getting opinions about your product is great but hearing a million of different viewpoints will just leave you confused and insecure. So I started to treat Little Empire like a very precious treasure and chose wisely who would be in my inner circle of trust. Honestly, this is the best thing I've ever done. I have a hand full of amazing talented and extremely clever allies. We talk about ideas we have and help one another with our business. Because the thing is: it's not so much about what other people think what you should be doing. It is about you following your own unique vision. Too many opinions will blur this vision and will leave you desperately trying to please everyone instead of staying true to yourself. A secret circle of allies will protect your ideas and so they can thrive and unfold their true potential.
5. It's never too late to start something new
I'm 35 years old, suck in maths and never had a big interest in business. In fact my whole life I did quite the opposite. I studied dramatic arts, worked as an actress and bartender and traveled the world. For many years, I felt happiest when surrounded by art and adventure. Don't get me wrong, I still love all of this and Bali, where I decided to settle down, is full of creativity and new things to explore. But I have so many more interests. I worked in the tv and movie industry for over ten years just to one day decide that it was time to travel. I then managed a horse riding club in the middle of the south pacific, became a travel guide, a drama teacher and a entrepreneur. I never understood how I was supposed to pick only one thing and make only this and nothing else my passion. My interests are just so wide spread. I love to act, to write, to draw, ride horses, play music, design clothes, be a mom or take pictures. Not all of it will become a profession of course, but I believe, if an idea finds you and it lights up a fire in you, it's always worth trying, no matter how old you are or how different your life has been before. Little Empire was such an idea. Following this vision, despite all the difficulties, opened a whole new universe to me and let me become a stronger and happier person.