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Telling it straight from the dragon’s mouth

Maybe it’s down to my Greek-Cypriot heritage, but I’m not the kind of person who’s scared of the notion of spinning plates. As a ‘bubble’ I suppose I choose to take the traditional view about smashed crockery – it’s less an unfortunate accident, more an omen of good fortune!

Lately, my metaphorical plates have increased in number and speed when it comes to making a name for myself as a copywriter. There’s been endless networking events, ad hoc meetings with new contacts, a whirlwind flurry of swapped business cards, handshakes, doors opening, opportunities beckoning, coffee conflabs….Basically, picture some random 1980s made-for-TV film about a lone creative-type making it in a ‘corporate’ world and you’ll pretty much get the idea. Minus the shoulder pads and pastel shades.

And.. drum roll please! After a good while of feeling like I’ve been walking through mud and speaking in a foreign language few seemed to understand, I am making real progress. Last week, I met my first potential client and agreed to work with a web design company as a sub-contracted copywriter. Two days ago, I chose a fantastic bespoke logo – from a wealth of brilliant ones created by innovative full design agency 10th Planet – for my new website (Watch this space!)

These signitficant steps all seem like giant leaps considering I only boldly set off on this new business path in January. Call it habit, but I now seem to be addicted to attending every business event I can fit into my diary. Last week’s experience, had a title which I couldn’t help gently sniggering over. ‘The BigSmall Event’ (surely it wasn’t just me who conjured up a certain departed and overweight rapper at hearing this?) organised by Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, designed to steer those interested in starting their own business, start-ups and suchlike on the course to success.

Once I’d connected with some exhibitors I drifted into the speaker’s hall to catch the expert talk. Sitting down, I braced myself to swallow a large, heavy dollop of dull ‘business speak.’ But I was in for lighter, more appetising, surprise. The speaker was Doug Richard, of ‘Dragon’s Den’ fame and the subject was ‘The biggest mistake I ever made in business.’

Richard wasn’t just entertaining in his fresh, no-nonsense and relaxed delivery but he touched on a subject which I connected with. Wouldn’t life be boring if you succeeded all the time? Where would the fun be in that? I couldn’t agree more. Failure and struggle isn’t something to be scared of – it’s only by experiencing these ‘mistakes’ we grow in confidence, determination and ability.

In case you’re wondering, Richard’s biggest mistake was on rather a grand scale. At one point in his career, he woke up one day to find he was financially completely wiped out, thanks to a business deal having turned monumentally sour. Whoops!

Up until that moment, Richard explained how he’d lived with a slightly anxious feeling all the time. That morning though, this worry disappeared as fast as his assets had.

You could say his plates had stopped spinning and crashed round at his feet. And the world hadn’t ended. In a way, it had just begun. I admire anyone who sees this enforced clean slate not as a disaster, but as an opportunity.

Sometimes life’s about picking up the pieces and starting all over again.

And that’s not just my philosophy. It comes straight from the dragon’s mouth.

Have a smashing week!