I remember sitting on this whole TDP idea x2-3 years before it even kicked off [x5 years ago now], and I distinctly remember thinking, “no way do I want to do it alone, I’ll instead find an incredible business partner”, and so that’s what I attempted to do upon kicking this whole thang off, i.e searching for that incredible partner to forge an even more incredible business with.
In hindsight, that was mistake #1 for me.
Business partnership is a beautiful thing, and I’m surrounded by beautiful partnerships that work *really* well, and I’m indescribably happy for those business’y pals o’ mine, but for me? It was a big mistake, with a personality like mine. Five years ago? My personality was weak [and very obviously weak, from the outside looking in], it was people-pleasing, it lacked confidence, and it very much so responded with “how high?” when asked to “jump”.
My single friends tell me all the time, “I can’t enter a relationship yet, because I’m still too damaged from the last one, and I’ll ultimately just end up attracting my next mistake”, and I’ve always thought, “yep. There’s so much truth within that one statement”.
When I entered business partnership, it was right off the back of Motherhood round two, and I’ll be honest … I’d completely lost any real sense of self, which meant I was heading into brand new business partnership with a personality that really was a shell of my former self [and nothing compared to how much strength I have within my personality now].
Spoiler alert? … it meant heading into that partnership not as a partner, but as my business partner’s unofficial “assistant”. My ideas were always squashed, my innovation scoffed at, my creativity mocked, and the majority of my role was delegated to me as if I were an assistant to that person [and not a partner]. Heck, there were so many weeks I had to beg for my fortnightly pay just to be deposited into my account, ha!
Why did this happen? Because I let it happen. And because just like my single mates describe their need to avoid relationships when they’re not at their strongest point, the same goes for business partnership, i.e I went into that whole situation lacking the required confidence, wanting to avoid confrontation at every cost, avoiding difficult conversations wherever possible, agreeing to things that were … comically non-equal, and generally just earning myself the role of “assistant” within 2-4 weeks of that business partnership forming [and ultimately ending 3.75 years later].
So today, I’m reflecting on 12 months of my sole Director’hood, and I want to walk you through the x5 things I love most about my leap from partnership, to sole Director’hood.
#1 The first one is the easiest to arrive at, and it’s everything to do with feeling like everything is fair again. Just like my [nearly] 9yo son, I have a real need to see justice served [and served well], so when you’re in a business partnership with a grossly non-equal division of work? … the resentment builds.
I was working beyond full-time, my partner was working 1-2 days per week, but we were both on the exact same salary [due to what was agreed upon in our early days partner agreement], and this isn’t my former business partner’s fault, but my own [for allowing that to exist – and continue to exist – within our partnership].
Nowadays? I still work hard [it’s who I am as a person, and hard work makes me happy], but I’m compensated for that hard work through a [much improved] salary, and even better than that? Flexible work options.
This year has very much so felt like a “your life, by design” kinda year, and I feel like I’m getting better and better at designing my very own version of a perfect life, for me individually.
#2 We turned my former business partner’s salary into x2 full-time employees, and so from an accounting / business advisory perspective? … our Business Advisor is thrilled, i.e we went from 1-2 days per week, to x10 days per week for those x2 new full-time employees.
You do the math.
Wondering why we really leapt forward this year? This had a lot to do with that.
#3 Number 3 is one of my very favourites.
I get to the lead this company the way I envisioned being able to from the very beginning, and for me? It starts and ends with human-centred HR policies. In fact, within two weeks of becoming sole Director here? … one of the very first things I did was to contact our HR consultant, and have her completely rewrite our HR policies.
I’ll be honest, those policies coming to life within this organisation have been some of my proudest work / biggest success measures, and I see [literally with my very own eyes!] the impact they’re having on the lives of the people who’ve chosen to work here.
And it’s a beautiful thing.
I love nothing more than seeing the direct impact that my particular style of leadership has on a business. Like a stone thrown into a pond, the ripple effect is widespread [and it’s something that continues to have a ripple effect far beyond having initially thrown that stone into a pond].
#4 The realisation that everything I craved in a business partner, exists within [different members of] my team, and for everything else that doesn’t suit being discussed internally? I lean on professionals, i.e our Accountant, our Business Advisor, our HR consultant, leadership consultants, and then x2 incredibly dear business friends [whose 11pm phone chats are some of the best business’y chats I have. Ever].
But from my team, I enjoy having sounding boards. The camaraderie. The help. The support. The commitment to creativity. The addiction to innovation. Christ, just having … assistance with what I need in order to steer this TDP ship in the right direction, ya know?
At the beginning of all o’ this? I never knew I could get everything I ever craved from a business partnership, from my team [and – where required – various consultants for the other stuff that doesn’t suit being discussed within the team].
#5 And finally? It’s the sense of pride when you see your business going from strength to strength, and you can attribute 50% [ish] of that to you.
The other 50% of TDP’s success, I attribute to my team.
They are high-performing, with solid work ethics, and they are happy / rock up to work with an *incredible* attitude / kind / smart / empathetic [the list goes on].
Sometimes I sit back and think, “I can’t believe I played this 50% role in creating this”, and mostly? I just feel so proud that the human-centred policies we have going on BTS here at TDP HQs, have ultimately resulted in a seriously authentic, humanised workplace.
I played a big role in that, and I can’t wait for my children to grow and really realise that their Mother’s success measures went far beyond the easy sh*t that everyone focuses on, like revenue/profit et. al.
That’s very-much-so been my experience.
Good luck on your adventure [whether it’s partnering up with the perfect partner, or going it alone], I’m here, rooting for all o’ you, and very-much-so wanting to see you all win.