“Starting a company is like eating glass and staring into the abyss.” – Elon Musk
Never have we, abyss-starers and glass-eaters, read truer words, epitomizing our audacious struggle.
What do I know about starting a business? Nothing besides that irresistible sparkle of novelty, of all the new things awaiting to be learned and unlearned and not having two days alike.
I started my first business (bespoke professional English courses) because I wanted to create new language together with my students. I did not want to show language to the students but to help them create their own.
Owning a business is not for the weak. Oftentimes I suffered from stress and too much glass-chewing damaged my stomach. A question may have many answers, the right answer is the one that concurs with your business strategy.
In no time I have learned how fast day-dreaming becomes daymarish. Still, mistakes are what we (and Oscar Wilde) call hard-earned experience. I have a salad of them.
Know yourself very well and the things you are capable of
Most people are not aware of who they are and their limitations. Make a SWOT analysis of yourself first and then of your business. We confuse experience in a certain field with the ability of conducting a business. I have learned the hard way the truth of the axiom. I thought that if I were a very good teacher and communicator, owning a business would be a piece of cake. I would ride on a smile shine and choke on the requests for offer.
Be prepared for anything
If a customer asks for a tornado of sharks (a metaphor) for a copywriting job, I ask: “white sharks?” Consequently, see yourself very clearly and prepare for any question or query. Take time to prepare every business meeting and presentation in detail because you and your products are everything you’ve got. I have my relentless imagination and hard facts to craft a bespoke down-to-earth project for everyone.
Believe in your business model and follow your spreadsheets
(I daily-plan everything and all my courses follow a plan, at the end of which we have assessments.)
It is in our nature to want more. Some people want things that are not in your offer. Some people do not know what they want.
In other words you will be tempted to set up your business model according to what your customers say they want. Sometimes this is fine as it opens doors to new products and services. Nevertheless, the core of your business model (your Mission statement) should remain unchanged.
Expect your communication to take unexpected turns
“Do you know that conversation is one of the greatest pleasures in life? But it wants leisure.” – Somerset Maugham
Give it leisure and friendliness. Nevertheless, there are still queries to be had. The other day a representative of a medical company called and between the “lines” I picked up on their willingness for 17 people to benefit from our English course, but to pay for only 10 people, because some of the attendants might get bored in the end, as so happens at all English courses, he says, “knowingly”.
I never take kindly this type of approach as the lack of respect for my time and efforts translates into lack of respect towards me and my hard-crafted projects, mission, vision. Learning a language is not for everyone as it involves commitment and hard work and new eyes open for you to see more and more each class passing. Language is information.
Learning a language is not like attending a show. You participate in the show. Or have it like this, you participate in a postmodern theatrical performance where the actors get down from the stage and interact with the audience. It is a story within a story. We create a bespoke story for you and you get to add up your story. We create language together.
My start of the business was not at all handsome because I did not put these in my plan. I just thought that being skilled as a teacher and communicator would suffice. It didn’t, but I am still learning.
I am always willing to create “work” that shines like the sun with imaginative people that wish to keep their readers and customers on their toes.
I am illustrating with a Van Gogh, the master of painting the work of people. The work that shines like the sun, the same as his poignant mesmerizing timeless imagery.
© Iulia Halatz
I am delighted that five of my poems were included in the Sudden Denouement Anthology Volume I. The anthology is now available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.