But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. – Deuteronomy 8:18 (NIV)
Without defining the word “regret”, the majority of us already understand what that means. We have in one way or the other experience this in life. We’ve had regrets about our decisions, relationships, businesses, education, even for sleeping late the day before. Regrets to a large extent are inevitable. I myself have had regrets so many times. Sometimes, I consciously do things I know I will later regret.
When it comes to business, I have a long list of regrets. I’ve had great business plans and opportunities that I never pursued. Now whenever I see people with similar ideas doing really great and all I can do is regret. We need to understand that nothing in life comes easy and we must be willing to take lots of steps forward in order to succeed. When we give up half way, we have no one to blame but ourselves.
I used to own a clothing line called “Mokhola”. I learned how to sew when I was at the university and I decided after much research to specialise in T-shirt making instead of the sewing traditional attires. There was a gap in the Nigerian market with regards to customised t-shirts and I saw that as a great opportunity to specialise in custom-made t-shirts. I realised people got bored with buying ready-made t-shirts and wanted someone who could create their own style. I was really good at this and the money okay. I invested time and money into this business. I bought my sewing equipment and all other necessary materials. I even had my own shop using our boy’s quarters. I was really committed to it. I used to love watching fashion shows and pictured myself having my own clothing line on the runway one day. It was a dream of mine.
Sadly, this business didn’t last long because the passion I had for sewing was divided. You see I am a Barrister and I had a full-time job. I loved being an advocate and I was passionate about it as well. Stating or arguing facts was everything to me. The problem was that I couldn’t decide which one I loved the most. I remember quitting my job twice to concentrate fully on my fashion business but when it wasn’t yielding my anticipated results and went back to my full-time job. It was really hard and I felt like a lost puppy.
Picking which job to fully commit to was difficult. I know a lot of people run several businesses simultaneously but, we have to look at our strengths and weakness to see if we can do that. Just because someone else can doesn’t mean you can. Finding a balance was hard for me. I tried so hard to balance the two but, my law career was so demanding I could barely focus on other personal stuffs let alone another business. It got to the point I had to outsource some of my contracts to other tailors to relieve the stress and pressures. I got disappointed several times and I would always have to chase after people in order to meet deadlines as well. Also, the t-shirts weren’t made to my standards. Eventually, I had to shut it down. That was a huge regret because now I see new fashion designers living the dream once had.
I have chosen to deviate from my regrets. Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV) says that “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus”. This verse encourages me to look forward and not dwell on the past. In as much as running a business is not a walk in the park, I am willing and committed to trying again. It is difficult and most cases, time-consuming. I keep this verse close to heart in order to keep me grounded in the face of adversity. God wants us all to live a good life but, it starts with you, whether you are a Christian or not.
My dream of being an entrepreneur has not changed because I still do not like working for people. I want to be my own boss. So, I have taken a step of faith by enrolling in an MBA program to enable me to understand better, the key elements of running a business. When I decide to venture back into the fashion industry, I now have a clearer vision on how to effectively implement my business plans. I have also learned how to effectively manage my time, understand the relevant factors that contribute to business growth and how networking and marketing are paramount. I am done regretting and envying other people. I am taking a leap of faith to succeed in whatever business I choose starting with this blog. I’m starting small with the hope of growing bigger. It might not seem much but it’s my dream.
If you have a business plan, start now by doing adequate research on what you need to succeed and grow. Don’t just sit there dreaming about being a millionaire someday. Start making plans. Even the people who have won the lottery took a step in conjunction with faith and made the decision to buy a ticket. They made a second move by actually going to the store to buy a ticket. The winning ticket did not magically teleport to their houses.
Be strong and courageous because not only are you selling yourself but, you are selling your product or service. Everyone makes mistakes and yours will not be the first or the last. Reliving past hurt and disappointments won’t help you. Shake it off, let it go and move forward.