My thoughts on 2 years in business

Sunshine Communications is 2 years old today. Of course we’re having a party to celebrate this monumentous occasion (any excuse), but sitting here in my office in Giles Street has given me a chance to reflect and write down my thoughts to express the last 104 weeks that I’ve been running my own business.

Firstly, I never, ever thought it would happen

I have to admit I do pinch myself that I am sitting in this position today. I’m honest to admit that I dreamt up the idea of Sunshine Comms when travelling in India. Initially I was just going to do some freelance work to tide me over before I had made my next move, and before I knew it I had a team of 2 people and some strong paying clients. From there it just slowly started to grow….and grow. Once I started to believe in myself and realised I had something special, I threw every bit of energy into it and more.

It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me

Running my own business is the best thing I’ve ever done. But it has tested me. Toughened me up. Pushed me to the absolute limit. Made me doubt myself. Made me laugh, cry, scream and loose it a few times. Made me brave. Made me hard.

The team are everything

I’ve written other posts about this so I won’t go on about my feelings on this topic. But my team are EVERYTHING and I would not be here without them. It’s pretty cool to go to work every day and love what you do and the people that you see.

You have to take risks

I’m a calculated risk taker and have definitely taken a good few so far. To name a few those would be moving to a new office that I couldn’t really afford in the belief that we’d get more business when working in a collaborative environment. Hiring someone I really didn’t know at all who ended up being a fantastic hire (gut instinct) and being strong enough to turn down business that wasn’t right for us even when we really needed the cash.

There’s loads of stuff I don’t know

I hate tax. I hate VAT and I really hate contracts. My brain just doesn’t enjoy this sort of work so I outsource it to great people who love numbers. Yeah it costs a lot of money but it means I can focus on the good stuff and not get in trouble with the tax man when my returns aren’t right.

It’s hard to be happy all the time

Sometimes I want to be tired/ angry/ frustrated and fed up. But I can’t be. Everyone is looking for me to lead and keep everyone inspired. And sometimes (only sometimes) I just don’t want to be.

I’m obsessed

I never ever ever stop working. If I’m not physically working then I’m always thinking about it. Always thinking about the next move, the next hire, the next piece of business, do we need to align our services, are we serving the clients right, are the team happy, are the finances in line. But I’m definitely not complaining. I really can't stand moaners, or ducks as I like to call them - watch this video below and you'll see exactly what I mean! 

Take it with a pinch of salt

That being said. I don’t think anyone would really know how work obsessed I really am. I have a good attitude towards business. I don’t beat myself up about it or panic at night. I sleep a strong 9 hours a night, more if I can!  I don’t worry about the mistakes that I make, I just fix them. I am super positive (the clue’s in the name) and I always have the attitude that hard work = success.

Get a mentor

Step forward into the limelight Donald Emslie and Gill Ratray. Dad got landed with this role but luckily he’s a business genius so I am learning from the best of the best. Gill signed up for this role (god love her). She’s my mentor at Entrepreneurial Spark and is constantly filling my head with good ideas and ways to attack tricky problems head on. Gill is an action kinda lady and I love that about her, so I always leave E Spark with a list of 20 ways to sort my issues.

Don’t be a control freak

So many business owners are control freaks. I know that because I work with them daily.  I’m definitely not a control freak. I let the team have freedom to do their work in their own time and show me when it’s completed. This works for us all and I made a promise to myself that I will never ever be a micro-manager! Yup you remember…we’ve all had them.

Cash flow is definitely NOT king

It’s truly the worst thing ever and it kills every business, FACT.

Don’t hire too many people like you

I definitely started to fall into this trap of hiring too many mini me’s and then I got some great advice from Moray MacLennan (MD of M&C Saatchi) who said I had to stop doing that immediately. I naturally gravitate to really upbeat extroverts but I had to start thinking wider about the skills that we were missing and the sort of people that we needed to make a good team.

Gotta roll with the good and bad

The ups and downs can be hard to deal with, but if we have a bad then two goods come around the corner like a sprinkle of fairy dust. I just give it 10000% energy and ride the wave.

Have fun

Never stop having fun! If you don’t like what you do, then change it. 

Spreading some Sunshine!

As much as Team Sunshine would love to accept gifts and eat cake to celebrate our birthday, we've decided to do something a little different. As part of our 2nd Birthday celebrations we're going to spread a lil Sunshine across Edinburgh and give back to some very worthy causes. More info to follow soon :)…

Author Jenny Emslie Photograph

Jenny Emslie

Founder and Managing Director