You chose the exit path. The question is, why exit instead of scale? And when in that 12-year timeline did you realize, “I have to get off the next stop? I have to build another train?”
It was actually fueled from the fact that I played video games a lot during my childhood. And I was highly competitive. Playing at a very high level. Why don’t I transfer this energy, this passion to get better into a business? That’s going to be leveling up in life rather than leveling up in a game.
I mean, that business pivoted a number of times over those years. But I suppose the point I realized is when I started to get more of understanding that because that business had been fueled by frustration, I was building automations to ensure I could continue to run it, but it wasn’t leveraging other people’s value enough.
I was still very closed because, It had come from a place of, you know, a place of despair. Really. I was in a very tunnel vision, so I wasn’t willing to delegate much at all. I’m still micromanaging. I was working too much in the business, not enough on the business. And when I became unwell, that was like a lesson. It was like it had to happen to me to knock me out at that pattern of comfort.
And it’s a challenging industry because I know and I’ve experienced the bigger your get, the more ferocious it gets. It’s very, very competitive. And for years, I’ve managed to build to a level where I was not seen as a threat, and that was really integral because they left you alone. And by being left alone allowed me to actually flow in this little channel of my own really well.
And looking back, I could have done it differently. I was seeing competition as a threat rather than a challenge to actually step up into and, you know, tackle. And that again is a mindset shift that I’ve gone through all these years. But when I went into hospital and was still running this company from a hospital bed with one hand, like I couldn’t feed myself properly. I couldn’t go to the toilet. I couldn’t move. But I could still run a company with that one hand that I had working.
Looking back, it was hilarious to even think about that. But I think it was at that point that I realized that, this has all been fueled by a lot of negativity unfortunately. And while it’s given me an amazing chance to recover, while it’s given me this time with my children before they start school, this isn’t my bigger picture.
It’s not going to fulfill me. Doesn’t feel fulfilling. I’m actually starting to not enjoy elements of it. And that fuel, that desire, entrepreneurialism is not easy. It’s actually much easier to go and sit in a job and you have to kind of have that passion. And it became a point where I stopped and was forced to reflect because I was stuck in a hospital bed – can’t move.
Have an awful lot of time to think when you can’t move around, and you can’t just be busy and doing stuff. And I think that everyone should take a bit of time away from the business, even though at first I understand you’re building that momentum. So, you’re working really hard. You have to do that at the start unless you’ve got a big investment. You’re going to be wearing quite a lot of hats. Well, actually use that to think, “these things I don’t enjoy doing, will it have enough passion to keep doing these at some point in the future?” Because that’s a really good test as to wherever this is what you actually truly want to do.
But it could be like it was for me. All of a sudden, a tool and experience because the things I’ve learned from that business that help me in the one that I’m running, that really does resonate with me. It’s not been a journey for nothing. It’s been a journey where I’ve actually discovered myself through doing a business that after 10 years I didn’t enjoy anymore, but you have to find out what you don’t enjoy, because that will guide you to what you do enjoy.