On the 21st July 2015 – MyLadyBug went live into the big bad world, it was visible for all eyes to see and scrutinise. Here I was sitting at home at my kitchen table, probably in my pajamas let’s be honest and I had just taken this massive step of launching my first business. Now what?
A year on from that day I’m celebrating one year in business “Happy Birthday MyLadyBug” and our biggest month on shipments – What a year!!! I could never have imagined the journey that MyLadyBug was going to take me on. Opening my own business has been the most rewarding experience. Yes it’s been hard and it’s not all fancy days out, but the bad days help you recognise and appreciate the good days. Here are some things I learnt along the way.
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” – Steve Jobs
1.Build your network BEFORE you need it!
Looking back now, I may have been alone at my kitchen table but I didn’t feel alone – I had family and friends that were supporting me along the way – and an even more powerful support from contacts I had made at networking events and through social media. A network that grew very organically without any agenda in mind, only that I wanted to start talking about my business, and what I was building.
2.Find your VOICE!
Let’s face it, Periods aren’t exactly the sexiest thing to talk about, and I’ll admit I did struggle with this for a while biting my lip and trying to read the room before I mentioned the word “Period”. I remember thinking to myself “If I can’t say that bloody word (literally), how am I ever going to get other women to feel more comfortable with the word and issues related to it”. It’s that passion that helped me find my confidence and voice. Now I get a little kick out of mentioning such a taboo word period – rebelling against the many messages I grew up hearing – hide that now, it’s your secret, don’t let your brother see, be discreet, whispers in public bathrooms, avoiding eye contact in the fem-care aisle; the list goes on. Periods aren’t something to be ashamed of I’m on a mission to empower others to speck more openly about theses issues.
3.Get OUTSIDE your comfort zone!
It’s really cliché I know – you have probably heard it a million times over, but it wasn’t until I broke down what it meant to me as an individual that I actually understood what it really meant. Everyone has their own unique comfort zone, and we all have the power to step outside it if we only choose to. So I started to draw a map outside my comfort zone; what was out there? On the diagram there was everything from public speaking and networking, to business talks. I also believe that in order to grow and develop as a person you must constantly challenge yourself. With this in mind I began to see opportunity within situations I would previously have stayed clear. Instead of saying no to speaking at an event I started saying yes – and with a little practice and rescue remedy to calm the nerves I quite enjoy it now, but this all leads back to finding my voice and passion.
4.Your VIBE attracts your TRIBE!
It’s incredible to see and observe the world respond to something you have created – this I think has been the most rewarding aspect to starting my own business. When I began to approach bloggers about my business I felt I had to approach the subject in a sensitive way – I began by telling some of my own stories and experiences – I wanted to encourage others to realise that it’s ok to talk about their periods “the good, the bad and the ugly”. I was blown away from the response I received – every woman had such a different story to tell and what’s more important these stories were real, full of impact, rawness, truth and honesty that other women like myself can relate to and empathise with. Our first month of shipments was scary, another huge milestone in my business where subscribers began to receive their care packages. A few days after dispatch social media lit up with posts from our MyLadyBug care package subscribers. I never imagined our customers were going to take photos and post to social media, nobody goes into their pharmacy and takes a photo of their tampons, but because MyLadyBug was so unique in its packaging and offering, suddenly periods weren’t to be hidden, but celebrated.
5.Don’t worry about the HOW?
That dreaded question I have spent many a night worrying about! We could spend a lifetime researching the perfect strategies and formulas for business. MyLadyBug had no blueprint – (i.e. how to build a period subscription business) – there was no right or wrong, the possibilities were endless. MyLadyBug was never this one idea, it grew, it adapted, it evolved through the process of getting different peoples’ perspectives and from being opens to ideas and inputs to shape what i was building.
“Your job isn’t to know the how, its to know the what and to be open to discovering, and receiving, the how” – Jen Sincero
6.Find your MANTRA
I didn’t come this far, to ONLY come this far, a simple phrase that ignites fire back within me when things are tough and I sometimes loose focus. I have had many fights with myself like “just get a real job Maryrose”, no wait “I didn’t come this far to ONLY come this far”. We get few chances in life to go after our dreams; don’t let fear of the unknown paralyze you from moving forward. Starting this business I never thought it was going to be easy; periods have long been taboo but knowing this only somehow makes me even more persistent and determined to bring more awareness to women’s health.
“I didn’t come this far, to come this far” – Unknown
Thank you for taken the time to read my first blog post and to the many people that have subscribed in the last year. When I set down to write this originally it was quite hard to remember every individual moment that the year has brought. Instead I wanted to share with you a 6 important lessons I’ve learned that have helped me. I would love to hear your thoughts on my first post, and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in contact at [email protected].
Maryrose Simpson – July 20th 2016