Being an entrepreneur can be a painful business sometimes.
It’s often a steep learning curve and we find ourselves building the runway as we taxi down it.
Sometimes we don’t always manage to dot every i and cross each t.
And often it doesn’t matter all that much. Ignorance can still be blissful in many scenarios.
But sometimes it isn’t.
Sometimes we can make a big mistake. A mistake with painful consequences. An unintentional mistake, one that we really, truly did not mean to make. But make it we do and then we need to handle the consequences.
I made that sort of unwitting, significant error recently.
And I’m sharing the story so you can learn from my mistake.
This is a tale of clouds and silver linings.
I’ve talked before how in late 2012 I realised that the Small Business Marketing Agency business I had built from my dining room table to an office in Chatswood, four full time staff and clients across three states was no longer a fit for me. Yep, from the outside it ticked all the boxes, but from the inside. Not so.
I had changed and so my business needed to change as well.
And so began the journey into my Second Act, the merging of my head (strategy) with my heart (intuition).
I twisted and turned and moved and circled and expanded and contracted and did all sorts of things over the next 18 months as I sought my business sweet spot. I didn’t wait until I got it all sorted out and perfect (or I would have been waiting forever).
I kept moving until…
Wham. I found it. Your Second Act – stepping into the business that’s been waiting for you. The one that was patient whilst you got your “other work” out of the way. The one that was bubbling away inside of you, ready to surface once some of your responsibilities became less demanding and grace you the space and grace and time to step up and expand.
Your Second Act.
I’d found it! And the momentum built with programs, one on one clients, a live event, a Mastermind, all revolving around this concept through the second half of 2014 and into 2015.
Until just recently actually.
Until the bombshell hit.
Two weeks ago whilst on holiday I received an email from a woman who informed me that my use of “Your Second Act” infringed on her trademark that she had registered 2 years ago….A trademark I had no idea about at all.
I was devastated.
Your Second Act felt like it was a core part of me like I had found my home after roaming in the desert for quite a while.
I plunged into disbelief, sadness, anger, dismay, frustration – a whole host of emotions.
At 3 am on Sunday morning (the day after I got “that email”) I was tossing my toys out of the sandpit and giving it all up!
But, I am hugely, hugely fortunate to be surrounded by some amazing supporters, kindred spirits in the entrepreneurial world who know what it’s like to be on this adventure. Who know that the shiny, happy stories on social media simply don’t tell the full story. Who knows that the proverbial does hit the fan sometimes.
Gorgeous belief buddies who helped me see the forest through the trees, allowed me to mope just long enough to hit bottom and then begin to resurface as they lovingly reassured me that the end was not nigh…that I was actually more than just the expression I had chosen to weave into my business.
I’m also lucky to have built up a fair arsenal of tools to help me through confidence hacking, vision trashing seemingly rock bottom moments. I’ve faced a few in my life, as I am sure you have too.
Feel. Deal. Heal is my mantra in these situations – don’t fight your emotions – let them pour out. You’ll bottom out and bounce back up to the surface far quicker if you allow them to flow.
And so once I had regained my equilibrium, “Your Next Chapter” was born… AND has now been trademarked!
The lessons to learn from my mistake?
Oh my goodness there were so many! But these are three great places to start.
- It’s best NOT to just rely on having a URL and a registered business name if you have a concept at the heart of your business – you need to dig a little deeper. In Australia that place is IP Australia. They have a great guide that explains much of what you need to know that you can download right here.
- If you are in business for yourself, if you are a solo entrepreneur in particular, you need a support circle – don’t work alone! Seek out a Belief Buddy – who do you know and trust in your life now who you can talk to about your vision and plans who will support you when you feel wobbly?
- Trust Trust trust – if something is being taken away, it’s usually because space is being made for something much better. Leaning into this concept is a lot easier of you have a connection, a faith in some sort of Higher Power – Universe, God, Source, whatever works for you. Spirituality seems to play a greater role in our lives as we begin to write our Next Chapters – is this something for you to stretch into and explore?
Your Next Chapter actually fits MUCH better than Your Second Act ever did… we each have many, many chapters to our story, way past a single second act and it has been enthusiastically embraced by my community in our (newly renamed) Next Chapter Private Facebook Group (it’s one of the most warm, welcoming and supportive places you’ll find on the net – come and join us)
And, I am SUCH a Bookworm, books are a staple part of my diet – I have at least three or four on the go at any given time….and I am always writing…. journalling is one of the “Bookends of my Day”, the rituals that keep me grounded and connected – you can read more about journalling as a practice here. Even the banner on my website is of a journal and a pen and that was in place way before this new name came along.
And to think I was originally convinced that there was no alternative – woe was me!
I feel buoyant once more and I am in the midst of the process of moving everything over to the new words (I really did have Your Second Act in a LOT of places so lots of rewriting, retaking and re recording is in store for me over the next few weeks…..)
My cloud had a silver lining.
Mistakes are only a problem if you keep repeating them… and don’t learn from them.
And so I wonder, what will unfold for you in Your Next Chapter?
May all your challenges transform into opportunities!