Develop a Rhinoskin
I resigned my corporate job in October 2008, and my first Breckland Orchard bottles came off the production line in February 2009, so I had a four month period when I was a ‘pre-start up’. I was doing ‘stuff’ behind the scenes, but for most of that time I didn’t have a business name, let alone a business card or anything else that would have made me appear like a credible business person! Nevertheless I attended lots of networking events and just hoped that no one would quiz me too much, as I didn’t entirely sound very knowledgeable!
And one of those events was the Enterprising Women Conference held at Abington Hall in Cambridgeshire in November 2008. It was my very first ‘big’ event…….it was ever so slightly daunting, but I was made to feel very welcome indeed. And I guess because it was my first big outing in my new ‘non-corporate’ identity, many of the speakers on the day stick in my mind even now.
Emma Jones from the wonderful Enterprise Nation spoke in the afternoon and she was great. Karen Darby was the keynote speaker in the morning, and I can vividly remember many of the stories she told on the day. She certainly came across as a dynamic lady with a clear sense of direction and purpose. I can remember she had us near rolling around the aisles in laughter.
And I came away from hearing Karen Darby with one important lesson that has stood me in good stead – develop a rhinoskin. Karen explained in matter-of-fact terms that as an entrepreneur you needed to develop a thick skin, not take things personally, and no matter how many rejections carry on.
I’d been in sales for over 15 years, dealt with all the major supermarket chains and probably thought that I’d lived a lifetime of developing a thick skin. BUT its hugely different when its your own business…it absolutely is.
So when in doubt I think back to that advice I had pre-start up and button up my Rhinoskin and set off all over again.