Guest post by Rachel McClelland (learn more about the author at the end of the article):
Having started out in the entertainment game fifteen years ago, I was full of ambition, big vision and an “anything is possible” attitude. Well…talk about being swallowed up, spat out and trodden on!!
Don’t get me wrong, I made a lot of bad business decisions back then, mainly brought about through a combination of naivety and inexperience, but I did live to tell the tale, regardless of sleepless nights, depression and bailiffs.
Many years ago, I found myself working for the BBC in England before moving onto the glamorous world of film. Stints in the music industry followed and, having set up my own production company, I eventually delivered jobs for the likes of Jay Z, Rihanna and Daniel Merriweather. Things were hunky dory…for a moment…and then one thing after another went wrong. Creditors refused to pay, people turned against me and I lost everything; except my fighting spirit.
Returning from the metropolis of London to my native North West England, I began to realize that I had been misusing my talents and chasing a dream that had never been mine to dream. I decided to study for a Masters degree and it was during a conversation with one of the lecturers that I had a minor epiphany. In one sentence, he pulled together my talents, my experience and my vision, and redefined by entire career.
Because of that one conversation, I began working as a consultant, using my talents correctly and developing new skills, as well as a new found confidence. Since then, I have built up a solid and successful business and marketing consultancy and have delivered projects for a number of SMEs throughout the country, and across a range of sectors. I have truly found my niche in life.
The lessons…I’ve learned the hard way, which is perhaps the best way to learn, and some pearls of wisdom that have come my way:
1. Identify your Talent
The first and most important lesson I learned was to identify my true talent and by that I mean work out what you’re really good at, not what you imagine yourself to be good at. I was always creative, good at handling people and had a natural aptitude for business. So, why on earth didn’t I pursue my business and marketing consulting career sooner you might ask? Well, I was dazzled by the bright lights of showbiz and ultimately became the archetypal rabbit caught in headlights!
2. Watch Every Penny
The second lesson I learned was to be very careful with cash flow and to be fastidious when it comes to handling all things financial. If you do lose money, as I did, search for the positive. In my case, a good friend and very successful businesswoman said to me, “it’s better to lose some money now than to lose a lot when you’ve made your fortune.” That’s stuck with me through some very tough times.
3. Always Listen to Instinct
The third lesson I learned, and we as women are very lucky to have a finely tuned ability to do this, is to ALWAYS listen to our instinct. It honestly never fails me, yet on the odd occasion that I still think I know better, it always bites me on the arse! That old ,”if it seems too good to be true, it probably is,”’ speaks volumes.
4. Never Give Up
According to famous business philosopher, Napolean Hill, the majority of people only achieve true success and financial wealth in their 50’s and onwards. This always keeps me focused whenever I feel like everything I touch doesn’t turn to gold!
About the Author
Rachel McClelland is Managing Director of the STEAM Consultancy which offers research, consultancy, business planning, strategic & operational management, and creative strategic marketing provision working across a range of sectors including creative & digital, manufacturing, aerospace, education, health, financial, and focusing upon start up ventures, OEMs and SMEs. She can be reached at [email protected].