Happy 2nd Birthday To Us!

It’s our second birthday today! We can’t quite believe it… we spent most of this week convinced that it was actually our 3rd birthday. But as it turns out, we’re still only two... crazy, huh? But boy, what a two years it’s been. If there’s anything to be said about starting your own business, or working for an early stage startup, it’s that it’s quite a ride. If you knew what you were getting in for at the beginning, you’d probably never sign up - but once you’re in, it’s better belt up because you're not getting off, and honestly you wouldn't want to anyway! So to celebrate two years of pollen, we’re talking about the lessons we’ve learnt along the way - so if you want to start your own, or are just really interest in the behind the scenes of business, this is the one for you! 

DON’T EXPECT GLAMOUR 

CEO of your own business, networking events, fancy client meetings, working the hours you want to work - living the life right? Except really, you’ll spend half your life in a hair net and leggings -  heels and ‘officewear’ becomes a foreign concept, in fact at times the outside world becomes a foreign concept (but it's ok, because your colleagues will probably be great). And you work in what ever space is available. Sure, co-working spaces seem awesome, but we opted instead for the likes of an army reserve centre, a community centre and now an arch in vauxhall where daylight doesn't quite reach us. Because for us, being at the centre of production, next to the kitchen, seemed much more important than having a swivel chair and communal foosball table. Glamorous? No. An endless supply of free snacks? Yes. We'll take good over glamour any day. 

YOU’LL FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU’RE DOING MOST OF THE TIME 

No matter how many self-help books you read, and business workshops you attend, you’ll never be quite prepared for what is coming your way. But that’s sort of the fun of it. Yes, you’ll spend significant time googling what certain words or abbreviations mean, and when it comes to meeting the big guys and the investors and lawyers, you’ll probably feel a little out of your depth. But there’s nothing a serious passion for your product and a slick of red lipstick can’t handle. And learning so much is fun - it's empowering and exciting, and you seriously feel like you could rule the world at times. 

TAKE RISKS 

Just starting is the biggest risk you’ll take, but don't let it stop there. Go with your gut, and if it feels right then do it. Even if others didn't do that, or some advise you not to at the end of the day, you usually know best. And if it doesn't quite work out, just take it as a learning curve. But even if you don’t see how you could possibly pull it off in that time frame, or with that budget, just go for it. In the end you will make it work.  

SEEK ADVICE 

Surrounding yourself with like-minded, supportive people is the best thing for you, especially in the first stages. We’re fortunate that the wellness industry is such a friendly one to be in, but you still have nothing to lose from reaching out to other small businesses. We’ve asked advice from, and befriended endless people in the industry, and without getting their tips, or seeing how they do things, we would have been much more clueless when it was our turn to do it. And likewise, we dish out the advice, and pass on tips as often as we can - we're here to support one another, not compete. 

EMBRACE THE LONG HOURS

When we first started out, back in the lunch delivery days, we thought this would be a lifestyle business. Oh man, how wrong we were. The ‘finish by midday’ dream quickly became a 9-5 which has continued to expand to a ‘we missed all sunlight hours’. BUT, it’s worth it. It’s hard work, but team morale is incredibly important to a happy, successful business - and just one negative comment can bring it down. Sure, staying in the office until 8pm to finish your HACCP report isn’t exactly the definition of fun, but so many other aspects are - and it still beats your typical desk job by a long shot! 

NURTURE YOUR BABY 

We’re incredibly protective of the quality our products. We’re probably, in fact definitely, our biggest critics, and if even one thing is wrong, from the colour of our hummus to the positioning of the seeds on top, then we’ll be the first to point it out, and change it. But that’s not a negative, it just means we have a product that we’re proud of. But it’s also why we’ll never outsource. Or why, if you do, you should be 100% certain the quality will be maintained. It’s your baby after all, and you should expect only the best for it. 

The list could go on, as does the learning (and the google search for business jargon basically never ends), but the two years have felt like 10 when we think about all that we’ve done and learnt, and we’re so happy to get to do it each day. So our main thank you today goes out to you. Without you we wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing, and we wouldn't be constantly creating and striving to give you exactly what you want, so thank you. Eat dessert tonight - you deserve it. 

pollen + grace