I love my work as I get to meet so many amazing people, like Gabi the Founder of the incredibly inspiring Chroma Stationery. Gabi has grown her business quickly, and after suffering from fatigue and overwhelm, she’s coming back stronger. And in doing so I asked her to bring her top tips together to help you do the best in business and keep a balance in your life.
Read on for Gabi’s story…
What I learnt from taking time off work
I created Chroma in February 2014, whilst in my final year of University. It was my final major project; a pile of notebooks, some sample stationery & a USB stick. Fast forward four years and Chroma Stationery has become my full-time job and what I love to do every day.
I’ve grown Chroma from a one notebook brand, selling to friends & family to stocking numerous ranges, selling to website customers across 28 countries & in bulk to brands including American Airlines, Boots & Max Factor for events, workshops & client/staff gifts.
Chroma is a brand all about colour & individuality, each product is made to order and is completely unique to its new owner. With 20 colours to choose from and foil embossing, every customer creates their dream piece of stationery; whether that’s with their logo, name or favourite quote. I love nothing more than creating personalised stationery that makes people smile.
The journey of creating and running your own business is far from an easy one. Although I love being self-employed and can’t imagine not working for myself it produces its own unique challenges. From feeling like you work 24/7 to the worry of no fixed salary, it’s not always plain sailing. The lack of sick pay is something that really struck me, when in September 2016 I had life changing surgery to have my large bowel removed and fitted with a stoma bag. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease when I was 16 and always suffered with months of illness every year. I quickly learnt to plan ahead, stay on top of work and organise my time well enough to get me through my GCSE’s, A-Levels & Degree whilst also battling whole terms off, surgeries & hospital stays. However, the ultimate surgery in 2016 was a big one, with months of recovery needed. As an independent business owner, largely running things alone this could have spelt disaster. 18 months on through a lot of perseverance, patience and determination, Chroma is still running and thriving. Here is what I learnt from being forced to take time off.
Build your support system:
The people around you are everything. Not only could I not have gotten through my op without them, but Chroma would have also come to a very quick halt. Whether it was a friend to make sure my Instagram engagement stayed active or my parents who packaged up order after order when they got home from work, I leant on the people around me. Having that support system of people there is crucial, regardless of if you’re going through a tough time; everyone needs that group of people to cheer when things are going well too.
It’s okay to take a break:
Everyone needs a break. Whether that’s a beach holiday, a weekend away or a digital detox, giving yourself time out away from your business is crucial to help it grow. I was forced to stop and take time off, but it proved to me how vital that really is. It’s easy to feel like you’re on a hamster wheel of commitments, work & deadlines, but it’s amazing what stopping and taking a breather than do.
Life is too short:
It’s a cliché but true. Life is far too short to worry about the small things and since coming out of recovery and getting back on my feet I have sworn to not sweat the small stuff. Whether that’s the anxiety of doing a pitch or worrying about networking (both things which as an introvert I don’t naturally feel comfortable doing), I now can’t help but think – what is the worst that could happen? Why not give it a go?
Ask for help:
We can all fall victim to feeling like you have to do everything yourself, not wanting to show weakness or admit you might need some help. I was put in a situation where I had no choice but to reach out to those around me. 18 months on and I’ve not broken the habit of asking for help, or advice when I’m not sure what to do next or how to achieve something.
Finally, the world won’t stop if you don’t check your emails:
Or update your Instagram or post that blog post. Yes, all these things are brilliant for your business, but if things have to wait an extra 24 hours, in the majority of cases, nothing bad is going to happen. I now try my best to not be a slave to my phone or inbox.
I think the majority of these things are common sense. They’re what everyone already knows and has been told but I for one rarely took note or implemented any of them. The break from work ultimately benefited both myself and my brand. Chroma has continued to grow and succeed and I now (try) to put my phone on silent and plan holidays… this time on a beach.
Gabi kindly produced our Limited edition Make 2018 Brilliant journals for our VIP Mentoring Group, and our Mind Ninja Journals for our Sports Performance Gain the Edge Coaching clients. Gabi is quick, efficient, and delivers with speed and style, I can highly recommend her.
From reading this blog, if you would like a special Limited Edition ‘Make it Happen’ personalised notebook just email me in bright pink or navy, your colour and address, and we will post out to you for £12 including a free pen!
For any bespoke orders do pop Gabi an email and mention this blog and Kim for extra special care and support.
Thank you Gabi for this awesome blog, so many valuable tips.
If you would like Entrepreneur & Mindset Coaching to help you grow your business and/or transform your life, whilst having fun and avoiding burnout, pop me an email or visit our gain the edge page here.