Who is your support network?
Truthfully speaking this post has taken me about 2wks to write! And if you take one thing from this post, let it be the following…
It comes down to saying that you are GOOD enough at what you do
Believe in yourself
You don’t need approval, acknowledgement from anyone else. You’ve got the passion, drive and determination and you can make this happen.
Build your community, with those that bring positivity in abundance to you.
Remove negativity from around you and make the time to invest in yourself.
Follow your dreams!
I wanted to highlight a few things along my journey on becoming an entrepreneur. I think coming from an Indian background, culture and upbringing this is a subject that I feel has been a huge learning curve for me. From starting as a side hustle for some years to going full time, from the support from selected family and friends to those who just don’t want to know...to then being called inspirational is an achievement in itself. But truth be told,
“haters going to hate!”
When I first started Mani’s Creative Service, it was almost a joint venture, from my previous post about Mani’s you’ll come to learn our granddad Manibhai Mistry has some very creative grandchildren whom all resonate with some creativity across the board from print, textile print, graphic design to two of us now design in the wedding industry.
This one really has some personal truths, but I feel that as I’ve grown and developed my business I feel I have learnt a lot about myself, my support network, working on building my confidence and standing by what I believe.
I feel that as a daughter, wife and daughter-in-law has had a huge shift, however, there is a lot of stereotypical views that are still adhered in our Indian culture. I am talking first hand of this. After I got married, I gave up my job as a digital graphic designer, working with key fashion retail brands in the UK. We moved abroad and my husband was the main source of income, however, I was moving to a European country and had to face learning a new language to try and look for a job. (Us girls do give up a lot!) I had a backup plan, as working in the retail e-commerce fashion can vary in different countries. As a creative, I took on learning and qualifying in providing beauty treatments from nails to facials, threading and waxing. I am not one to sit around and knew I needed a backup plan if I couldn’t find a design related job.
Cutting a long story short, I did grow my business over in Switzerland both as a creative and providing beauty services. The expat community over there is fabulous, as you can imagine moving to a new country, building friendships were key, but truthfully it was an amazing support network out there.
You truly are a beauty!
We moved back to the UK, packed up our belongs, drove through to London with our Man with a van (Another amazing guy!) and started our new job search in London. We finally found our new home in west London and after starting back to work as a freelance graphic designer, I was working back with fashion retail brands from Nicole Farhi, Harvey Nichols to Dune and UGGS. I knew something wasn’t right, my passion for wedding stationery was still strong and was growing. Business was beginning to flourish, I was working harder on building my business and before I knew it, my passion, drive and enthusia were bringing me work. I had a huge break where I worked on creating a bespoke logo for a couple and working with some of the UK’s Finest Asian wedding industry professionals.
I feel that being an Indian there is always a stigma attached to seeking help, whether it’s asking for help from family or elsewhere. My past taught me that the people you believe are going to be there for you, really aren’t the ones supporting you. It takes courage, endless hours of hard work, confidence and determination to break down that barrier. I wanted to feel accepted, supported and acknowledged in my community and in my family, but I quickly learnt that this wasn’t so easy. It was the support. Don’t get me wrong, my parents, husband, friends have shown unconditional support along my journey. The hard part was accepting that the support you thought you needed and approval I wanted was nothing more than wanting to please people. I didn’t get the support from family I wanted, it wasn’t easy, I questioned myself, doubted myself but I wanted to work through this.
The stigma attached to being an Indian/Asian is that you should follow a discipline like accounting, law, finance etc, so when it came to explaining to people in the first couple of years of starting my venture, people almost switched off the minute I mentioned design. It almost felt like it wasn’t a pre-approved Asian qualification, where would it get me? Is that going to build me a good career? A person's expression reveals 1000 words (for sure!)
I knew if I wanted my business to work, I needed to invest in myself first. I was lucky enough to have built some amazing relationships with photographers, wedding planners, other stationers and others both in the Asian Wedding industry and the English wedding industry. I found a coach I wanted to work with, the biggest hurdle was accepting it’s ok to invest in yourself. To grow and build a business you can have help and guidance and I love the community I have become part of.
After my first few sessions, I learnt to let go of wanting approval, working on positivity, earning a living following my passion, not to compare myself, removing the negativity around me and so much more.