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3 things that helped me in the early days of starting a business.

starting a business

Running my own training business was the pipeline dream that plagued me every Christmas/New Year holiday break for at least seven years and probably more. Usually, I would design logos and search the Internet madly about how you start a business.

But the holiday break would end, and I’d return to my job. By the end of that first day back, I was completely immersed and feeling slightly indispensable. (By the way, no one is indispensable!)

Jane Wundersitz

WunderTraining Founder

Commenced WunderTraining September 2012

What if I did my absolute best and it didn’t work?

I had read somewhere that people on their deathbeds more often regretted the things they did not do, rather than the things we did. I owed it to myself to give this a chance.
I adored the company and my role as State Manager and Trainer at The Body Shop- there was some shifts in the business model coming through, and ownership was changing… it was my time.

I had a mortgage, two children and needed to make it work.

And for those of you considering the same thing, here are the ten things I learned when I started my business eight and a half years ago.

1) If you think you will live to regret not doing it…you MUST do it. Life is too short for regrets.

On my fortieth birthday, I had an eclectic mix of people from different friendship groups celebrating with me.  I wanted to have something different to add some conversation and decided to invite a palm reader for a fun element to the night. There was a continuous stream of people who were pretty chuffed with her insights, so I decided I needed to join the cue and had my palm read. Her main reading was about me running my own business – to great success. Now, I’m not endorsing palm reading, and maybe she saw my eyes spark as she leant into this vision. But what this episode made me realize is just how much I wanted it.

There will be a moment that tells you it’s now…don’t overlook it. This is the moment you decide you REALLY WANT to do it despite all the reasons why you shouldn’t!

2) Really think about what brings you personal fulfilment. Hold on to this during the rough patches.

My passion was in creating training curricula, that was research-based and had an impact. I often worked into the night searching for books and insights into best practice for leadership and what led to high performance in individuals and teams and loved trying to digest research papers. So tediously written and tough to read but in each, there was a nugget of gold.

In year 12, I had studied Physics, Chemistry, Biology,  Maths and Art… I liked learning how things worked and had an intense creative streak. Anything with an essay component was not my thing- give me an experiment, a hypothesis, some time to explore and an oral presentation or poster to deliver, and I was alive. And what fascinated me more than anything was people –  I grew up in a small country town and went to boarding school from 12 years old. I loved it –  you got to know that people are hugely diverse, and you really saw people for who they were – authentically.

I found the science of wellbeing, flourishing-  applied positive psychology in 2004 and wrote a program called ‘Activate Happiness’. Our staff at The Body Shop loved it- simple but powerful wisdom that made sense. To me, it was tapping into true human potential. It also aligned with The Body Shop principles of bringing your whole self to work and their core value  ‘Activate Self-Esteem’.

It incorporated values as strengths, a focus on relationships drawing on the work of Christopher Peterson, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi flow theory and Martin Seligman’s new theory on Positive Psychology and finished with some research into the power of Gratitude. I felt like I had found the wisdom of the world and delivering that first session was a profoundly memorable experience.

I had taken my strengths assessment – my top strength was creativity followed by hope, curiosity, love of learning, fairness and leadership. It all made sense.

This was ‘my buzz’ written in 20 words …. as recommended by one of the many business books I looked at. ‘ Building and delivering positive, personally and professionally insightful, visually exciting, interactive and highly contemporary research-based workshops that have an impact.’

This hasn’t changed.

Picture Below: 2013 Safework Week Event: ‘Live Life Forward’ my first hero program that evolved from the foundations of ‘Activate Happiness’. Applied Positive Psychology was still a pretty new field-  this session booked out with 186 participants. I had a new banner and a new hairdo!

3) You need two years’ worth of perseverance and a hearty work ethic to establish yourself.

When I was starting out, I sought the advice of an established career coach/psychologist and recognised professional speaker. I really wanted to know how long would it be before I knew that I was ‘in business’… it was working. He asked, “could you persevere for two years?”

Two years, I thought. Yes, I could do that. I made the decision I would commit to giving it everything for two years. This helped me push through some early shaky patches.

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