Folks, I’m in my third trimester. It’s been months and I can’t take much more – get this thing out!
To be clear, I’m about to launch my first business, and it’s due any day now. Why do I feel like I’ve been here before…? Oh yes, because in my experience, creating and nurturing a business has pretty much resembled carrying and birthing a baby. Yes I know, I’m a tad dramatic, but how fun to be back in this position again (I’m also sarcastic), and how rude no one has ever warned me of treading paths already (painfully) known.
Have a business they said. It’ll be fun, they said.
Up to this point, I’m happy (no, terrified) to report my “baby” has dropped and is engaged; it’s in position and ready to be birthed (now don’t you go doing something silly at the last minute and turn on me). Oh God, a breached business, arse out first - awkward but entirely possible.
I’m doubting myself and wondering if I can even do this. But there’s no going back; I’m committed and waiting. The groundwork has been done and I'm bouncing on the business yoga ball until its arrival. Thankfully I already know it doesn’t have a big head, but I’m still reaching for the pain relief.
It’s been said there’s never a good time to have a baby, and never a good time to start a business. All I know is that I wanted both and the experience to date has weirdly mirrored the other in similar and familiar ways.
Trimester 1: Conception and secrecy
Circle back to its not-so-immaculate conception in 2021 when I messily fumbled into the world of freelance copywriting. A shiny, happy lifestyle of freedom and joy was portrayed before me; “It’s one of the hardest things you’ll do but it’s so rewarding” (yeah, heard that before). “I’m kind of unemployable now.” Definitely heard that before (where’s my pregnant and screwed crew?). Ok, I’ll be having some of that, I said to myself. One pep talk (with hubby) later and I had conceived. Wham bam.
I was excited, giddily envisioning the future. The business names were flying. The days were mapped out. It was going to be perfect. Every so often I felt a bit woozy, but I kept the news to myself – it was early days after all, and I wanted things to develop further before announcing my news.
Trimester 2: Showing and growing
It’s 2022, I’ve started telling people and I have something to show for it (a website – yay! Very profesh). Business is in gestation, growing limbs, and using up all my resources. I have cravings for branding and colours, and some make me sick. I’m having a little wobble about finances and how I’ll manage once it’s here. Maybe I should have squirrelled away more.
Amongst this, there’s occasional monitoring of the most important element – me.
Am I ok? Mostly.
Am I prepared and have the essentials? Time will tell.
Have I bought things I shouldn’t have? Yep.
Nausea subsides. I’m used to this feeling. I’m carrying this with a bit more confidence and have a due date in sight. I admit I have no idea what I’m doing, and as time goes on, I realise the more I know, the less I know. Time to sign up for a class or two and reach out for support. Wow, there’s more of us than I realised – and we’re all equally winging it with a sprinkling of imposter syndrome. For some, the nausea never went away. For others, they’re facing a hurdle at every corner.
Trimester 3: Contracts and contractions
The due date is around the corner. It’s my first business so it may be late. I’m well into nesting and the finishing touches are being made to the nursery (aka the website). I’ve read all the books, I’ve got all the forms and systems in place - I’m ready. Hubby bugs me for no reason, and I glower at him with my side eye because he’s not the one going through this. I’m snappy, I’m teary, I’m withdrawn. Emotions are like a box of chocolates.
I’m getting uncomfortable as its presence weighs heavily on me every day now. I should probably monitor my blood pressure. Oh my, I think I’m ready!
Oh wait, false start. We go again in another week or so. Annoyingly, everyone asks “Is it here yet?”
We play the waiting game…
The surges are overwhelming. This is not a drill!
Here we go, I’m bearing down. Not quite there yet – dammit, how many more of these to go before it’s here?! Bounce, bounce, breathe. Reach for the good stuff. Hold hubby’s hand, experience moments of delirium, and have a little cry. This is going to take longer than I thought. Jeez, how do people do this more than once? It’s happening, and all I can hope for is that I don’t end up with stitches.
And yes, I may even change its name at the last minute.