Much has been written about the challenges of being an entrepreneur. The long hours, salary sacrifices and risks levels make it seem up there with base jumping as a desirable activity for all but the bravest, most hard-working visionaries.
As founder of international beauty brand Studio10, and a serial entrepreneur myself, I know it’s not wrong to suggest that this can be a challenging way of life, and not one that everyone is suited to, but I also love it and honestly believe it to be the way of true luxury.
One of the perks, for instance, is the travel. I get to see wonderful places, and when there’s time, explore parts of the planet that when I was younger and in a more ‘stable’ environment I would never have had the confidence to do.
The generation before me would have been aghast at the idea of a lone woman my age, never mind a wife and mother, touring the world – stunned at the idea that it would have been not only possible but desirable to criss-cross the globe free from the company of others.
I’m embracing it, though. The rise of the net has created a global economy that means it is not only a joy but a necessity to be courageous in staking out new markets and pushing into new territories.
Travelling for work is when I analyse things, working through problems and often have my best creative brainwaves.It’s also true to say there is a certain luxury in owning something you have created. Of course, I must answer to stake and shareholders, and meet the financial predictions needed to maintain our stellar growth, but how we do that is ultimately my decision.
No micro-managing boss, no fixed, rigid decision making process based on bureaucratic nonsense. My team and I have created a fluid, responsive and open creative environment.
Challenges are met head on and whilst we do have efficiency processes, we don’t spend hours meeting paperwork targets.
If I need to shift gears and change directions to ensure the security and growth of my brand, then that is what we do.
Finally, as a parent, being an entrepreneur has allowed me to build a unique, special relationship with my family that had I been tied to a rigid working environment, I’d never have had.
I work extraordinarily long hours, but my success and discipline mean that I can, and do, enjoy special breaks with my girls. The international friends I’ve gained through the business mean that we’ve enjoyed a truly multi-cultural dynamic in our breaks and now the girls are older, they can come with me.
Seeing my work is a unique education for them. And that is the true luxury in being an entrepreneur. It means freedom. From routine, rigidity and fixed hours. The price is high, but the rewards? They’ll always be worth it to me.
Grace Fodor is the founder of British beauty company Studio10.