As part of National Entrepreneurs Day, former pupils share their stories of starting up businesses and the lessons learned along the way. Lucy Buglass, Class of ‘02, shares her key points to hitting the ground running when setting up your own business.

You do not have to have all the answers

No one in life has all the answers and you don’t have to have it all figured out. You just need to start.

I’ve found myself saying “yes” to pieces of work before I’ve mapped out how I’m going to deliver it. I know that I can do it, I just haven’t figured out how yet. You don’t need to have all the answers before you begin, you only need to be clear on your next step.

Get comfortable with saying “I don’t know”

Being able to say “I don’t know” has been hugely helpful for me on my entrepreneurial journey. Honesty really is the best policy and I’m no longer afraid to admit when I don’t have the answer. In fact, I now love it when I’m asked something by a client that I’d never considered before because it presents me with an opportunity to increase my knowledge and learn something new. 

Feel the fear and do it anyway

Being an entrepreneur means existing outside your comfort zone, which is where the biggest and most valuable learning experiences happen. It’s simultaneously the most terrifying and exhilarating place to be.

It’s not about being fearless, fear is hard wired into us. When we feel fear or nervousness our brain automatically activates our fight-or-flight response that prepares our body to either fight or run away from danger.

But our brains aren’t very good at telling the difference between preparing to run away from a bear and being super nervous and excited about the opportunity to pursue a passion. It’s never not going to be scary, which is why we must feel the fear and do it anyway.

You win some, you learn some

Traditionally failure is seen as quite a negative thing. Afterall, no one likes the feeling of failure. Right? But what if we reframe failing as learning? That way, you’re either going to succeed or you’re going to learn something. And that’s not a bad place to be.

So fail fast, and fail well. Accept when something hasn’t worked out, chalk it up to experience and move on. Afterall, if we’re so scared of failure that it stops us trying in the first place, we’ve already failed.

So, go for it.

Enjoy the ride

It takes bravery to take a chance and pursue a dream and I have the utmost respect for anyone who gives it a shot. Will it work out every time? No, but you’ll always be able to look back and think “Hey, I was brave enough to give that a go when most people are too scared to even try. That’s pretty cool”

I’ve run my own fitness business now for just over a year and thankfully it’s going well. But when I was starting out, I always thought that even if it wasn’t a success I’d at least be able to look back and think: “Ah well, that didn’t work out but at least I tried” rather than living the rest of my life thinking, what if?.

Lucy Buglass shares her entrepreneurial journey