The weather today is the kind of sunshine and warmth that usually finds me outside with a camera, or staring outside longingly and dreaming of my camera. Not today though. Today was the first day of the Princes Trust Young Enterprise Program and there was nowhere I wanted to be more than a small room in Oval around a packed table with 15 strangers. I’m home at my computer now and my head is spinning with an overload of exciting and slightly intimidating information. I’ve met some great people, listened to some fantastic ideas and already learnt so much.
We discussed the pros and cons of employment v. self-employment, went over company structures (which now finally make sense to me), and discussed the skills we consider most important when running your own business. This last subject included considering what phrases like good communication, working with others, and setting and achieving goals actually mean and how we might practically learn to improve. It is this practicality, discussed and deployed all day that I find truly encouraging. I finally feel that I am taking action, taking control, of something that has been up until this point, largely abstract ideas.
At the end of the day we had a guest speaker whose talk, among information not applicable to As Yet Untitled and the kind of press we are and are growing to be, was full of gems. Little, perfect ideas, outlooks and business ethos that I found myself underlining heavily among in my scribbled notes.
· Taking time to stop and think.
· Taking each thing a small step at a time.
· Understanding our own potential.
· Knowing our subject in depth.
Mostly though I love his list of vital business principles, the idea that above all else a business should be built on self-respect, commitment, vision, empathy, honesty, generosity and good manners.
Among all the group discussions, listening and note taking I learnt two particular things.
The first is that money scares me. Talking about it, trying to understand it, discussing its complete absence in my life. I am uncomfortable and confused when the subject comes up. I knew this already but today really confirmed it. What I realised what this is ok. It is part of why I have taken As Yet Untitled to the trust in the first place. Budgets, money management, bookkeeping... I don’t have to know how to do this stuff yet; I just have to be willing to learn.
The second is that I actually know what As Yet Untitled publishing is all about. Until an icebreaker session this morning I truly doubted that I knew and could explain what the press is about or why I was there. It’s a huge relief to realise that not only do I know what the ideas behind the press are but that I can explain them, succinctly, out loud, to total strangers (in only 30 seconds).