11 years lessons blog 3
This Blog is by Blick founder Christine and is the third in the series of the biggest/most important lessons we have learnt over the last 11 years of being in business since Christine started Blick in 2008.
Know Your Values
One of the things I appreciate most about working for myself is being able to operate on the values that are important to me. Working for myself also means I can (mostly) choose who I want to work with and for and means I can surround myself with others that share many of the same values. Our team at Blick and the many individuals and organisations we collaborate with on projects and events as well as our residents and even those who attend our events.
I studied fashion and textile design and worked briefly as a textile designer for fashion in Italy before returning to Northern Ireland to start my own business. One of the main reasons for me leaving the industry was I wasn’t comfortable with the values of the industry. Fast fashion and consumer culture, obsession over image, diets and status as well as lack of accountability within the industry on social and environmental issues. I also really wanted to work for myself and wanted to spend more time outside and in the countryside and have a more varied, hands on, creative role that didn’t involve living in a big city and sitting behind a computer all day.
When I first returned home to NI I did a Creative Enterprise course with NESTA and Ulster University. It was a full-time course over 2 months and one of it’s main focuses was on understanding and knowing your personal values. Knowing your values helps you define your path in life. They also help you make decisions quickly and simply and allow you to choose the direction of your business/ career/ life. Your values help you to understand who you want to work with/ for, where you want to live, how you want to live, what kind of work you want to do etc. This is helpful both at the start of your business/career journey and also on an ongoing basis throughout your business/ career/ life as things change and develop and its crucial you can make decisions quickly and simply. Knowing your values helps you grow a successful business/ have a successful career and also more importantly create a life that you want.
Most other business courses I have done have been focused on the business, the idea, the USP, target market, business vision and business growth. Few seem to take into consideration your personal values and vision for your life and future as well as the business which I think is just as if not more important for creating a successful business. Over time businesses and business plans will inevitably change due to external conditions and variables often outside of your control, but your core values will often remain the same, or change very gradually over time.
If you are thinking of starting your own business or want to choose a direction for your career/ life if you haven’t already I highly recommend you spend sometime really refining your values to help you make decisions that work for you on an ongoing basis. Sadly I don’t think NESTA runs that course anymore, but here is a link to the NESTA creative enterprise toolkit with a section on defining your values, as well as lots of other useful worksheets for creative entrepreneurs. There is also loads of really useful info on values, what they are and how to define yours on the Mind Tools website