Over a year has passed since I last updated my blog. That’s not because I’ve had nothing to say, we all know that’s impossible! On the contrary, the last two years have brought significant professional changes that have kept me completely immersed.
With great change often comes uncertainty and discomfort, and it can be difficult to corral your thoughts into an interesting and insightful article in the midst of so much disruption. During periods of significant change, I’m also someone who ‘goes to ground’ to figure out the puzzle and the choices that lie ahead.
This gives me the time to deliberate on my thoughts, my strategy and my environment. After almost two years of careful deliberation, I feel confident about the position I’m in and the journey ahead. Now, I’d love to share some of my stories with you and perhaps hear from you on whether you have experienced similar challenges?
So, what’s been going on?
One of the last blogs I posted discussed how Affinity Capital was evolving and slowing down as a business. You can read the full article here. The Affinity team and I had essentially come to the conclusion that the company had reached an optimal size and had achieved more than we ever could have dreamed of when we started out as budding entrepreneurs over seven years ago.
We had begun the process of slimming down our client base and only considering very specific equity partners that met a certain list of criteria. This decision, as terrifying as it was for me to leave the comfort of everything I knew, freed us all up to explore new opportunities outside of the business.
Like many people, my values have also changed as I’ve got older. My 20s and early 30s were all about striving to have everything: a high-flying career, multiple successful businesses and ever-increasing wealth. I’m proud to say I’ve achieved many of the professional targets that I’ve set myself. The thing is, there is more to life than business acumen and wealth.
My husband Miles and I knew that running two time-intensive businesses between us that required 100 per cent of our attention and focus was never going to work. We needed to make a difficult decision and channel our time and resources in one direction.
Making the choice between Affinity and Staude
Choosing between Affinity and Staude was never going to be easy. Both businesses were built on our blood, sweat and tears.
Each had their own pros and cons. Affinity was older and more established, which provided predictable revenue and much-needed stability. Unfortunately, the business was operating in an area that I no longer felt had longevity or growth opportunities. Structured investments were also facing major changes that would have threatened the size and scope of the space, creating less revenue at increased risk.
Meanwhile, Staude was younger, more capital hungry and needed us to allocate significant resources to support and maintain its growth. Nevertheless, we could see substantial opportunities for the long-term future of the business and, crucially, the organisation’s values and goals aligned strongly with my own.
At Affinity, I came to believe we couldn’t alter the values of the space that we were operating in. That may very well change in the future, but I already saw the incredible potential at Staude, and I knew there was a real chance to make an immediate difference.
Taking the plunge
For me, I knew that I wanted change and I had this overwhelming gut feeling of where we needed to focus our time and energy. And so, I decided to partner up with Miles to help him run Staude Capital. Yes, I started working full-time with my husband!
I see your face; it is a reaction both Miles and I have experienced quite a few times over the last couple of years! And you know what, you’re right to make that face – for many people, a work partnership with a spouse would simply never work. For us, while it continues to be a work in progress, I have started to experience glimpses of true career brilliance and personal fulfilment.
Over the last 2 years, and on the anniversary of signing my contract as a Director of the business in Nov 2016, Staude has gone from strength to strength. It was always going to be a great success with Miles at the helm, but the question was going to be: at what cost? Now, with both of us steering the ship, everything is shared and there is something truly comforting and liberating in that.
Miles and I will always see our careers as an essential part of a fulfilling life. But priorities often change, and we now place more emphasis on a healthy work-life balance and spending quality time with our loved ones. This, in my humble opinion, makes us even better in our careers.
Looking ahead to 2019
The last few years have been full of challenges, opportunities and change. Some good, some bad, but all with the aim of building a life that allows Miles and I to focus on the things that we value: professional fulfilment, a positive work-life balance and the chance to work together on a shared passion.
Speaking of which, I’ll be exploring the nitty gritty of working with a partner in more detail in my next blog. Stay tuned to find out more about the separation of labour at Staude Capital and how I feel our different skills, experience and personalities are a perfect complement for each other … most of the time ?.
And this time, I won’t wait a year for the next update!