A few months ago, I was encouraged by some very clever and astute women to apply for something called the Entrepreneurial Spark.
It’s a program which will be starting up in August, and it sounds pretty amazing for people who run small businesses or who have a business idea but need help getting it off the ground.
Aside from anything else, the program provides a shared office space in one of the most exciting parts of Bristol – which is pretty much the only reason I applied. (that’s a joke. I mainly applied because I like the idea of having colleagues to go to a work Xmas party.) (just kidding. I actually applied because it sounds amazing and I like the idea of my business becoming super amazing and even more people eating better and feeling more clever!)
Anyway, so I applied to the program, and lo and behold, they invited me to pitch to them, and attend an interview.
Which sounded cool, scary in a The Apprentice kind of way, and also far beyond anything that I could possibly be able to do.
Luckily, one of the very major benefits of sheer optimism is, well, the kind of optimism which feels that doing something scary like that can only be good and useful, regardless of the outcome, so I accepted the invitation and promptly started to feel sicker than a sick pig because I’ve never done a pitch before.
As all sick pigs do, I then turned my attention to crafting the very best pitch possible, following the guidelines. Trouble was, even when being done at the very fastest speed possible, my pitch was still going to take me three minutes minimum. This was bad. I had to shrink it down AND slow down my speech too. Thus began a period of my life which involved me pitching to myself in front of the bathroom mirror at least 20 times a day.
I did it though. I cut and reshaped, styled and curled the pitch until it was word perfect, and took me 58 seconds, talking at a somewhat normal speed. I pretty much deserved a slice of chocolate cake just for that bit of work.
The interview happened. I turned up thinking it was going to be just me, pitching and interviewing. It’s a good job that I had been thinking that, because when I got there and realised that I would be doing my pitch in front of the other candidates, I had to fight the urge to run out of the building and head straight to the pub.
So in we went; we pitched, and we listened, and we talked and we were interviewed, and by the end of it, I felt pretty happy. Yes, I may have broken all the rules when it comes to interviewing: don’t talk too fast; don’t get overly excited; be professionally calm; have a business plan etc, but still, I felt ok. My natural optimism (see above) said that even if I didn’t get in, it was a good experience, and at least I did my pitch well.
And then began the waiting.
They’d said it would be up to 10 days before I heard anything.
So when I’d not heard anything within two days, I was feeling desperate. Waiting isn’t written into my DNA.
Getting an email 48 hours after the interview was a good sign. Yes. The sign that I had been waiting for all these long, long hours was here. And it wasn’t even a sign. It was just an email congratulating me on getting in.
So, I screamed. And I danced. For a long time. I phoned my husband mid-happydance, and he nearly had a heart attack when he answered the phone and heard me puffing away while trying to speak and not scream even more.
What does all this mean? Why am I telling you this?
I guess it means things are going to change. And I can’t even tell you anything about those changes because I have no idea what they will be.
Which is exciting, and scary.
What I want to say about it all, is that I glad, and grateful for everything that has gone before. My random ideas, my successful endeavours and even my total flops.
Here’s to a new chapter in the life of Claire Stone Nutrition.