MayKing Tea – My first business

I guess I should start at the beginning of my entrepreneurial path.  It’s a question that I am often asked.  How did you start MayKing Tea (MayKing Tea, MayKing Mistakes, can you see a pattern forming? 🙂

MayKing Tea was the first business I started and I have my dear friend, Steve (whom we’ll call Steve because that’s his name 🙂 ) to thank.  Y’see both of us were in the throes of our IT careers when he asked me to go into business with him.  He was thinking a coffee house in London with an emphasis on art, poetry and films.  My immediate thoughts were ‘what do I know about business?  I have been a corporate career girl all my life.  I have a degree! I didn’t leave school at 15 like most entrepreneurs I have read about’.  My friend was extremely supportive though.  He said that with my training experience, my outgoing personaliTEA (did I mention I love tea puns?) I would be great front of house whilst he dealt with the back of house stuff.  We did some research.  I read a lot of business books and realised, that there are lots of successful entrepreneurs who didn’t quit school to start their journey.  In fact there are many entrepreneurs who became successful after 40!

Back to my research and I reluctantly went into a coffee chain to check out the competition.  I say reluctantly, because I’m not a fan of big chains, preferring instead to shop local where possible.  I had to call my partner at the time to find out from him what coffee I ought to drink!  When I looked at the tea menu, all they had were tea bagged tea and herbal infusions, and that was when I had my eureka moment.  It wasn’t a coffee house I was interested in but a tea house!

My friend loved the tea-house idea, and we refined our research.  As time went on, however, we realised that our visions for the tea-house were quite different and so we went our separate ways, but we are still friends.  So that was, my first lesson I learned in business.  You can’t go into a business if you’re not passionate about the product or service (in my case, coffee).  If you go into a business purely to make money,  many authors will tell you that the business is probably doomed to fail.  I have a passion for tea.  I have been drinking the beverage since I was six years old so with my passion for tea in mind, and having done my research, I decided to start on my entrepreneurial path.

MayKing Mistakes – Why This Blog?

I remember listening to an inspirational speaker who had made his millions, and was giving the audience some great lessons on being an entrepreneur.  He made us gush when he was telling us that his first business was at the tender age of 7, selling lemonade on the sidewalk.  He made us laugh recalling how he left school at 15, tried several businesses and explained why they failed.  He also gave valuable advice to all the business startups that attended his talk.  He was an awesome and inspirational speaker.

Whilst he was showing off pictures of his boat with his bikini clad girlfriend to demonstrate his success, I remember thinking, that whilst his story was inspirational, I couldn’t see how I, at the start of my entrepreneurial path, could reach his dizzy heights of success (sans bikini clad girlfriend).  I couldn’t see the rungs in the ladder of success.  I could imagine the speaker at the top of the ladder waving down at me and others in the audience who were possibly attempting to climb the first rung, but the rungs leading up to the speaker clearly weren’t visible.  I just didn’t know how I was going to climb that ladder!

I vowed that day that as I start my journey as a business owner, that I would climb the ladder but explain each rung as I climbed, so that others could climb with me.  Before I started my first business (at 35 years old, with a degree in Social Science and a 10+ years IT Training career behind me), I vowed that I would become a speaker and recall stories of my successes and mistakes at every rung in the ladder and to stretch out my hand to those that needed help to join me in climbing the ladder of success.

Now, I haven’t reached the dizzy heights of Anita Roddick, Vera Wang or Jack Ma.  In fact I am nowhere near, but I have started climbing that ladder and I have delivered several talks about the successes and mistakes I have made in my journey so far.  I wanted to share with you how I got to where I am today.

According to Bloomberg 8 out of 10 businesses fail within the first 18 months.  I hope that with my blog, that we can try and reverse that trend.  I leave you with this great quote from Winston Churchill care of BrainyQuote.

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Welcome to MayKing Mistakes and I do hope you enjoy my blog.