Five years running Found & Flourish - here's what I've learned along the way

Lara Sheldrake

2018 is where it all began.

I ran my own consultancy at the time and loved what I did but after having my first born, I was thrown into a world of firsts. I was lonely, under-resourced and desperate to connect with other women who understood the trials and tribulations of running a business (solo) and juggling other life commitments.

I knew I needed support and a community I could turn to but I couldn't find anything that resonated or spoke to me in a way that made me feel seen and heard. So I created it.

Cue Found & Flourish.

Five years on, here’s what I’ve learned…

You can never start too soon 🏃💨⏳

The sooner you start, the sooner you can make mistakes and the quicker you can learn.

Community and your network will be key to your success 📣

You are not an island and are absolutely not expected to do this on your own.

Know your numbers 🤓

‘Founder maths’ is simple, make sure more money is coming in than going out. Service based? Diversify your revenue streams (and automate). Utilise your skills and never underestimate the power of your network. Product based? Have an MVC (minimum viable community) before you build your MVP (minimum viable product). Having a community will allow you to validate your idea with existing demand (and test viability), before you start to invest in product build.

PERFECT DOES NOT EXIST. Do not wait for it to be great🖐

Because the first version never is. Looking back, our first launch was, well, far from great🫣 but I’m so proud of 34 year old me for getting it out there when I did. Because after years of testing, iterating and improving, 37 year old me loves the platform now (even if I’m still working on ways to make it better).

Vulnerability really is a super power 🦸

Ask for help because there is an ocean of people waiting to help and support you 🤲

It WILL be f*cking hard at first 🎢

Yes I believe you can work smart not hard and you can work three days a week (if that’s the life you want). But don’t believe the hype, the over night success stories or the fact that it shouldn’t feel hard, because when you start a business and you’re building from the ground up, the late nights, the tears, the struggles, it’s normal.

Never underestimate your resilience 💪

You will have days when you’ll wonder if it’s worth it and if you even have it in you. Then suddenly, you’ll be doing the thing and realise you had it in you all along. Keep going.

Accountability is key to success 🙌

We’re all fantastic at giving other people advice, but, when it comes to our own businesses, we struggle to put all that knowledge into action. The solution here is to make sure you have a mentor or a coach. Have someone who can hold you accountable to achieving your goals so that all your hard work is not in vain. Remember, you’re not an island 🏝

Surround yourself with great people ✨

My team are my lifeline. It’s been a wild ride learning how to delegate and hand over tasks but it’s been paramount to the success of the business. When we learn to let go of tasks draining our time and energy, it frees up more time for us to work on the things that come naturally to us - to operate in that zone of genius 💡This is where the magic happens!

About the Author

Lara Sheldrake

Lara is a speaker, business consultant and the founder of Found & Flourish, an online network for women and non-binary people in business. Lara consults on the topics of community, business and entrepreneurship. She is on a mission to make business accessible and less lonely. Through the power of community and collaboration, Found & Flourish empowers women to upskill, connect and truly flourish.

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