This is something that’s happened so frequently since I started running a business that it’s been the biggest unanticipated surprise of the whole shebang. It’s small business-related rather than interior design-related.

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One of the most unexpected and astonishing upshots of setting up my business has been the number of instances of pure, unadulterated altruism that have come my way.

The early ones were friends’ eager faces when they got excited about my new business idea and work life. Not to mention their continued optimism and support. Taking it a step further were friends who let me loose on some of their home projects in exchange a few drinks, or a ticket to something. Untold benefits for me…. Reviews, case studies and experience. Invaluable, One friend, Maria, got me a ticket to Barcelona to help with her new apartment, a few Bristol mate let me with their help new homes. We’re all still friends so it must have been OK.

There are so many examples. I made a contact at an agency in bath who gave me a free digital review, and also got me on a free coaching day. So when she asked me to help her out with some free visuals for a shop concept she was applying for a loon for, a naturally jumped at it. And guess what? The universe paid us both back. She got her funding and we are now working on the project together. Another friend has her ear to the ground in another part of my hometown Bristol and has passed me queries about work from prospects and also got me in touch with a retired bookkeeper who wants to use his new free time and skills to help small business owners like me. I’m meeting him next week.

It’s not just friends too. An interior designer with 20 years experience has to an extent taken me under her wing and taken me out on a job. A local mixed tae contact is now my go to guy on kitchens, bathrooms. I am newer to these area so working with a seasoned pro is like gold to me. I’m also part of two networking groups where people have your back. And it’s ace.

And of course the more these things happen the more you continue to give it back too. Be optimistic, and don’t be a dick is my mantra.

I don’t know if it’s about not having expectations, literally none at all, just treating people respectfully and with integrity, being grateful when good things happen, not dwelling when bad things too. Maybe it’s just being hopeful. Some planning ahead is involved sure (gotta pay dem bills), but mostly it’s about responding to – and running with – things as they happen. Running a business has, in some small way, made me live in differently. It’s more unstructured and pulls deeply on my thought process in a way that a more conventional 9 to 5 job didn’t. Every business decision I make now really matters.

This probably seems a bit naval-gazey really. Apols if so. The bigger picture is about what happens when you put yourself out there. If you put yourself in a position where you are the face of a business, or your new job, or a new social scene, or some kind of performance you are hoping for a good response, and maybe some applause but don’t really know if you’ll get that. You might get buffeted about by the winds of change, or get the timing wrong, or have to wait til your intended audience feels your full effect. It’s just good to stop and take note that so many good things happen in the world when people help each other. It builds lives, and builds confidence in real live humans. Surely that is something worth doing ad finitum, on this funny little planet of ours.