I paid £10,000. And it was the most heart-breaking thing I’ve ever had to do.
I’m writing this particular post because I have realised that, although many people, business and startups are going through challenges (that some couldn’t even fathom!), noone really talks about them.
I can understand this. I mean, who wants to air their dirty laundry in public?
And despite my gregarious, Nigerian background, my British side… that stiff upper lip, that need for the preservation of my “public image” has always prevailed when it has come to tackling the inevitable challenges that life throws. I tackle them privately.
Now, I started this blog, not only because writing is therapy (hence the existence of Gazelle London), but also because I didn’t think brands, businesses, and startups were transparent enough with their journey to success. Perhaps I could have avoided (or at least better navigated), some of my extremely naive mistakes, had I had access to someone who had made many of them; and wanted others to avoid the pitfalls. I didn’t get that. But I want to share my mistakes with you, so that you don’t make the same ones.
This year I was ordered to pay a courier company £10,000.
Yes, that’s right £10,000.
It wasn’t a cost I was expecting. I had been quoted £2500 for a delivery, and had budgeted accordingly, but I had overlooked the most important part.
The small print.
In this case, the small print stated that, irrespective of the quote (which was recorded and replayed for all to hear!) I was given, the amount I would actually have to pay for the delivery of my goods, would be the amount published on my invoice… so erm… £10,000?
And don’t think I took it lying down! For over a year I tried to fight back. I was shouted at, bullied, then taken to court.. and even through it all I kept thinking, ‘they can’t win.. that wouldn’t be fair‘. And so, as the judge ordered in the favour of this courier, my heart broke as I realised that fair didn’t really matter.
The events that followed made it very clear that this courier company wanted to wipe me out. They wanted to crush Gazelle London, and deplete me as thoroughly, and as quickly, as possible. It was surreal.
And they were nearly successful.
But this my friends, is why I journal. In my intimacies with God, the thoughts of disappointment, failure and exhaustion, were replaced by thoughts of faith, encouragement and a deep desire to keep going.
Fast forward to the day I paid off the courier. I was emotionally drained. My eight year old niece was crying over a game she felt she had lost “It’s not fair… someone took my counter, and I worked so hard!”
“So what happens if someone takes something of yours after you have worked so hard to build it?”
“I don’t know!”
“I do” (my nephew) I remember turning to him, wondering what wisdom he would impart aged six.
“I would tell my teacher”
“And what if your teacher didn’t agree with you” I asked, at this point thinking of the judge who ruled in their favour.
“I would start again“, he said simply.
And so here I am, this time with a little help. Starting again.
Because, you may not win the battle. But you can win the war.
Ps. read the small print.