Thursday, 25 June 2015

Day 175 & 176: The ideas in the clouds and being spoilt ;) LONG post alert.

175: Before Landing

Best thing about flying is seeing the many different clouds - today's ones keep me entertained for a while ;) 
It's a nice, quiet flight. I have a seat far away from any screaming babies this time so I wait until we are cruising safely (using this word loosely here I suppose!) above the clouds so I can pull my laptop out and write about my little yesterday's epiphany...

For years I've been trying to figure out a business model for Aspire Academy. A model that is not a riding school model where horses have to work for their food. A model that doesn't rely on groups of riders riding in groups but one that relies on quality relationship between a horse and rider. A model that doesn't require one horse to be ridden by tens of different riders a week.

One that is financially viable, economically sustainable and most of all, creates something valuable for the riders taking part and for anyone involved in provision of the programmes.

For years I have struggled because I have a marginal interest in making profit...It's an odd thing but making money has zero motivation for me.  However, I care deeply about the success of my venture and I want the project to make money in such quantity that it can go on supporting everyone involved.

For a brief moment I considered running the project as a non-profit organisation but after learning more about it I knew that wasn't what I wanted.
I then thought about crowdfunding, seeking supporters, maybe applying for some funds or grants but there has always been an issue at the core - I did not have a vision for the structure of the business in the same way as I had it for the subject of the business. Why would someone want to invest/support something when the creator didn't clearly see where they were going with the their business...?

In fact, I even hesitate to call it a business sometimes as it really seems like a hobby with an income attached.

When I got back from Portugal in February 2013 I started searching and learning more. I have accumulated various ideas and actioned some aspects of the venture but there's always been something missing. This annoying feeling that if only you had that one ingredient all the others would slot into place.

And then, on Tuesday afternoon, while browsing shelves of Waterstones in Oxford, I stumbled upon that ingredient...

I know what you're thinking. Horse riding is as far from "most pressing human needs" as it gets but it's the core of Yunus' idea that gave me mine. 

As I speed read the chapters standing by the bookshelf I feel like in a sci-fi movie where you can see your thoughts as jigsaw on a computer screen. You find one that makes you realise the image you are looking at and so all the other elements spread around also become easy to fit in. Surreal! 

There is still quite a bit that I want to consider and a couple of people I would like to run my idea through. As I sit here looking over the clouds I think 'how on earth did you not think about it earlier you idiot'. Then again, I might still be taking idiotic chances with all this. I might even be thinking - do I really want to go ahead with this...We shall see! But I do have goose bumps all over my arms ;) 

175 After Landing and 176 in full

The biggest and most wonderful bonus of doing my training clinics in Poland is that I get to spend some precious time with my family. I always try to time it so I have a couple of days with my parents on both sides of the weekend and as I stay over at my aunt's place over the weekend I get to see her, my uncle, my cousins (one of which I injected with horse virus at the age of 4; she is still riding and is taking part in my clinic :) ) and my brother with his family as they live not too far from the yard. It's the sort of working affair I really love and miss it so much when I am in the UK grinding everything on my own.
It would have been so much easier to reach my various coaching dreams with that support on the island! Alas, some things just happen the hard way ;)

The being away factor brings me spoiling treatment each time I am back. I get breakfasts in bed, my wonderful Dad drops me off anywhere I need to go, and my Mum transforms into a SPA consultant ;) I am very lucky and doing everything on my own has truly taught me to appreciate them more than I ever had in my teenage years.

Dreamy little barn and paddocks opposite the cemetery 
 The day I land I go to sit in a shop with my Mum until she closes (she runs a swimwear shop) and we catch up on life while serving customers ;) I used to do a couple of days a week in the shop with my brother when we were at high school and feel like I could probably still sell a few bikinis now ;) My Mum taught us well ;)

Dad arrives and we decide to visit my the cemetery of course since she didn't keep a deal we did in April and didn't wait for my June visit. The evening is so perfectly sunny and warm. There is a cute little barn just opposite the cemetery gates. It's in the countryside in the village my Gran was born and where I spent many a childhood holiday.
We bring some candles, fresh flowers and water the plants. Sit there in the sun with her for a bit. It's sad.

The next morning I sleep until 9am and my SPA professional aka Mum prepares a breakfast in bed service.

Just in case you are wondering, no, this is not a typical Polish breakfast ;) My mum loves healthy lifestyle and "clean" food so I get these "vitamins on plates" kind of meals every time I am home.

We chill for the entire morning and then my Dad drops us off at a tack shop as I need some new boots - I managed to destroy mine with the amount of walking I do so didn't even bring them over since the sole was coming off.
I find a perfect and super comfortable pair and meet a young girl I taught a couple of years ago so we have a nice catch up while browsing horsey goodies. She is buying new long boots for her first higher level dressage test at the weekend with her pony so I tell her next time I am around I will try to watch her compete.

I ask her advice on the boots and she gives them thumbs up. Always trust horse mad teenagers with what's good and current on the clothes/equipment market ;) Apparently I chose the best boots (good job the price tag is as comfortable as the boots!)

Then it's off to my still living-and-well Gran and Granddad (who is over 90 now but doing well) for a dinner. Gran D. is a dumplings professional and so of course the dinner includes them. First course is a veggie soup which I used to dislike but I am quite fond of now. And then it's pierogi (Polish dumplings) with berries and greek yoghurt plus some cheesecake for afters. You can never just turn up for "something" at Gran D.'s. You get the whole shebang ;)

I chill again in the evening with my parents, catching up with my online stuff while my Mum watches some odd series set in Turkey five hundreds years ago...She loves period dramas it seems!

Busy day tomorrow picking up my UK rider from the airport and taking her for a spin around Warsaw with my brother :) Look forward to it already!


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