Starting a business is scary. I don’t think many would disagree with this. Having a partner in business can be great for easing some of that burden. But what happens when you fall out with your business partner and how do you and your business recover from such a setback?

When I started my business in 2007 there were four of us who were involved. I relied on my partners for their marketing and business acumen. I had no experience in running a business.

A businessman is walking up a set of stairs in a city.

However, two years later I found myself having to make the decision to go it alone as the business stagnated and our values no longer aligned.

It was like the breaking up of a marriage. I’d put my heart and soul into it and given up everything to do it. I gave up my career and defied my Asian parent’s expectations, so giving in really wasn’t an option.

In my darkest hours I thought about what it would mean if I gave it all up. I realised all the people I’d helped would be suffering again.

While reading out an emotional letter from a young customer pouring out her emotions and describing how she’d now regained her courage my husband said you just have to continue and we’ll make it work.

It was apparent I had to find a way to make it work on my own.

There are many things that people don’t talk about in business and the loneliness of no longer having a support system when you are on your own in business is one of these.

All of a sudden I was the CEO, marketing officer, salesperson, and recruiter all in one with no one to turn to bounce ideas off or delegate tasks to.

I realised even though I was on my own I couldn’t be entirely on my own. It felt like suddenly becoming blind. I had to develop much keener senses otherwise I’d fail.

Reading motivational material was great for keeping my spirits up and I remember reading about how Rupert Murdoch had worked his way up and as a result, was across the running of his entire business.

I took a leaf out of his book and became very versatile in the business. Now if ever anyone needs help I can step in because I’ve been across the business from the ground up.

I found informal mentors who could give me advice and I could discuss strategies with them and connect the dots.

Surrounding yourself with people who align with your value system and can support you emotionally too should not be overlooked.

Networking is important to prevent you from becoming isolated in the business world. Go to as many networking events as you can. But be aware that it can be hard to make meaningful connections at these events.

I ended up setting up my own event that I had attended in another city. I then became more strategic in what I was trying to achieve at these events and became more methodical about choosing events.

I built up a team of people who were keen to focus on my cause and were passionate about helping people as I was.

I also teamed up with complimentary businesses to share resources. I couldn’t afford a full-time accounting person but together with another business, we were able to find someone who understood our business.

It took about three years to create my team. I focused on a slower and more organic growth that was manageable for me.

But going it alone is definitely challenging – there can be no doubt about that. The day after I gave birth to my daughter I was back on the emails.

Lastly, don’t underestimate your own abilities. It’s very easy to think you are not good enough when you are down. But remind yourself of your values and strengths. Back yourself. When you have other people you forget there are ways to do things without them.