Living the lemons to make the lemonade!

Sharney Ryan, media and retail business owner, tells how some of her father’s final words started her down the path to entrepreneurial success.

Sharney Ryan


My Dad had stage 4 cancer. He didn’t have long, so we talked…

He had that unique clarity of someone who has seen the inevitable and who, deep within themselves, had quietly said “okay”.

In what was my final conversation with him, I was complaining about the big corporation I worked for. They lacked flexibility. They didn’t care about their customers. They pushed their staff to sell-sell-sell. Service, respect and customer care never made it off their mission statement and into their operations.

He simply said: “Start your own company.”

I heard it and immediately made excuses for myself.

“I can’t. I have a mortgage. I need a steady income.”

He listened and told me something that started my life turning.

“There is no better motivation than the need to succeed,” he said. “Trust yourself. You can do anything you put your mind to.”

Typical, loving, supportive Dad advice right?


Was he right?



I heard him, yet my fears were still stronger than my desires.

I didn’t quit my job. I didn’t start my own company. I kept working for the big corporation. Then something happened…

“Please step into my office.”

I sat down across from my manager and he started speaking: “regret to inform you” – “into liquidation” – “everyone” – “the end of next week”.

I can’t remember the exact human resources euphemisms that were used, but the message was clear and the situation inevitable.

Just a few weeks earlier, my husband and I had received confirmation we were pregnant…

In the manager’s office, I took the news coolly. I kept my professional composure until I got back to my desk. Then I panicked.

No one will hire me now that I am pregnant, Now that I have horrendous morning sickness too.

What will I do?

At home that night my husband reminded me of Dad’s advice.

“Baby, when life gives you a lemon, make lemonade!”

It’s become so overused that it’s a cliché. So what? It’s still true.

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 21.51.17



The big distraction that kept me comfortable enough not to choose courage was suddenly gone. Without it, I had clarity.

I was facing the inevitable end of a materially comfortable career that had made me unhappy. A job that asked just enough from me to keep me tired and pliable, but not enough from me to fire my tenacity, not enough to satisfy my hopes and dreams.

That job had given me things I wanted, but not things I actually valued.

I had clarity. Dad had been right all along: “There is no better motivation than the need to succeed. Trust yourself. You can do anything you put your mind to.”

I decided to start my own business.

18 months later; failures later; successes later; long days, even longer nights;

I now own & grow three businesses whilst raising a beautiful baby girl.


The moral is simple:

You – the person reading this right now – you can do it.

Whatever you put your mind to – you can do it.

Trust yourself. Go for it. You can do it.

It will not be easy, but you can do it.

So find “it”.



I started this story talking about my Dad, now I’ll end talking about my Mum…

She often says: “Nothing worth having ever comes easy”.

She’s right, like mums usually are.

Get to know Sharney on LinkedIn or Facebook



One Comment Add yours

  1. Rhonnie says:

    Beautifully written Sharney


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