Owning my own business isn't something that I grew up wanting to do. In fact, it was quiet the opposite. Watching my parents (both entrepreneurs) was more than eye opening. I saw the rise and fall of businesses first hand. I saw the high growth potential of a local business and the pride that comes with it - all to be over taken by a corporate conglomerate. Granted, my father was able to retire before he hit 50, but I've also witnessed what happens when your life IS your work and to suddenly have it taken away.
That's not at all how I pictured it.
But, this big ol brain of mine had different ideas. Facing what could be your last meal changes you. I still don't know if it is for the better - just shy of three years later, I can't decide. This is what I do know after falling into owning my own small business the past 2.5 years.
Being the CEO rocks AND sucks at the same time
Making decisions, being in charge, finally having the final say is fantastic. Not having anyone to brainstorm with, bounce ideas off of and just have a friendship with stinks. There have been nights where I've asked the dog for an opinion. Learning to fully trust your gut is hard - especially when your gut is rather scared of a big leap.
Forget the Business Plan
When I set out to create Old Town Suds the plan was to dominate the green cleaning world. Now, I've slowly been transitioning away from my originally products. It isn't because I don't believe in them, it's because that isn't where the company is growing.
At first, it was difficult to accept this. How could I let go of the products that I became known for? Items that I use every day and that people love? BUT our fans love certain products more. I had to accept that. What is going to cause us to double our revenue again in 2014 isn't by sticking with our cleaning line. I've learned how to sunset projects and investing gains in new product development.
My business plan? It's a few words. It's based on numbers. It's based on where I can see Old Town Suds excelling.
Finding the Right People
Lately I've been talking about my Small Business Group. I <3 them, seriously. I couldn't do what I do without them. This past year, more so than in year 1, I've learned how much from them and myself. It's amazing how much you already know, sometimes you just need to talk it out.
If I could go back and do this all over again, the first thing I would do is get a group of smart entrepreneurs together to talk to. I would also try to find a few that fit my ideal customer, it makes getting some entry feedback easier.
Remember to Relax
Not working is super hard for me at times. I'm even writing this post somewhere between DCA and Indianapolis, IN. I'm flying home for the weekend, but I hate to waste the 1.45 hours I have before I need to sleep. That being said, this is all I am doing for the weekend. I'll be enjoying time with my family back home. It's important to have fun, play, remember your friends, and just let your brain relax. Even when you aren't thinking directly about your business, your subconscious is. I bet you'll find your best ideas come when you aren't even trying. (don't forget to keep something handy to write them down!)
What are your questions about starting your own business ? Are there things you wish you had known when you started?