I’m not a marketing or promotional whiz. I’m not usually an aggressive, single-minded person. I don’t keep a neat, organized desk. I don’t think I’m the best at what I do; quite a few of you could do my job, given the opportunity. I even suspect my life will be complete if I never become a millionaire.
In short, I don’t fit the stereotypical profile of a small-business entrepreneur. Yet, here I am, running a small business we started from scratch 12 years ago that remains viable today.
Our business, like the ones we’re writing about in this month’s Advocate, started in a home and grew from there. I wondered often at the beginning if we were on the right track; I still wonder about that just about every day.
When we hired our first employee, she worked out of her car. There was no office then, just a vision that probably seemed more like a mirage to her. Why she started working with us, I’ll never know; perhaps we should have followed her when she moved to Florida to become rich selling medical supplies.
In the beginning, we told our families every night after completing our paying jobs that pretty soon, we wouldn’t have to work so hard on our business startup; we actually believed it ourselves some of the time. Finally, they stopped believing our “when I’ll be home” projections and, eventually, they stopped holding the long hours against us (most of the time).
In the meantime, while we followed our dreams in our new office, our children grew older somewhere else; so did we, for that matter.
All of this doesn’t make us much different from the women we’re writing about this month, or any number of you who are building businesses either in real life or in your minds. Each of us has a dream and a plan, and we all secretly harbor expectations of fantastic wealth and luminescent fame. Some of us are more sure of their direction than others, but that isn’t necessarily a positive: If you know exactly where you’re going in business and hold fast to that plan, you can generally rest assured that you’ll be the only one there when you arrive.
These women are wrestling with the problems and opportunities of their businesses while balancing their families and their lives – that’s basically the life story of entrepreneurs everywhere.
And probably just like them, we keep telling ourselves as each new year begins that this will be the year the business finally turns the big corner onto easy street.
Of course, if running our business ever did become easy, how much fun would that be?