Once an Entrepreneur, always an Entrepreneur?
The other day I went to visit some friends of mine that have a handmade tile business and are doing well. I wanted to see their latest products and just check in and say hi. It had been years since I had seen them.
When I got there, there were hugs all around; and the usual pleasantries of how is everybody doing.
Then they said something that caught me cold.
“When are you getting back into business? What are you working on? It’s time. Come on girl.”
This was a strange thing to hear, it was as if, I was a member of some club and they were too, but I hadn’t been to a meeting for awhile. It was just expected, that I would start something else. Because it’s who I am.
We had done business together while in their original incarnation. It was 2008 when I met them. I had started a little green design/remodeling showroom. Focusing on locally made, recycled products, their beautiful recycled glass tile was a perfect fit. I loved their tile.
I suddenly found myself telling them about some ideas I was working on. It was the first time I had actually voiced them. Said them out loud.
When you start a business and you are the primary force in it, it becomes your child. You give birth to it, feed it, nurture it, and hope that someday it will become what you have always dreamed it would be.
I had had a few businesses in my years, from selling ice cream off the back of a large scale tricycle; to a Child ID business which received attention from the local news. There was always a reason to let go before the big payoff. The ice cream business did not last as I was selling outside the grocery store (location,location,location)and eating most of the profits (yum). The Child ID business started escalating at the time I had my second daughter and it took too much time away from her. They ended without the big feeling of failure because I had pulled the plug, and let it go.
My shop, though, I gave it everything I had. From borrowing money, to lecturing within the community to door to door canvassing. I had built the website, done all the accounting, marketing, project management and selling from day one. And taxes. Ugh.
But sometimes things don’t work out. With almost a quarter of a million dollars in promised work, I shut my doors. It was 2008-2010 remember? In 2011, I closed my shop.
My tile friends then took a big risk by switching gears and materials. They moved to ceramic. It was a more lucrative and manageable medium. Still, great design, beautiful colors. We stayed in touch, as I was a fan of them and their work.
I got a job. I was finally earning money, after I had been so long without a paycheck. I was way behind, having subsidized my life with credit cards and monies left from my divorce settlement. I needed a stable, steady paycheck. So, I jumped in to help someone else’s dream. To hopefully make a difference, and provide more money for my family.
In 2013, that company went away and I was out on the pavement again.
Sometimes stability comes from working for someone else. Sometimes not.
You are gambling on that person or company or product. I gambled again. An idea. Their idea. A representation firm, I was a salesperson. With no real say, no ability to make change or get things done. Again, someone else is steering my ship. I gave it everything I had, time, and a lot of out of pocket money trying to put on a show for potential customers. That risk never paid off.
Two years later, I am on my own again. Looking, searching and really taking the time to figure out my next step.
Right now, the idea of getting on the back of someone else’s horse seems scarier than saddling up myself.
There has been some time, time to get over the “failure” of my business, losing my house to the big banks and moving from my community. I have healed, learned and grown from it all. I wouldn’t take away the people that I met during that time out of my lives. I wouldn’t change any of it.
I’m grateful for the experience, I am grateful for what I learned and how it helped me become who I am now. Who I am becoming.
I love how little things that are said in passing suddenly become a voice in your head.
“Come on girl, it’s time!”
More of my photography can be seen at www.nwbeautyshots.wordpress.com