Behind every small business, there’s a story worth knowing. All the corner shops in our towns and cities, the restaurants, cleaners, gyms, hair salons, hardware stores- these didn’t come out of nowhere. -Paul Ryan
I had the pleasure of putting together a marketing campaign for a local small business last Fall.
Great idea, cute company, sharp owner wanting grow and it seemed to be a solid small business with a bright future. I really enjoyed working with her for several weeks. She promised to call and keep me up on her progress. I called to check in a few months later and she assured me she was “right as rain”.
We played phone tag a few times and tried to set a date for a cup of coffee. She seemed to be dragging her feet and I started to wonder if I’d done something to upset her. Then she called and it all made sense.
“Meg, I don’t think I’m cut out to be a business owner,” she starts and the flood gates open.”I thought it would be fun and I’d be doing better by now. It’s just too hard.”
She began sobbing.
As I listened to the challenges she has encountered and the concerns for the future, it was clear that she was suffering more from a bad case of long term goal-itis than a major business catastrophe.
She had set some great big beautiful goals but it was taking three times the length of time she expected to even be able to check off some of the smaller stuff on the list. She was frustrated and couldn’t see any way to make changes because she was simply too invested in the situation in all aspects of her life.
I asked her to tell me again what some of her friends and family had said to her when she announced she was going into business for herself. They thought she was nuts. They said some pretty cruel things that cut me to hear.
Why did you open those doors anyway?
“I felt like I had to. My entire life I wanted to do this so I finally did something for myself.”
Kudos to you dreamer for reaching right up into those stars and grabbing a few for yourself!
In the first year her little dream is completely paying for it’s self but not much extra… yet.
She started to realize that she just needed to set some better goals for who she is today and not hold herself to the bar set by her old self that had not yet walked through the small business fire.
I’m pleased to report that she’s decided that she is a business owner and that’s where she’s going to stay.
That’s the thing about setting goals… they are not meant to be firm but evolve to tailor fit us.
They are simply a guide that we make. WE MAKE… that means WE are in control. We make it happen. We don’t fail ourselves and others when we don’t reach the exact point we set out for if we find something that ignites us to travel in another direction. We fail ourselves and others when we do not strive to reach for our dreams and seek to become the best possible version of ourselves.
We owe it to each other to dream.
If there were no dreamers we wouldn’t currently be enjoying the internet, personal computers, electricity, indoor plumbing and sadly there would be no color or beauty in this world.
The Handsome Prince and I have become, by default, serial entrepreneurs.
We set some large goals with a timeline that spans over the next twenty five years. We know to arrive at the end point that we have to work and build carefully. We slowly and methodically are adhering to the rough sketch we’ve set out to accomplish. The only way we can succeed is to back each other 100% and make it happen together. Sometimes it can be really scary but you can’t stand next to the tree and expect a boat to appear. You have to chop it down, hollow it out, build some ores and then your ready to hit the lake.
We’ve been trying to get a smog shop open in a town that is rather difficult. For the last six months The Handsome Prince and his partner have been busting some serious rear to make it happen.
We’ve been open for business almost a week.
What people don’t see behind the shop signage is the blood, sweat and many tears that go into business.
Now that the doors are open, we’d like to get a couple new pieces of equipment and finish off the bathroom. Where does one come up with $10,000 extra after hemorrhaging cash for six months to get the doors open?
We looked at each other racking out brains for a solution.
In the name of going all in, because I believe in us and I know what we are capable of… I asked The Handsome Prince to sell my truck.
Bye Bye gas guzzling but awesome “Betty” the White Truck. You’ve been great and we love you more than you know. We do thank you for your monetary contribution to our dream fund babe!
So I drive a cheap old Honda for a year or two and maybe the kids will be able to drive it after me. I’d rather have a business that can produce a future great truck that I’ll love just as much. The Handsome Prince has worked so hard for this. This is one of his dreams and I could not be any more proud of that man.
So many times in our life together we could have taken a pass because it’s just too hard but we didn’t. Call it stubborn or stupid but we know where we want to go and we just keep tackling whatever gets in the way with a wonky tag team kind of effect.
Confession: 65% of the time I don’t feel equal to the task that looms before me.
I have to psych myself up before I tackle it with everything I have.
I have yet to work a project that I didn’t learn some excellent lessons and produced work that I am very proud of. I know my doubt lies only in my ugly duckling syndrome and that has no place in our businesses. It was really hard to train myself to believe that I can rather than wallow in the it’s just too hard place. It is hard. Its hard because its worth it and you can do it.
It’s not easy to turn your dreams into a tangible reality.
The world doesn’t owe you anything, rather the opposite. Sometimes we can align ourselves with people that build us up and help our dreams to have the courage to take flight. You can’t allow the negative stones thrown by those in your life that rock the boat with their words. Rather than allow the acidity of their opinions to burn into your mind and leave scars upon your heart, think of those critics with pity. Yes, it is prudent to listen to the counsel of those that have been in the trenches already to help guide you but don’t change because of fears implanted. Pity them that have opinions but no drive to create or change for themselves. Sad that they won’t acknowledge their own spark and be so busy in pursuit of what makes them tick that they don’t have time or energy left to toss a stone in anyone’s direction. Forget about the notions or fears and pursue with passion. You’ll learn what burns as you go.
There is nothing you can’t do, absolutely nothing.
Yeah, I said it to you… you right there. You are freaking amazing! You have the ability to do so many wonderful things. Don’t be discouraged, rather dig deeper, be honest with yourself and get creative. You have everything it takes to be successful already. No one else will believe in you if you don’t know with every fiber of your being that you have this nailed… even if on the inside sometimes your feeling a little freaked out. Research and don’t be afraid of asking questions because you need every piece you can to put a fantastic puzzle together.
Of course it’s hard.
Nothing is a match for someone hell bent on making things happen.
It may not be all you ever dreamed or maybe you found other fantastic adventures along the way but it is yours and that’s something to be mighty proud of.
It’s just too hard?
Nah, that means the story is just getting good.
Support local small business, friends…
There is an incredible story, a heart beat and whole families making major sacrifices in the name of great things all around our communities.
That is just plain awesome.
Lots of Love,