Journey of A Thousand Steps
I know you read that title and immediately you thought Indiana Jones Adventure or There and Back Again, like a Hobbit’s tale. Sorry to confuse you but this is simply my recollections of my first year full-time working side-by-side with my wife.
Yes, I learned many new skills, tips, and tricks as I became a full-time business partner. However, the best part of being involved was running a business with a spouse. Over the years, I have heard the horror stories told by couples of trying to be both married and in business together. I have also witnessed those who succeeded and thrived to be successes. So, let me relate to you some of my observations.
The decision for me to join in this adventure was not done on a whim. Nope, I had lots of reservations and being the C & S type individual that I am (if you are familiar with the DISC Assessment). They have a high need for confirmation that I could be successful. With Amy’s gentle encouragement and a not so gentle push, I dove in headfirst.
To start, we had to move quickly and gain clients whom I would manage their social media and e-mail platforms; replacing one’s income over night does not just magically happen. Yet within a couple of weeks, we on boarded a couple of clients and I began working to learn several programs and the nuances of creating graphics, text and content that would make them stand out. I knew how we did it for our biz, but it is a whole different responsibility when you manage for others. The amount of software, resources and YouTube videos out there can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many of these had already been vetted and tested so we were already ahead of the curve, due in part to Amy’s years of business ownership.
Gaining clients? How does one start to find these golden nuggets? Well first and foremost they do not miraculously appear at your door. Amazon Prime does not deliver them to your porch. You must by all intents and purposes become a hunter and farmer. Not in the literal sense, more as a networking and relationship builder. I quickly got involved in several diverse groups who meet to network and create business relationships. Some of the best groups to investigate are Chambers of Commerce, Rotary, Toast Masters, professional groups, and of course general local networking business groups. And if you must, create your own. We have done this and found a lot of success with it.
Relationship building is one of the most critical requirements to any business, especially in the service industry.
People often ask me how I like working side-by-side with my wife. Yes, I know there are many husbands out there who claim that it would never work for them. I will tell you, as would my wife, that it is not always sunshine and rainbows. We do have disagreements and challenges working together. However, we also bring to the table different strengths and have learned to stay in our own lanes most times. The one thing that I can admit, is that Amy has taught me so much more than I ever knew about running a business.
If you pictured running your own business as easy, then you need to read carefully. In the brief time that I have been full-time in our business I have had to learn more skills, watched more tutorials, read more books, and attended more trainings than I have through college and a 30+ year career. I can say honestly, most of it I have enjoyed, especially when it comes to graphics and video editing.
The old saying is absolutely correct, “readers are leaders.” You should always be learning something that relates to your business.
A former work colleague and friend recently asked the question, “Has it been worth it personally and financially?” To this I replied, absolutely.
Personally, there is a self-fulfillment and pride when you can say, “we own our own business.” You just cannot say that when you are employed and someone else calls the shots. When I get up in the morning and I look into the mirror, I am The Boss! As for the financial piece of that question, my answer is better than expected. (As a side note my former J.O.B. would not be able to afford me now.)
So, I would have to say that this first year has been quite the adventure and it has just gotten started. I am very much looking forward to the second year and all that it will provide. If you are considering a jump into entrepreneurship, go for it! You may find you like it. Stay tuned for the next chapter, a treasure may just be around the next corner.