I know, it sounds cliché...I left a lucrative corporate career to start my own business. I wanted more freedom, more flexibility, more autonomy. Blah, blah, blah.
Actually, that’s not how it started for me. I am one of those rare breeds who LOVED working in corporate America. I love the intricacies of corporate culture. I love the seeming inability to impact change. I love the rules, the containers and even the politics. And much to my dismay, corporate kicked me out. Fly, little birdie, fly! We’re moving your department to Dallas without you, so fly, little birdie! Yikes! Ugh! Yuck… I was a little birdie who didn’t want to fly. I wanted to stay in my little nest, thank you very much.
Well, that’s not 100% true. I have always been an entrepreneur at heart. Haven’t we all? When my kids’ dad and I divorced, I made them pillows with our faces printed on them. That way when they were at the other parent’s house, they could still see us and hug us. I thought it would make a cool business for other single parents or for military families, but I didn’t have time to launch it. I was too busy with my corporate career.
Fast forward a few years and I began knitting fingerless gloves for friends of mine who hula hoop outdoors in Florida. Their hands were cold during their morning hooping sessions and they didn’t want to wear “fingered” gloves. Needless to say, buying gloves of any type in Florida is virtually impossible…almost as impossible as buying bathing suits in Minnesota in February. So I custom made gloves and sent the gloves to them. That would’ve been a cool business to start, too, if I had time. But who has time when you’re working a 9-5 corporate gig and raising four kids?
Fast forward again to that fly little birdie part. On Thursday they told me my department was moving to Dallas (without me), on Friday I cried and on Saturday I decided it was now or never to start my own business. I was turning 40 that year, my kids were starting to say “Mom who?” and it took a PhD in logistics to decipher my daily calendar with everything we had going on. Entrepreneurship had to be easier, right?
Luckily for me, I had a fantastic mentor who helped me start my first business. It was a challenging, bumpy start but I am proud to say that I now publish a home improvement magazine for the Savannah area called Home Advantage. Check it out at www.LowcountryHomeAdvantage.com.
I went from working in companies with 10,000+ employees to running my own team of 4 – all of whom telecommute. I don’t have an office. We don’t physically see each other very often and we definitely spend more time alone than together. Learning to be a solo-preneur has been the most challenging part of owning my own business. I thrive on interactions with others. I love to bounce ideas off people. I like to hash out my issues in small groups. And now, it’s just Cupcake (the yorkie/shih tzu mix) and me. That’s why I was so thrilled to discover One Million Cups. It’s a great excuse to get out of the home office and to connect with other local entrepreneurs. It’s nice to have a tribe.
I can definitely say that I have been bitten by the entrepreneur bug. I have resurrected my favorite part of my corporate career and have launched my second business as a Women’s Empowerment coach.
Who knows where this journey will lead? I can honestly say that ten years ago I would have never imagined being the owner of my own business, especially not a home improvement magazine. I know for sure that owning two businesses wasn’t even a possibility back then. That’s what’s so cool about being an entrepreneur. While the corporate lifestyle is full of rules, containers and paths that are pre-determined by the powers that be, the sky’s the limit with entrepreneurship.
I’m glad this little birdie got the opportunity to spread my wings and soar!