Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I'm answering a question from a reader who started a small business: what happens if you pursue your dream and start your own business, but you hit a bump in the road? The question is not if, but when! Because you will definitely hit a bump in the road at some point. If small business ownership was easy, everyone would be doing it! It comes with challenges, road blocks, and obstacles, but it also teaches you so much and grows you as a person in ways you could never imagine. You don't grow all that much when life is easy and smooth all the time, right? That's right! So here are my thoughts on encountering bumps in the road.
First, let's get really honest. During the first 2 years of my business - so we're talking about 2017 and 2018 - I would get so discouraged at times that I would look for jobs online every so often. And by "every so often" I mean every other month or so. It's true! It is overwhelming to be the owner of a new business (obviously!). There were so many times I thought I would never make it, where I thought I would run out of money, where I thought it was just plain easier to collect a paycheck from a regular job. Know ahead of time that it is 100% normal to feel this way. I think I might have applied to three or four jobs, but usually things would turn around before I even got around to submitting a resume. I'd feel more positive for a time, and then I'd feel discouraged again and I'd start looking at jobs again. Looking back, I realize the act of searching the job listings comforted me. It reminded me that, even if things got really bad, I wouldn't be living on the street. I would simply get another job.
You see, people don't pursue their business ownership dream because they are so incredibly fearful that it won't work out. But let's talk that through. So what? If it doesn't work out, you'll just get another job. And, if you're smart enough to start a business, you're smart enough to know when it's time to do something different. You'll be running out of time or money, or both, and you'll start looking for jobs before that happens. Maybe you'll get a part-time gig and continue working on your business at the same time. Maybe you'll just abandon the entire thing altogether. You might have a few rough months. Or maybe you'll move in with your family for a short while as you re-group. But the fact of the matter is, you aren't going to be homeless, friend-less, and family-less if things don't work out. You just aren't. So stop making decisions based on fears that are not likely to happen.
Let's get back to the main question now: what happens if you hit a bump in the road? Well, you'll navigate it the best you know how! That's all. That's it. Well what the heck does that mean?!? It's going to be different for everyone. Maybe you have a rock solid family that supports you every step of the way and their kind and inspiring words are something you can turn to whenever you are feeling discouraged or overwhelmed. Maybe you have a rock solid faith and you'll turn to prayer. Maybe exercise is your safe haven and you'll turn to a workout class that makes you feel like you can conquer the world. Maybe, for you, it's all about meditating and taking things one day at a time. Maybe it'll be a combination of things. Remember what I said before? That starting a business teaches you amazing things and grows you as a person? Well, here's where that happens. Maybe one of the things you'll learn during your small business ownership journey will be the coping skills to get through hard times. Eventually, you'll overcome so many challenges that you'll come to know and understand that you can make it through anything. That happened for me last year. I signed a lease to open a brick and mortar store in February 2020, just a few weeks before we found out about the virus. What did I do? Well, I didn't freak out! I didn't quit! I just took it day by day and turned to my coping skills toolkit. Now that I survived that, I know I can survive anything - whether that be in business or in life. That's just one of the ways that owning my own business has grown me as a person.
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P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I'm in the process of creating a Weekly Journal board on Pinterest so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. I only have a few weekly journal entries on the board right now, but I'm adding more on a daily basis and hope to finish it next month. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h over the past couple years and I want to make it easier for you to read the entries that resonate most!