Whatâ€™s it like owning your own business? I get this question quite a bit. Itâ€™s natural to wonder what it would be like to be your own boss. Many people have great ideas that theyâ€™ve thought about launching. Iâ€™ll bet that if you stopped reading for a moment, you could write down at least three businesses youâ€™ve thought about starting. It all comes down to whether you decide to act on these ideas. Iâ€™ve started four companies and purchased an ownership percentage of another since leaving full time employment by someone else. Iâ€™ve definitely experienced the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. The one thing I can guarantee is that entrepreneurship is not all peaches and cream. However, if you do carry a venture into profitability, it is an extremely gratifying experience.
Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. This is a good thing, because we need talented executives, doctors, designers, architects, bankers and lawyers working in large organizations. But, it is for me. Iâ€™ve got the bug and I donâ€™t plan on doing anything but running my own businesses for the remainder of my business life.
Hereâ€™s a quick look at the experiences that have led to my perspective on entrepreneurship:
Venture 1: Lack of experience, poor planning, bad partner match (he is a smart and great guy, but we didnâ€™t have compatible goals or dedication to the business) and an insufficient market led to a failed business. Starting this company was a bad decision and I would have discovered that if I had taken the time to properly research before jumping in with both feet. Learned an important lesson about thoroughly and objectively evaluating your business plan. Even though the business failed, I consider this an invaluable lesson to have learned.
Venture 2: This company became profitable and sustainable, but it lacked the potential for significant growth so I exited to pursue higher growth. Learned the lesson that I donâ€™t want to create a job for myself. I want to create thriving businesses.
Venture 3 | Harvest Creative: Daniel and I are enjoying a profitable business. We became profitable four months into operation and have continued to be profitable the last four years. We have gone from two to six employees and plan on continued growth. We continue to refine our approach, seek opportunities for innovation, grow our revenue, increase profitability and try to learn from every mistakeâ€¦and weâ€™ve made plenty of mistakes.
Venture 4 | RacesOnline.com: RacesOnline.com handles the online registration and website needs of running, triathlon and cycling events. We are profitable and enjoying significant growth year over year. We have transitioned from a Mid-South only company into a national competitor. We are ever evolving and continuously working to improve our system for clients. Jen Forsyth and Brent Barrett are my partners in this venture and do a fantastic job of handling the heavy lifting of daily operations.
Venture 5 | Info Coming Soon: This is a new technology venture that Daniel and I just launched separately from Harvest. Weâ€™re unbelievably excited about this one and will introduce it to you soon. It deserves its own dedicated post! We’re taking what we do really well with Harvest and extending it to a new market.
In addition to my personal ventures, I also draw from the fact that I happen to come from an entrepreneurial family. My father started a 20+ store retail chain, both of my brothers have started at least one company and my father in law owns his own company. Although we all share the entrepreneurial bug, weâ€™ve all had very different experiences along the way.
The final component of my entrepreneurial perception is my every day work. We work with entrepreneurs of all types and in numerous industries at Harvest. We currently work with entrepreneurs at just about every stage of development from startup to well established companies. Itâ€™s usually pretty easy to pick out the ones with a good shot at success from the ones that will perpetually chase their own tail.
In part 2 I’ll parlay my experiences into 5 must have elements for entrepreneurial success. It was important to show you how I formed these opinions before throwing them on the table. My life is full of entrepreneurial experiences and it has helped me discover these key elements. To be continuedâ€¦.
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