The Best Small Businesses Start with a Vision
Not everyone is born with a drive for entrepreneurship. I certainly wasn’t. Being a business owner was low on my list of priorities for the longest time. I was content to simply be an employee. I went to work, did what I was told, then came home, leaving my work behind.
That all changed when the university I worked for laid off my department.
I was completely taken off guard. I felt devalued, unappreciated, and even disrespected with the way the whole thing went down.
Once I got over the initial shock. I realized something. I was tired of being toyed with by employers.
I’d given the best part of my days to employers.
It wasn’t just a 40-hour workweek. It was getting up, getting ready, driving to work, occasional days and sometimes even weekends of overnight travel. All of this happening during the most lively part of the day. What was left, was a tired evening, which I struggled to fit in family time and fun.
What did I get from my efforts? Some compensation and a feeling of expandability. I thought about the long job search, which would lead to similar results and it bummed me out.
When I got laid off, I was tired, both exhausted and fed up.
I was also worried. How was I going to pay my bills? Would I find a job that I enjoyed? Would I even find a job in the declining market? Those in my office were already joking (with a serious undertone) how we’d be fighting over the occasional job announcement.
I became a business owner, because I didn’t want to play the game any more.
I said, if I was to be financially crippled, it would be because I didn’t up my game, not because someone in my chain of command had something to prove. If I was going to give the best hours of my life to work, I wanted it to be for my benefit, not for an employer who didn’t appreciate me. I wanted my career to work around my family, one of the most important aspects of my life, not the other way around.
My vision was a better life for myself.
I’m over 40. My oldest grandparent lived to her mid 60s. My dad is a bit over 60 and is mentally and physically disabled due to medical issues. Early retirement is at 62… at least for the time being. I don’t know about you, but my vision doesn’t include working my entire life for someone else, just to be greeted by death before I get to relax a little.
My vision takes me to a time where I was able to watch my children grow up. My daughters are grown up and out of the house, but I still have a son left. I want to be there for him. When he has a field trip, I want to be able to attend. I love the conversations we have on the way to the bus stop. I love how happy he is when I pick him up from the bus stop.
I love learning. In the past, I had to beg and negotiate time to educate myself. My vision included being able to spend as much time as I wanted educating myself. Now, when I see an opportunity for learning that I want to take, I simply add it to my calendar. The same goes for vacation time.
I wanted to be able to give my best to clients. Whereas my employer looked to quantity, I dreamed of basing my services on quality. In my business, I never take more clients than I can serve well. I set aside time to build the programs I want, even if it means decreasing my client load.
My vision started simple. To have a beautiful, fulfilling life.
An employer wasn’t going to give me that. In order to get that, I knew I had to start my own small business. The only way I could live completely by my values and support my vision was to build my dream myself. It’s true the best small businesses start with a vision.
My dream business has expanded since first starting on this journey. I think about how hard my husband works. Whereas I’ve had opportunities to be a stay-at-home mom, he’s been our financial cornerstone. My vision is to make enough money through my business that working for him is an option, not a necessity.
My upgraded vision includes a business that works independently of me. I’m creating a legacy that I can pass on to those I love.
Your path to entrepreneurship started with a vision.
I’ve shared with you why I started my business. I’ve also shared how my vision has evolved, become more than what I’d first hoped to accomplish. I imagine it’ll change again, as I hit a new milestone. Tell me, what’s your vision?