I’ve had nearly a ten year career in Consumer Product Goods that’s been challenging and rewarding so why did I think of starting my own business?
Little known fact, I come from a long line of entrepreneurs. My great-grandfather started one of the first grocery stores in Little Italy in Chicago. A business has been something I’ve wanted for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I was always starting businesses. Do you remember hair wraps being all the rage circa 1996? I figured out a way to create them fastened to a hair clip so you could have a clip-in hair wrap at the ready. At 10 years old, I sold them for kids’ birthday parties making about $100, which I saved for a summer’s worth of slurpies. For me, it was never a matter of if, it was when.
After our wedding, I couldn’t fight the urge any longer and started Girl Meets Party while working full-time on Coors Light at MillerCoors. I fully expected to work ridiculously hard and then I assumed I’d go full-time as an entrepreneur in 12-18 months. That’s what you do, right? Wrong. Everyone has their own journey. Here’s what I’ve learned in the last 18 months and while I’ll continue to nurture my full-time, corporate career.
Myth 1: You have to risk it all to be successful
You’ve heard the stories of entrepreneurs risking it all. While I think that’s admirable, I don’t think it’s necessary. Yes, when your back is up against the wall and you have to make a quick buck, you’ll do whatever it takes. On the flip side, will you hurt the foundation of your business by moving too quickly?
I was weary to being a full-time entrepreneur too quickly. I heard the horror stories of people losing everything, and I didn’t want to put my husband through that. It was my decision to start my own business – not his. Furthermore, I was worried I wouldn’t nurture the foundation of my business enough. I want to build something with purpose that may take longer to come to fruition, but when it does, it’s solid.
To model the scrappy entrepreneur mentality, I fund my business through odd jobs and money I’ve saved. I have to stretch my dollars similarly to entrepreneurs, but without risking our home and our lifestyle.
Myth 2: You can’t make an impact unless you go put in the time and go full-time
This couldn’t be more wrong. I may have two careers, but other people have families, pets, volunteer roles or other passions that fill their time. The bottom line is everyone is busy. It’s a matter of how you spend your time and how you value it. Yes, it’s hard to juggle both, but when you want something that bad, you’ll do anything possible to make it happen. You’ll find a way. For me, it’s planning out my time and being mindful of priorities.
Start by using your lunch breaks wisely. Work for at least an hour or two every night to maintain your business. Set nights that are ‘working nights’ and other nights just to relax. At least every two weeks, I’ll also schedule at least one full work day on the weekends to get ahead. It’s all about making the most with what you have available. No matter what you do, be consistent and you’ll be successful.
Myth 3: You can only have one career
I believed this throughout my first year as an entrepreneur. I was working to get my business up and running, I didn’t want to under perform at my corporate job so I worked even harder than normal. While I was heads down getting my work done, I ended up having the best year of my career and getting promoted. Then it hit me. You can have both.
From then on, I’ve seen it as having two careers. I have my corporate career where I build brands and take educated risks on bold marketing plans, and I have my own business where I let my creative side run wild and inspire others to create beautiful homes and tablescapes. By maintaining both careers, I am more efficient and mindful of my time. I’m also achieving different types of wins and different time periods, which ultimately leaves me feeling fulfilled with what I need personally.
Have you considered starting your own business? What type of business would you start? Did you start it? Tell me about it below.
Affectionately known to her friends as Millennial Martha for her love of DIY and decorating, Jen can’t help but pour her heart + soul into everything she touches. She’s loved to entertain since acquiring a table and chairs, and giving gifts is one of her favorite hobbies. Jen is the creator of Girl Meets Party. Her dream is to share her passions with the world in hopes to inspire others by making the seemingly unattainable attainable.