Today is the day...the day I am officially starting this project. (It happens to be my 37th birthday as well!) I will take one year to blog about the feelings, successes, and setbacks I experience, along with the ideas and plans I have for creating a side business. I am looking at it as an experiment, and when I do that, it lifts a great burden...a pressure on myself to succeed. To be completely honest, I am the only one who put the pressure there.
Yet, this is an unofficial start in a way. The desire to develop a business of my own has been on my heart now for about six months, and so I have pursued several things already...like a blog about home decorating, another blog similar to this one about helping entrepreneurs, and almost taught a class on creating your own simple website. In those six months of reflection, prayer, dreaming, and doing, I have read a lot, talked a lot, and worked a lot. But, none of these activities actually created a business, and yet, it was still an important time of molding my ideas and learning from others. That time period of wandering can't be discredited. In fact, it was in that time, I started developing this Squarespace site (after using Wordpress.org and Wix). And, believe me, learning what you want in a site and finding the right platform can't be overlooked if your side gig requires a website!
Found a Little Courage Along the Way
Also during my wandering time, I found a little courage to step out of my comfort zone to "network." Please know, COURAGE REALLY CAN'T BE UNDERSTATED! (I am starting to realize that having courage is the deal; it is second only to God's direction/blessing for you and your side business.)
My brother-in-law Ben Eubanks is an HR guru and an entrepreneur; he was blogging and collecting email addresses before blogging became an official verb and before everybody had 3 email addresses a piece. He is what I consider a full-time entrepreneur, and he serves as an unofficial consultant to me because he is just that kind of guy. He encouraged me (like gave me a pump-up speech and made it seem so easy) to reach out to Vicki Morris, a woman he had met through some of his HR work. Ben said she was kind, energetic, and passionate about her work, someone who knew lots of people in Huntsville and that I would enjoy talking with.
I mentioned it off offhandedly to my husband who further encouraged me to at least email her. I mean really! All she can say is no! (Sidebar: My husband believes I can do anything I put my head and heart into; he is a gift from God for this fearful girl.)
So, I found a smidgen of courage to craft an email asking her to lunch, and right before I clicked Send, I said to myself literally out loud, "I don't even know her. So what if she doesn't write back or says no." (I know that was a pessimistic outlook. However, it was my coping mechanism for possible rejection.)
And, if I am brutally honest with myself, I also was scared that she might say yes to my invitation. It is one thing to talk about starting a business; it is another to actually put yourself out there and do something about it. What I have found with myself, I talk a good game, yet I am scared of failure and of success. Strange but true.
Vicki Morris quickly replied back...and gave me a possible date for lunch. Then, I had another set of problems because I had to prepare myself to talk with someone way more successful than me, who I did not know at all, and who wasn't in my family. (Family members tend to be excited about your business goals, even when they probably shouldn't be.)
We met for lunch recently where we talked about many things we had in common and things that she had accomplished. It was a great experience! My husband later asked about the lunch, and without hesitation, I responded, "She is a rock star." Vicki was a stay-at-home mom for 15 years who created her own side business during that time selling music curriculum that she wrote herself for local preschools. Since then, she has gone back to work full time carefully carving out a name for herself as a marketing professional and an all around go getter in North Alabama.
Hearing the story of another woman who had a desire to create something of her own was uplifting for me and inspirational. Funny how finding just an ounce of courage can generate other positive feelings and even more courage.
Thanks, Patrick and Dan!
Patrick McGinnis' book The 10% Entrepreneur and Dan Miller's 48 Days podcast played a huge part in molding this project. Dan recently interviewed Patrick about his book. To open the podcast, Dan made a statement something like, "People think I want everyone to be an entrepreneur, but I don't want that if you don't want to be." It was with that statement that I began slowly letting out the air that I had been holding for a while (and I didn't even realize I had been holding my breath until that statement).
See, I had been thinking that if I wanted something of my own, I had to be all in, and I just couldn't figure out how to be a professional entrepreneur and be a mother too. I was already feeling convicted because I had left a fulfilling job as a teacher of 13 years to stay home full time with my two young sons. I had loved my job, the people there, and the students I taught, but God put a desire in my heart to be home with my sons. With creating something of my own, I didn't want to go back to a life of working nonstop and always being frustrated with my sons because of work I still had to do.
Dan's statement gave me hope that I didn't have to be a full-time entrepreneur, and as I listened to the rest of the interview with Patrick, I started to completely embrace (picture a big bear hug) the idea of giving 10% of myself to a side venture. In the earlier six months, I was constantly plagued with feelings of inadequacies because I was never writing, pinning, tweeting, or reading enough. I would never make it in the online giver-of-knowledge industry if I didn't work harder. The problem with working harder and longer...I would become a stay-at-home, full-time entrepreneur with a side hustle of parenting. And, that is not why I walked away from a teaching job I enjoyed!
So, thanks, Patrick, for sharing the notion of keeping your full-time gig and only invested 10% of yourself into a new business venture.
Thank you, Dan, for claiming that a side business can be created in only 15 hours a week! I am excited (and to be honest, nervous) to find out!