The things I'm glad I didn't know when I started my business
Posted on August 12 2015
Yesterday, I wrote about something I learned that I wish I knew about when I was first starting the business.
After spending a couple days moping around about not knowing what I didn't know, and reflecting that maybe I wouldn't have started my business had I known... I realized this:
I probably wouldn't have started my business if I knew that it would take 3 years to achieve profitability.
I knew that 50% of businesses never made it to their third year and 80% never made it to their fifth, but I thought I was a special snowflake. Certainly, my marketing and enthusiasm and sheer gumption would overcome any statistical odds.
I bought into that old "the universe will catch you if you jump" mantra that new agey people constantly spout. I didn't think about the fact that 100% of small business owners take a jump, and the universe doesn't catch 80% of them.
My ignorance brought me to this place, here, where we have finally begun to achieve profitability. Even though by many measures, we should never have started this business.
And I am glad.
I'm glad that I didn't know about "breaking even points." I'm glad I didn't even know what I didn't know. I'm glad that people probably told me these things, and I just didn't listen.
Having this business has been one of the most exciting, challenging, and amazing things I have ever done with my life.
It has challenged me to be a better writer, accountant, time manager, tester, strategist, process guru, networker, and, of course, marketer. It has taught me that when I get knocked on my ass, I need to brush myself off, put on a smile, and get back to work. It has taught me that I can pretty much learn anything if I set my mind to it: packaging design, social media, web development, accounting, business strategy, production, heck, even mural painting... the list goes on, and still isn't even remotely finished.
At my old job, I was really under-challenged. I wanted to work hard and I wanted my work to create some difference in the world. Even working on the Lance Armstrong and Oprah interview, I knew that if it wasn't me doing it, someone else could do it. But here, doing this, I'm the person who is doing it. The business would be a different entity if it was run by anyone else.
I matter. I have a purpose. I may just be a little free particle, but I'm a free particle with a voice.
We're meeting new and amazing people every day, and these new and amazing people are making decisions and recommendations that shape the business. Because in a world where I matter, you also matter.
That's the kind of world I want to live in, and I get to be that change in the world.
And that's entirely because I didn't know what I didn't know.
Who knows what the future holds? We started selling at some local Whole Foods Markets, we have been in chats with ThinkGeek about a new line, we're starting a new website section (at the encouragement of our customer, James, which he doesn't know yet)... lots of exciting things are on the horizon.
But we're still a very new business held together with shoestrings and dreams.
And by golly, I do believe we have the grit (and customers) it takes to keep on.
As always, thank you for being on this journey with us. You are part of our business.