I’ve debated on how I wanted to introduce my story … do I start in scene one, at least a decade ago, when I first got the spark of entrepreneurship – the dream I had while working in my corporate office of having flexibility, fun, and perhaps, just perhaps a more fulfilling life? Do I tell you about the secret trip I made to Massachusetts to attend a workshop that introduced me to the world of coaching?
What about the night I sat at a campfire and told my then-husband that I wanted to pursue a coaching career and leave behind a very lucrative corporate position? Or, maybe I cut to scene where after getting back from the most amazing, door opening, mind-shifting, and life altering weekend at coaching school, my then husband, who I had been with for 17 years suddenly wanted a divorce? Maybe I start my story seven years ago, on the day I lost my corporate job, and like a captain of a ship, escorted each of my loyal employees out with their boxes of personal items, hugged them in the parking lot, and wished them good luck and good bye…. as I fought back my own tears knowing for the first time in my adult life I would be going home to an empty apartment, because I had to release the leash of my soulmate – my Destiny, my four legged companion just a few days before. Divorced, jobless, dog-less – I had no idea who I was, or what I was doing – all my former identities were gone. All I knew, or rather…. all I could hear, was a voice whispering “You are destined to do great things.” Luckily, for seven years, I have let that voice keep talking.
I am like many accidental entrepreneurs. While I had dreams of becoming my own boss, my plan was to work my corporate job one more year, build up a nest egg to launch my business, make a business plan, maybe get a mentor. Instead, because of the down-turned economy, I was unemployed, and no one was hiring middle-management. My meager severance check would have to do as a launching fund, and I was going to have to build my business on very limited funds. I quickly learned boot strapped businesses can hang by a string. I was in debt from having nursed a dying dog for the last 9 months, I had a leased truck that fit my corporate paycheck, but not my unemployment check, and I was in debt. I was UNPREPARED.
I knew this feeling – it was the realization that I was somewhere I had no business being. It was like the time my hiking party ventured out to climb Mt. Katahdin – we were slack-packing and no one brought extra food, water, flashlights, a first aid kit or extra clothes. As you can imagine, we were put in a situation where we needed all those things, and we were in perilous danger – all because we ventured out unprepared. Don’t get me wrong – the views were spectacular, but I was scared out of my wits. We had no business being on that Mountain so woefully under outfitted… but we had to get ourselves off that mountain somehow. Even though I entertained the idea of asking a ranger to send a helicopter to the summit to rescue us, we in fact had to rescue ourselves.
And there I was, staring at a computer screen that yielded no job prospects, but had the potential to build a better life. I had to earn money somehow, and at that time, even entry level positions weren’t hiring. I got myself up on this cliff, and I had to get myself down. So I launched my coaching business… and because of my lack of preparation, I made some nearly fatal mistakes, which I will share with you all the pain, irony, laughs, and eventual lessons learned I experienced, in hopes to help you become prepared for your entrepreneurial journey. Even if you become an accidental entrepreneur such as myself, there are still some things you can do to make your adventure more enjoyable, and less dangerous.
This article is part of the #write31days challenge for October 2015. To catch up on the whole series – click HERE.