This week I would talk about how much I love owning my own business. For 28 years, I worked for someone else. My schedule was created for me, so I knew what time to be at work, and what time to leave. I had to ask (sometimes beg) for a day off, a vacation or to leave early for one of my son’s ballgames. No matter how hard I worked, I made the same amount of money. Once a year, during my review, I was occasionally I rewarded with a small raise and a few words of praise were written onto a form for my employee file. I used to joke about my life and tell my friends, “I wake up, go to work, work 8, 9 hours or more, leave and run to a sporting event to see watch my boys participate, drive home, cook dinner, clean the kitchen, do laundry, spend time with my sons, go to bed, and repeat 5 days a week. There were many times that I had to work so late that I would arrive as everyone was leaving the stands because the game was over. It was routine. It was frustrating. I loved what I did, but I saw my future going nowhere.
Nearly six years ago, I was let go from my job. I was devastated. I cried. I was mad. I had worked so hard and apparently, no one had noticed. My husband looked at me as he held me one evening and said, “It’s time that you do something that you love. It needs to be something that allows you to be creative, schedule your own time and allows you to show the world what you can do.” It was February 2011 when we created Gardner Promotional Solutions. We invested our savings, we prayed, we studied the industry, we took classes and most importantly, we took a leap of faith.
“If you don’t build your dream, someone will hire you to help build theirs.” Tony Gaskins
It is easy to sit in a networking meeting and listen to other business owners tell you their woes about owning a business. It isn’t always all roses. There are times when I am frustrated and tired. But instead of focusing on the negative, I like to think about all of the positives of owning my own business. I am excited to share five of the reasons I love owning my own business!
“Entrepreneurship is working a few years of your life like most people won’t, so you can live the rest of your life like most people can’t.” Unknown
I Set My Hours
There are days that I work long hours. There are days when I only work 2-3 hours. I usually commit to working a few hours on the weekends. If my granddaughters have a school program, or my husband wants to sneak away for a few days, I create my schedule around it. I can work from a hotel room or poolside as long as I pack my laptop. Two years ago, I did all of the promotional items for a national convention (bags, signs, water bottles, lanyards, pens and placed the program on a thumb drive, just to name a few) and worked on all of the artwork in a hotel. My husband and I to Idaho to take some continuing education classes, and I worked until 1 am several nights in a row to have everything arrive in time for the convention. It was exciting to know that I could travel with my husband and run my business without a problem.
I Meet Great Business People
It is imperative that I step out of my comfort zone and meet new people on a consistent basis. I learned that just because you open a business, people do not know you exist unless you are getting your face in front of them on a daily basis. There are many networking opportunities in my city every week. Over the past five years, I have become much more comfortable attending meetings and sharing about my business.
I Love Personally Delivering Orders
Early on in our business, we hand delivered every order. I wanted to be the first to see the promotional products. I never wanted to receive to call complaining of the quality, a misprint or to tell me they were unhappy with my products. I have several clients out of state, so there are some orders that I have to drop ship, but I try to deliver orders to local customers. It gives me a chance to add a thank you gift. I love seeing the smile on the faces of my clients when I walk into the office with their order.
I Have the Opportunity to Do Continuing Education
I have always prided myself in being a lifelong learner. I try to participate in continuing education classes or webinars whenever I am able. My industry offers a myriad of opportunities to take classes to keep me up to date with the latest products, updates on laws about promotional products and business ownership and new decorating options. Attend two major tradeshows a year and several smaller regional shows and most offer educational opportunities. I am also able to become certified in my industry, and I plan to have that completed by the end of the year.
The Sky Is The Limit
The potential for income in my business is limitless, as long as I stay focused and work. If I fail to make my sales goal for the month, I know I need to step up my game. At this time of year, it is always tempting for me to slack off a bit and work in my yard and my flower beds. I know that to meet my goals, it is important for me to stay on task and not let my love of nature take over my love for my business.
“Don’t worry about being successful but work toward being significant and the success will naturally follow.” Oprah Winfrey
My challenge to you this week is the following:
If you are a business owner, take some time to examine all areas of your business. Are you taking advantage of the continuing education offered for your industry? Clients love working with a business owner to takes the time to stay up to date. Do you set goals and take the time to review them? Do you waste a lot of time or have your streamlined your processes to get the greatest return? Do you allow your friends to derail your schedule and throw you off course? Have you learned the importance of being able to say “No”? Take the time to work on your business and allow yourself to create a process that will allow you to be successful, have fun and continue to grow.
If you are considering starting a business, you can still benefit from this blog. Take the time to study the industry you are considering. Work on continuing education classes or webinars. Structure your schedule so that you can stay focused and set goals that you review on a weekly basis. Realize the importance of networking to meet others that may be interested in using your services. Find someone to help mentor you. Relax and have fun.
“There will be OBSTACLES. There will be DOUBTERS. There will be MISTAKES. But with HARD WORK, there are NO LIMITS.” Unknown
Have a fabulous week!