The Good and the Bad of Entrepreneurship
|Image courtesy of Stuart Miles|
Recently, I was asked what I learned along the way of building my nontraditional company, Cooperative Kids. The writer was working on a piece on entrepreneurship and wanted to know if I had learned good things or bad things while growing my business. Here is what I told her.
I developed a love for helping parents with challenging behavior because of my own children. After taking a parenting class in 1994, I began to notice that my home was becoming more peaceful and my kids were becoming more cooperative. All because of what I learned in the parenting class on becoming more proactive to the situations that tended to be more stressful with three kids. I also learned to parent with little or no speaking.
I started my own parent education business as an affiliate of a larger organization and I did this all while being employed full time in Corporate America. My original intention was to teach parenting classes because it forced me to continue improving my own parenting skills. But before I knew it, I was being asked to speak on various parenting topics and that lead to my first writing opportunity with a column in the local parent magazine.
Then in 2009, after working full time in the world if IT and moonlighting with my affiliate business as part of the larger parent education company, I left Corporate America AND that other company, and launched my own parent education company. I built a brand new parenting class and authored several books. I attained my degree in clinical psychology and started a public access TV show a part of my unique marketing plan.
What I learned was that I could do what I love and I could do it full time. What I learned was that making the leap was frightening but within the first few months, I was convinced that I had added years to my life. I now loved getting up every morning and couldn't wait to start my work. I did have some sleepless nights, dreaming up new components to my business and my marketing plan, but it was all worthwhile lost sleep.
What I learned along the way was that I was surrounded by discouraging people who meant well. They urged me not to leave my day job and NOT to take any risks. They had too many examples of people who took risks and failed and they didn't want to see me fail. But I had to learn to remove those discouraging thinkers from my life and instead, surround myself with new shakers and movers who welcomed risk.
What I learned was that I could take something I felt passionate about, change people's lives, and build a brand new business out of it. I learned I could make a difference and leave a legacy.