Blog post entry number 1!
What do people say “perfection not progress?” Or is it the other way around? Haha. It was really hard for me to publish this. I am not a natural born writer but here I go ANYWAYS. I am going to share how I know I wan an entrepreneur and the time I failed BIG.
This one is a little longer than others because I felt like somewhere on here I needed to tell my FULL story. Basically what I am saying is if you are not related to me by blood, skip to the end where I become wildly successful :-p . Don’t let me bore you with the details.
Chapter 1. – Equestrianpreneur (a term just coined)
My entrepreneurial story really started when I was 11. I grew up riding horses. I started when I was 5 and basically lived at the barn until I was 16 and something called “a social life” was more interesting than hours spent at the barn. When I was in 11 the farm I had been riding at was in some financial trouble.
They had a pony that was pretty naughty. He would buck kids off, bite people; that sort of thing. But I knew with a little love and a lot of work, I could turn him into a pony that parents would want to buy for their kid. Rule #1. of being an entrepreneur- emotional purchases are incredibly lucrative. 🙂
So that’s what I did. I talked my mom into buying this pony for me. I already had two horses so this wasn’t her first rodeo (No pun intended. No but really I did jumpers not western.) And after two months and a little training, the pony was the stuff parents dream of. Ok no quite. But he was better. And I made a $5,000 profit when I sold him which is a lot of money to an 11-year-old.
After that, it wasn’t until I was a junior in college that I took another entrepreneurial leap. There were a lot of ideas in between 11 and age 20 but picking the wrong entrepreneurial idea is worse than picking none at all.
I graduated high school in 3 years, took a gap year, moved to the Outer Banks and worked at Corolla Surf Shop & Pizzazz Pizza(also where I learned how to eat a chicken wing in one bite but that story is for another day 🙂 ). I brainstormed a lot of business ideas during the slow winter months while working at the surf shop.
It was really an incredible experience to be able to travel and surf a lot while also getting a glimpse as to what life would be like if I decided to go down more of a path of wanderlust. To me deciding the lifestyle you want goes hand in hand in picking what you want to do for a living so that was a very eye-opening opportunity. After working at the surf shop through the winter I knew that life wasn’t for me. I wanted to travel but I also had a strong desire to run a business.
Chapter 3.- College
So off to college I went! I LOVED college. Got a lot partying out of my system and I was ready to buckle down and study. Then, I made Dean’s list almost every semester and even made it into the Honors College. I studied Strategic Advertising and minored in Business. But towards the end of my sophomore year, I started to get the sense that I wasn’t going to be happy working for someone else.
I worked as a Brand Manager for Red Bull for a period and just wasn’t happy. The pressure of having a boss in a corporate setting has always seemed like WAY more pressure than having to show up every day.
When I was a junior in college Sweet Frog was all the rage here in Richmond, VA. They sold frozen yogurt in the “do it yourself” model. One summer night, my boyfriend and I at the time decided to go to Sweet Frog from some froyo. Thinking back on it, its really amazing what little decisions like deciding to go for ice cream can do to your life when you don’t even realize it but I will come back to that in another post!
So we go to Sweet Frog and sit outside, enjoying our delicious froyo. They were always so busy so I started counting how many people came in during those 30 minutes, did a little math, and was SHOCKED at how much money they were making. I thought I can do this. And I can do it better!
Fast-forward 9 months later I found myself standing behind the counter of my very own frozen yogurt store! We made the store larger than Sweet Frog, added freshly squeezed juice (before juicing was a thing), acai bowls, and coffee. The pain points I saw with Sweet Frog was that there was never anywhere to sit and it was seasonal. So I thought by extending our product offerings to more year-round items and having more seating, we would surely fair better. But I thought wrong.
Really there weren’t that many things wrong with my idea but the things that were wrong sunk us. I plan on writing more posts about what I would do differently, how to evaluate business ideas, critical assumptions, and so forth so I won’t get into details here.
After about a year and a half, I threw in the towel. We did a good amount of business in the summer but not enough to carry us through the winter. Walking away from a bad idea wasn’t so hard, but actually failing was terrible. Terrible doesn’t even begin to explain the feeling. I had borrowed a lot of money from my mom to start the business so I had failed her. I can’t tell you how awful that made me feel. Plus my confidence in myself was completely shot. How could I be so stupid? Negative self-talk is a powerful thing as an entrepreneur.
Chapter 5. – Real Estate
We closed up shop and I got my real estate license. I was GREAT at sales! And I really loved it! There is something that’s so fun to me about sharing something I am passionate about with others! And I had managed to make my way in with one of the top luxury real estate agents in Richmond so the houses I was getting to show were really cool! It was very exciting!
I was rookie of the year, bought a Mercedes ( I am a total car person!), and had saved enough to buy a house in my first year of real estate! Dreamlife for a 23-year-old!
But something was missing. Or so I thought. I had a lot of friends who had cushy 9-5s with benefits, PTO (PTO!! Am I right!?) and consistent paychecks. And sure I know what you are thinking. “You are killing it! Why would you stop selling real estate?!” But sometimes you just have to learn the grass is not greener on the other side by actually going to the other side. So that’s what I did.
Chapter 6.- Pharma
After a couple of months of applications, I landed a job as a pharmaceutical sales rep. It was perfect! Still kind of my own boss, not sitting at a desk, AND PTO! Lots of PTO! I was happy as a clam. Nervous too. It was very different really answering to someone. Field rides where your boss comes with you to offices and makes you sell like a robot was also not ideal. I was a relationship sales person. Not a pushy robot.
Anyways I am trying to keep this brief but I could write a whole blog post on what its like to be a pharmaceutical rep and how people REALLY quit bosses, not jobs. #AmIright?!
After almost two years exactly I had gone through two bosses with mergers and acquisitions and I just couldn’t do it anymore. I hated my boss. I felt like every day I was just running the clock out until 5 pm. Doing the bare minimum to get by. I knew I couldn’t live like that forever, I knew that being an entrepreneur was for me.
Chapter 7.- Taking the Leap
To go back a little bit, when my husband and I first met I had just started the pharma job and bought my condo. My plan was to renovate the condo myself with the help of some friends and flip it eventually. When my husband and I met, he was selling real estate and flipping one house a year on the side. Fast forward a year and a half and we were married! That’s when I made the best decision of my life other than marrying my husband and decided to quit my pharma job.
I will never forget the day I decided to quit. We were leaving premarital counseling and I was so stressed out! If any of you guys have done premarital counseling I am sure you can relate! We leave a session and I just start bawling. I was so stressed out with work and the wedding. Simply, just couldn’t do it anymore! I told Dave “I have to quit. I am not sure what I will do. Maybe sell real estate, flip houses. Anything is better than this, but I HAVE to quit.” And so I did, thus began my journey of becoming an entrepreneur.
Chapter 8.- Success as an Entrepreneur
When Dave and I decided to start Nest Builders Development Co. I was very scared. I still had a lot of self-doubt about my capabilities and becoming an entrepreneur. The last thing I wanted to do was fail again. But I knew the way I was living was no way to live. You spend the majority of your adult life at your job if you work full time so I think it should be something you really enjoy. But it took courage to take that leap.
I can tell you after making the plunge I have never enjoyed any business as much as I enjoy running Nest Builders. The business analytics are just as much as the design!
I no longer stare at the clock, I don’t have any #sundayscaries, and I have the lifestyle I always wanted! I can work from almost anywhere in the world on most days, I can come home and see my son during the day, and I am passionate about what I do! What more does an entrepreneur need?
Thanks for checking this post on why I decided to be an entrepreneur! If you loved some of the ideas mentioned in this article, then be sure to share on social, connect with me through the comments, and check out some of the other blog posts posted on my site. I am so excited to be here sharing my life with you and from the bottom of my heart, thank you for reading and following along.