Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A strange thing happened to me the other day...

As life has been rather busy lately with the business starting again and other life events, I have been checking my email inbox as well as receiving a lot more emails for my business. One of these emails was from a young man, I would guess about 6 years my junior, seeking employment with my bike tourism business. He indicated that he had read an article about my business and that at that time he was, "having pipe dreams of starting my own bike tour company, but (I) would not have the time to do the behind the scenes work."

Firstly, I thought it was a nice email but it also made me giggle. I had to laugh that people see a logo and get an idea in their head about what a company must be. Surely, he thought that my company already had employees. Little does he know, the company is all me.

Then, I got a really strange sensation. It hit me, here was a young man, not too unlike myself, who in all likelihood is even more qualified to do the job I'm doing (based on his resume and personal experience) yet I am the one with the business to whom he is sending a resume seeking employment. How is it that I am the one running a business as such and he isn't? Where does the difference lie?

Now, I know that it certainly can't be that I have more time than him. Between working out at the gym, blogging, working a full time job and the business, I know I don't have a lot of time. I make it work though and I make the time. I'm committed to the business and it's what I want.

Source: etsy.com via Alyssa on Pinterest

Then I thought, well...maybe it's money? It can't be the money though. I started my business with nothing...literally. No savings, no investors, just a small loan that I got from a bank and the willingness to get into debt to hopefully build my way out of it. Besides with school loans for a masters degree and working at a non-profit, I'm quite certain I wouldn't have much more money than most people.

With those two major things crossed off of the list, there were only a few more barriers to consider, fear, passion and support.

Is there fear when you start a business? YES! More than you can imagine! Fear of debt, failure, of jumping into it, of the unknown. I certainly had my moments and it took me a long time to be ready to make the leap of announcing my business and putting it out there. Even when it was "ready," I still was fearful. I remember making a call to my sister, before officially starting, just crying because  I was so scared and wanted this, but was afraid it wasn't going to work out. She had to talk me down from jumping off of my "emotional ledge." In the end, I wanted to have and work on the business more than I was scared, so I kept marching on.

A positive aspect that I also had on my side, one just mentioned, was that I had a great support group. My family and friends have been very supportive of my journey. Helping me with mock rides, handing out flyers, and just offering words of encouragement. Sure, I had people that expressed doubts and were negative about my leap of faith into the business world, but for every one negative person, I'd say I had at least 5-10 positive supporters. That made such a huge impact. Perhaps this young man had no support? Maybe no one was there to cheer him on and root for his dreams.

Source: goo.gl via Darcey on Pinterest
Finally, I had passion. Writing this post reminded me of a scenario I had at the beginning of starting my business. A friend of mine had read that some other people were starting a bike tour business. I was a bit worried to be honest. But then I thought about it and said, "Well, there are tons of coffee shops out there and they are all pretty successful. Perhaps we will each offer something different. I might have some tours some people like and they might have something else that others like." I still felt a bit defeated. Afterwards, I talked to my friend, Mary. She had just seen a video where someone had addressed the the Wright Brothers and the first flight. Many of us know about the Wright Brothers, but do you know about a man named Samuel Pierpont Langley? Nope, I didn't think so. Mr. Langley was an educated gentleman (the Wright Brothers had no schooling past high school) who was given money by the Smithsonian Institution as well as other funds to create a plane that could carry a soldier. This was before the Wright Brothers made the first flight. Mr. Langley made 2 flight attempts, which failed. He then quit. Just 8 days later, the Wright brothers achieved this goal. The Wright Brothers weren't attempting to fly for the money or the fame, but because it was their passion. That is why they persisted, despite many failed attempts.

I had said early on in my business that people would see my passion and that's what shows. However, I can't say that this young man doesn't have passion for biking. He seems to love doing it. However, does he have enough passion to attempt a bike business, put in a lot of work hours and risk everything? At least for now, it appears he doesn't. However, it was so striking to me that he could have just as easily been doing what I am. Yet here I sit, the owner of a growing business - with applicants for jobs, much like himself.

The moral of this story?

If you want something, pursue it with passion. Surround yourself by people who will be your supporters through thick and thin, failure and success. Push past your fears. The best things in this life, are those that we work hard for and yet are the scariest to go after.

Source: tumblr.com via Alyssa on Pinterest

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