My mom was an entrepreneur.
Now I didn't understand it at that time growing up, but my mom enveloped everything that an entrepreneur is supposed to be - visionary, creative, determined, resourceful, and above all was the hardest working person I knew. My mom spent her life finding places where there was a need, and filling the gap with a project, a new initiative, or a product. Back then, we didn't think of it as entrepreneurial, we just thought of it as "being mom." If only my mom had social media, I can imagine that she would absolutely be trending right now! As I reflect on my own entrepreneurial journey, I think to how my mom truly set the standard for me in how to use your talents to make a difference and to make your way in this world.
I never set out to be an entrepreneur. It simply happened.
I had an idea for a product and my husband and I decided to take that leap and start a business. We have been in business for three years now, and have slowly grown from making crayons to managing a product, offering product design services, and curating and managing an online product marketplace. Now, this did not happen overnight. As we learned we grew and added more and more to our business. Starting a business is a journey and a lesson in learning. If you are open to new experiences, love to learn new things, and want to make your own path in this world, then starting a business is right for you.
But now, you wonder? I couldn't possibly start a new business now. Now with all that is going on and all the unknowns!
Let me tell you something. There will never be a "good" time to take a risk or leave what is known and venture out into the unknown. We started our company when my husband was laid off and between jobs. We decided that if not now, then when? We made the jump into being business owners. Did you know that tons of other well known companies were founded during recessions or times of economic hardship? Have you heard of Microsoft, Hyatt Hotels, Mailchimp, Uber, or Hewlett-Packard? These are thriving companies that never would have seen the light of day if someone did not take that risk to turn their idea into a reality.
We recently were on a FB Live Episode of PunkinFutz's Wednesday's at Noon talking about this exact topic. See the replay below. You can hear why we think right now is a great time to start a business and some of the lessons we have learned along the way. Oh, and you will meet our son who makes a cameo in the video. He just loves being in front of the camera! I wonder how that happened....
If you have questions about starting a business or want to talk over your idea for a product, please contact us. Our company, Two Sparrows, offers design and development services and right now we are offering a contest to win two months of free business coaching. Click the link to enter and learn more about what we do and how we can help you.
Till next time,
It's not easy to start a business. Let's face it. It sounds great - make your own hours, gain independence, you are beholden to no one, be your own boss. It looks so exciting on social media.
What you don't see is the work, the grind, the hours put in, the sheer grit that it takes to start a business, run it day to day, and grow it. Most people, like my husband and I, work full time jobs during the day and run our company Two Sparrows, in the evenings, weekends, in spare moments in between our other day to day responsibilities. Let me tell you it is tough. But we wouldn't trade the feeling of knowing that we are making products ourselves that are helping people and we have the opportunity to grow an idea into something bigger than ourselves. We had to just jump in and do it!
Now in addition to the Effortless Art Crayons we have our product design and development company and we love helping people realize their ideas and bring them to life. What started with an idea for a crayon has grown into a dream for our future and our son's future.
Again, it hasn't been easy and my husband and I have been blessed to have people in our lives that have supported us along the way and new ones we have met that have inspired us and helped us gain traction and speed in this journey.
I mentioned we both have full time jobs. Well, I am lucky enough to teach future teachers at a university in NW Pennsylvania. Working in a School of Education is one of the best jobs in the world and it doesn't hurt that I have the best coworkers on the planet! We all know that life is messy and when things come up and schedules can't change, you have to punt.
In my case I am lucky enough that I have coworkers that will step up and help out whenever needed. Our son, Crayon Kid, has been coming to work with me since he has been born. My work is a second home, and my coworkers treat him like family. Take the video below. I had to go in for a meeting a few weeks back and instead of finding a sitter, our school's secretary watched him for about an hour, playing BINGO, reading books, coloring, and keeping him very entertained. I couldn't ask for more supportive friends and colleagues.
Along the way we have met amazing people who have helped us grow in our skills and helped our business to thrive. We have met many other therapists and entrepreneurs doing the exact same thing we are. We are lucky enough that they remember what it was like starting out and they try to support young businesses through promotion and collaboration.
That's really what it is about in the helping field and helping markets - collaboration and partnership. We appreciate and value what each other brings to the table with their expertise and talents and work together to add value for the other person - when we lift each other up we end up rising with them.
I had an incredible call this morning with a company and am so excited to share some big news soon with you all. We have some exciting collaborations coming down the pike and I can't wait to tell you about them.
The most important thing I've learned through starting a business is that collaboration is key and it's all about the connections you make with others. We could not do this alone. We are only two years in but have made amazing gains and know that we will continue to meet incredible people and together do incredible things.
Find your tribe. Find your supporters. Find the people who share your passions and values. There are more of them than you know. Just go out and do it.
Till next time,
"I always wondered why somebody didn't do something about that; Then I realized I am somebody. I just needed to spread my wings and fly."