I cannot count the number of people that have asked me why I left Ernst and Young to start my own company six months ago. While some of them were just curious as to what drives a person to become an entrepreneur, I think some of them were hoping for an epiphany to help guide their own career decisions.
They wanted to hear something that really connected with their own thinking. I’m sure some of them were disappointed. See, I did not have this long-suppressed desire to own my own company. I wasn’t a closet entrepreneur that suddenly came out.
I have an affinity toward financial security. I like knowing how much money I’m going to have in the bank at any given time. I had interviewed many entrepreneurs during my time at Ernst and Young, so I knew the risks involved. Those risks didn’t appeal to me. So how did I end up here?
I had reached a point where I realized that my job and my passions were not connected in any way and I simply was not enjoying life. I knew I needed to make a change. I knew that it was going to be a major change because I had decided that I was going to incorporate everything that I ever wanted in a job.
I set out to create the perfect job description. I was pretty thorough in my description. I knew what type of culture I wanted. I knew what job responsibilities I wanted. I knew exactly how I wanted this job to interact with the other spheres of my life that were so critical to me. I knew that physical and spiritual wholeness was not optional.
The only problem….that position didn’t exist. So after much prayer and reflection, I decided to create it.
I was just completing my MBA so I felt like I had the business knowledge I needed to succeed. I believed that I had a good product idea. The only thing standing between me and freedom was fear of the unknown. I was not about to let fear keep me from realizing my dreams. So onward it was.
My first course of action was to research all I could on starting a business in Ohio. I started with the State of Ohio and followed the links where they led me. Through that process, I found business plan templates, sample legal forms, and business registration requirements. I was now equipped to take the next step.
After spending a few weeks writing the business plan, I began to shop for feedback informally at every networking event I attended. I would tell them the name of my new company, its purpose, and my vision for its growth. Though I had only just filed the registration documents and hadn’t yet officially opened for business, I was marketing.
I wanted to sense reactions before I had invested too much money. I don’t know what I would have done if my idea wasn’t received well. But it was. I grew bolder and setup one-on-one meetings with a few business leaders that I respected and who I knew would put me through the ringer. They grilled me with questions. I was able to answer most but not all. I walked away from those meetings wanting to pump my fists in the air. Success!
After those meetings, I gave myself one month to have a basic set of products fully developed. After that month, I added my social media blitz which continues to this day. With each month, I bring something new online. I’ve updated my business plan twice since I’ve opened. I’m sure I will continue to learn and adjust with each passing month.
It will take me about 2 years to get to through Phase 1 of my business plan if all progresses according to plan. But blessed are the flexible. Six months in, my journey has had some interesting twists and turns, and it’s my pleasure to share those with you as you walk a mile in my shoes.
“The Shoe Fits” a new series journaling a business start-up for one year. Join our new CEO – Tiffany Crosby of Petra Learning LLC (www.petralearning.com) – as she walks the talk of business ownership. You’ll have a chance to share your story too and hear from other business women of “lessons learned and successes earned.”
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