This is the number one request as a topic for me to write about so finally the day has come where I spill the beans on quitting my fortune 100 corporate job making significant money, to successfully become my own full time boss! I have also started an online course and have created several free online materials for helping you to do the same thing. We are all in this together right? Alright, so here’s my story…
Naturally I am a creative person. I love dreaming up cool new business ideas and inventions. By the time I was out of college I had at least 10 different business plans put together. Several of which I tried my hand at and failed, and a few that sparked the beginning of the entrepreneurial journey I am on now.
After getting my first “big girl job” in corporate America, I started a soap making side business, a makeup artistry company, and even tried a few of the pyramid sales business models. I found that I spent a lot of money in the creative portion of the start-up only to discover that I was not a fan of the industry once I got going. The only business that I seemed to like and be exceptional at was freelance makeup artistry. I began doing weekend makeup for weddings, fashion spreads, celebrity events, and more. It did not take long for me to clue in that I needed a makeup line to sell and what better brand than my own? I researched private label makeup companies and began developing a cosmetic line. This took my small side start up to the next level. I began selling at women’s shows, in home private events, and even to the brides who wanted a little makeup touch up kit. Needless to say, I was full time hustling. WOrking an 8-5 job Monday through Friday and building my small business on the side.
If I had to do it all over again, I would have researched small business start ups and their popularity and demand in comparison to start up costs. I will go over this a little later but initially I went with what I was good at which is not a bad thing, but think about the competition out there for cosmetic lines. There are hundreds of thousands of different lines. Going this route was great to fulfill my passion but without huge investors and deep pockets for marketing competition, I would always be small fries. Here is a little FREE 22 SMALL BUSINESS START UP IDEAS LIST that I have put together for you. These ideas require very little start up money upfront and are industries that are in high demand. All great ideas for your first company and you can even do most of these on the side to get your feet wet before diving in full time as your own boss.
LEAVING MY JOB
After doing my makeup business on the side for a few years and saving up a little money, I had decided that corporate America was not my gig. I was great at hitting my goals and naturally I am a workaholic, but there as this deep desire for freedom and creation. It was this realization that pushed me over the edge, threw all risk assesment out the window, and took the plunge. I put my two weeks notice into work and was officially on my own. I knew that a makeup line alone could not pay the bills so I came up with a concept for a shop that was a women’s boutique and makeup studio in one. I know, it is not a groundbreaking idea but it was a business that I could see myself enjoying. I signed a commercial lease, completed my work at my corporate job, began my store build out, and opened up shop all in the space of 2 weeks. Yes, you read me correctly. Two weeks before opening my shop’s doors to the public I had no idea that I would be a boutique owner as I was still making sales and going on customer calls with my corporate job! And now, here I was with an axe in hand, standing at the front door to my new shop, which by the way, was an old tanning salon. I didn’t think knocking down tanning salon walls and building out the space. What about the cash register system? That was going to be expensive. Building inspections? What was that? I was going to need a security system. I needed store fixtures. Oh boy, I had only saved up $10,000 for this $50,000 project and now I am out a job and need to make rent in a month.
Budget for any huge project! As a creative and over all excited person, risk or even danger in general do not show up on my radar. I completely threw out all financial security to run head first towards my dream. Sounds like a movie right? Well, I learned very quickly that movies are just that….MOVIES! If I had it to do all over again, I would have taken the time to properly budget. Lucky for me, it all worked out. Here is a little Business Startup Budget Guide I have created for you to start the preliminary planning phase of your business idea.
JUST GETTING GOING
Before I get to “Lesson Learned,” I want to share an important thing about leadership: always value and recognize the contributions of the people in your team. I’ve learned that it is easy to show employee appreciation with plaques trophies, or other forms of awards. They make your employees happy and motivate them to keep doing what they do best.
Trial and error, this was the theme to my first two years of being in business. I had no mentor or guidance, and was forced to try different tactics for management, marketing, finances, etc. to see what worked and what did not. After 6 months of working 7 days a week from store open to close, and then working at home on the marketing, books, and buying, I had grown to the point that I could hire my first employee. I was so super excited! Finally I would get a little time to enjoy the little things in life. Boy was I sadly mistaken. Don’t get me wrong, my helper was amazing but being a manager was an entirely different role, one that I was not prepared for nor had I developed the leadership skill set required to be a successful manager.
After I was able to be comfortable giving direction instead of guidance when it came to my business, together we worked hard at developing new concepts, events, and ideas. Having two brains is always better than one! Eventually we were hosting women’s events and makeup parties. We even had an inhouse wine and paint night once. I began The Ivory Closet blog to showcase our fashions, give tips, and talk about our events. My small business dream was beginning to flourish and I was officially on the path to living my best life, but little did I know, there was even more “in store” for me. No pun intended. Let’s just say that The Ivory Closet blog is now called CIty Chic Living Blog and the rest was history… but let’s leave that story for another day.
Prep, Prep, PREP! Preparing for your entrepreneurial journey is key. You need to be able to plan for this next chapter in your life, brainstorm potential obstacles, and get comfortable with your new reality. I did not do this and I truly believe that lack of preparation stumped my growth potential early on in the process. I overcame what I did not know, but doing the research and having a plan on the front end would have been ideal. I have created a FREE COURSE called “Prepping to Become Your Own Boss” that I would love to offer to you! Good luck in your journey and reach out in the comments below should you need any guidance or have any questions. I love helping out a fellow entrepreneur.
Want to share my entrepreneurial journey with your friends and family? I would love it if you would help a small business gal out.
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