I promised I’d post something soon so here I am! I started my own business last March, because the opportunity presented itself. Starting from the first step, which is the actual decision to establish a business, is an important first step to consider. While I realize this might not work for everyone, my experiences and advice should be seen as completely relevant to my own situation and I welcome others to expand on the topic.
I’ll be honest, my Dad had been talking to me about establishing my own business, something I could always have as an extra source of income and even my entire source of income one day…I never imagined it could work! I was getting ready to graduate from my master’s degree program and while I was doing all the typical resume building, career workshops and networking, I had not had much luck. As any ‘almost’ grad would be, I was worried, I was stressed, I was panicky! What was I going to do and more importantly, was it too much to ask I actually enjoyed my first post-grad job?
I had been working as an intern for a niche consulting firm that specialized in partnership development. We worked with various clients that have a global reach working on various projects focused on either diarrheal disease prevention, nutrition/health and/or maternal and child health. The opportunity was amazing, and changed a lot about the direction I thought I was going, but I just went with the flow….
The firm brought me on as a sub-contractor when my initial contract as an intern ended, however, the firm was also in the middle some major transitions so I was consulting with them as my own entity, independently. As I was more and more exposed to the subject matter and the types of work the firm conducted, I became increasingly interested in pursuing the global development field as a career. I worked with three partners from the firm who had extensive experience in the field, I was very blessed with the initial exposure I received because of their amazing work and experiences.
Additionally, I knew that I wanted to be my own boss….who doesn’t? Since I was already working as a independent contractor, it made perfect sense to take those contracts and put them under the name of my business. What a great way to start, huh? Since I already had consistent work, I would start strong, with two contracts. This allowed me to focus much more on the logistics of getting the business started legally as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) and put the business development aspect aside for the time being. The group I worked with had no problem changing my contracts to my business name instead of my personal name.
I really enjoyed the work I was doing, and wanted nothing more than to continue the very work I had under my two contracts, plus I felt strongly connected to my clients. The team I was working with was just phenomenal and I could not have asked for anything better! Not to mention, I’ll be honest here, I work from home! All I need is my computer and an internet connection and I can put in a full work day from wherever. This allows for soooooo much flexibility, and that was not something I was going to give up just yet!
I’ve had a lot of people tell me I was lucky and caught a great break. While I know these comments have been in good faith, they certainly don’t address the sheer amount of work I had to do to get to the point where I was. No one applied for this internship for me, no one did all the work I did as an intern that continued to impress the group I work with – leading to the renewal of my contracts…I did that work. I did the work to develop my skill set that allowed me to qualify for the position in the first place. Taking this step towards independence, success and pursuing work in a field that I feel truly passionate about was not without challenges that required additional work to overcome.
While I know friends who have had similar experiences in starting up their businesses, I know the start-up process differs for everyone, and it is a process indeed. I definitely encourage anyone contemplating starting a business to evaluate their reasons for doing so, be passionate about what you are doing and do the work to do it right. Don’t let others take away from the experience either.
I’m looking forward to continuing the subject of starting a business. There is much more to share and learn, but I thought I’d start with the genesis of the idea that has become my career, my passion and my business!