Originally Posted by Tawnya
Wow, I can't believe how supportive you are. I appreciate that immensely.
That's what we're here for! It may be kind of corny, but I really get excited hearing people talk about their dreams and what they are doing to make their business work. It gives me a boost and helps keep me motivated.
Can I ask you what inspired you to start your own business and have you ever looked back and wanted to do something differently, or maybe not do it at all.
My first "business" was when I was in high school, I created a monthly magazine about Punk music and Conservative politics (odd combination I know, but hey, I'm a bit odd and that's what I like) because I thought it would be fun.
The writing was terrible, I literally cut (with scissors) and pasted (with glue) my pictures in, and would make photocopies of each page, fold them over and staple them together. I put a price of 50 cents on each and I was really nervous when I showed it to my friends. They half thought it was cool half laughed at it. But, I was able to sell about 30 copies the first time to other kids in school.
After doing it for a couple of months I worked my courage up and went to a used record store that had some pretty radical owners and patrons. I asked the owner if he'd let me leave my little "magazine" on the counter in exchange for half the profits of any he sold (a whopping 25 cents). I was amazed when he said yes. Maybe he just thought I was goofy (not many kids wore Black Flag tshirts with Ronald Reagan buttons on them
), but for whatever reason he said yes.
I never sold very many at that store, maybe 10 or 15 a month, but that was enough to give me the entrepreneurial bug.
My next venture was being a lawn guy when I was 18. I bought a used station wagon that was not in the best shape and it didn't even have air conditioning (and it gets HOT here), but the engine was good and there was lots of room in the back. I'd do any kind of lawn work - mowing, trimming shrubs, digging out stumps, whatever. I didn't make a whole lot but I also had a job at a courier company so I'd use my lawn money to upgrade equipment whenever I could. Without going into all the details, I did that for about 5 years and finally got to the point where I had 4 guys working with me and two trucks.
Then I got a computer to help with the business and I loved it. I was constantly trying to come up with an idea that I could use to start a business using computers. I finally did and I closed my lawn company and within a year or so my new business crashed and burned big time. I lost all the money I'd saved, was in terrible debt and I really let it get me down. I made the mistake of letting my failure get to me for a long time.
I got a job with a real estate company working on a BBS (computer bulletin board system) the owner wanted to launch. I'd played with Prodigy and Compuserve before, but that was my first exposure getting to operate something "online" and I loved it.
Unfortunately, after a short time, the owner decided he didn't want to mess with it anymore so I was out of a job. But, I bought the computer and modems from him and went home and set up my own BBS. I also set up a web site. The BBS failed a somewhat natural death as the web site started to grow a bit. This was in 1995.
Anyway, I'm really rambling and giving more details than I'm sure anyone would care to read. But, I just kept at it and tried lots of different things and failed lots of times. But, I came to the conclusion that I love running my own business and I could be happy even if it was only marginally successful. I wouldn't be happy if I didn't keep trying.
One final thing - the biggest mistake I ever made was letting my failures get to me. You've got to learn to brush them off and just keep chugging along.