Ten years ago, I started an automotive repair business with my, now, ex-husband. We had no capital, no education, and no idea what we were doing. He was a mechanic by trade and I was a young mother who had experience as a part-time assistant manager in the restaurant and retail industries. We had no mentors and no money. Yes, I said no money. We had five bucks in the bank. The adventure began in the two bay workshop behind our house with only a home computer, a land line telephone, and the tools he had acquired over the years. Everyone we knew told us we were crazy, and maybe they were right, but we managed to go from making around $40,000 the first year to running a very lucrative six figure business in a real repair shop, complete with an office and a waiting area for our customers two years later. Not too shabby!
Looking back, I know it was an absolute miracle we achieved that level of success because we jumped in with the blinders on. Honestly, I do not recommend that route to anyone who wants to achieve long-term success and staying power in their respective industry. I also do not advocate starting a business with your significant other, but that is another story for another time. I learned a lot about what to do and what not to do when starting a business. It is not a responsibility that should ever be taken lightly. As you can probably guess, from the direction this is going, the business we created together no longer exists. I do not have any regrets, though. It was certainly a learning experience that helped me grow into the person I am today. Mistakes should be viewed not as failure but as stepping stones to do things in a better and more creative way the next go round.
While I have taken a step back to gain some much needed direction in my life, and I have since gone back to working for someone else other than myself, I still feel the calling to put myself out there one more time. But first, I am taking a small detour. I have decided I need to educate myself this time and to execute my next business adventure with a plan in place. I am older, wiser, and I’d like to think I have something significant to offer others, even if it’s in the form of advice on what not to do when just starting out. (Boy, do I have a lot to offer in that department!) I guess once you have gotten a taste of a life filled with creativity and innovation, it is very difficult to turn back.
4 replies on “The Accidental Entrepreneur”
I enjoyed reading this post. Although the business is not still open, going from 40k to a six-figure business is a success for sure. What an accomplishment! I think enrolling in this program to further educate and plan is a wonderful idea. You will have a great headstart with the experience you have. I would be too nervous to just jump into starting a business without the finances to back it, but then again, I think I have reached a point in my life where I am willing to take more risks. I’m sure you have much to teach us & I look forward to learning from your “stepping stones”. I’m wondering if you have any other images you can add to your blog (header/banner, etc.) I look forward to seeing your blog grow.
Krista, thank you for reading! I do feel like I have a little bit of a head start, but I also feel I have lot to learn. I understand your nervousness about jumping into a business without financing. It’s a huge risk. I guess the reason we lucked up, so to speak, is because we were offering a service our community needed at a very reasonable price. I am still working on cleaning up my blog and adding things to making it more appealing. Thank you for your input! It is always welcomed.
Very interesting story, and one that has likely taught you well and trained you for the future with the Masters Degree that you are working on. Best of luck.