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.