Two years ago today I started my advertising agency, Purple Diamond! I left a secure paycheck and and a company that wanted me to stay to open the doors to my own business and dreams. I had always done well in the past when I had worked in advertising for other companies and I believed that if I gave that same enthusiasm and strong work ethic to my own business, then success would follow. Success has followed in a big way for Purple Diamond, but there were pitfalls along the way that had me questioning if I was crazy to leave my job to seek entrepreneurship.
The first road block was me! When you are used to seeing a paycheck and being financially independent, it is a humbling experience to ask for help from others until you have a steady cash flow. I was a single mom paying for my 2 kids in college before I started Purple Diamond so my paycheck was that life preserver that kept me knowing I wouldn’t sink. Just a piece of paper with some numbers on it, but I allowed it to define me and hold so much power over me. If the numbers were high I felt I was a success and if I had a week where the numbers were smaller, then I would beat myself up for not doing my best and making the money I needed to provide for my two kids. So, how did I let go of my fear long enough to realize my dream of owning my own business? I met someone who dared me to put a blindfold on while he drove the car home from the Boston airport! My new husband who saw that though I was hugely successful at my job in advertising, I was a control freak who seldom trusted anyone and that I believed it was always up to me to do everything on my own. And, to be a success in business it requires you to let go of fear and your controlling ways to allow people close enough to help you when you need the help. And, since I have always been one for facing challenges, I put that blindfold on and allowed my husband to drive the car and I saw first hand that even when you own your own business you are dependent on others for their support…support financially til your business is making a steady income and support emotionally when you have days that make you question your own abilities and self-worth.
The second road block was the economy in 2008 and 2009 and how the media loved to post stories of doom and gloom so that business owners were afraid to make the important decisions that they needed to survive and thrive. During most slow economies you would see businesses choosing to advertise more so that they would end up with a significant market share when the recession was over, but this was unlike other recessions and the broadcasting of how bad everything was had smart business owners questioning their own marketing strategy and leaving them paralyzed and doing nothing. This was not something I anticipated for Purple Diamond since my business plan was based on creating affordable TV and radio advertising campaigns for local businesses in the Boston market. Thankfully, I had left TV advertising to work for an internet company before starting my own business so I knew ways that people could position on-line social networking, blogs and answering questions as an expert in their field on-line as a no cost or low cost alternative to traditional advertising. So, I created the marketing coaching services and taught CEO’s one on one how to remain leaders in their fields without needing enormous marketing budgets to do so.
Finally, my third and last road block to my amazing 2 years of being a successful new business was to never give up. Thanks go out to my family and friends and clients who constantly remind me of the positive impact my business has had for those around me, but even when you are doing a good job there are times when you scratch your head and wonder if life would be better for everyone if you were doing something else. Long hours and doing without many of the extras you had in your life when you had that steady paycheck can catch you on your low days and make you question your own sanity. That is when you need a support group to help you see that this is all part of owning a business or taking any risks in your life. You need to trust that you are exactly where you are suppose to be and to continue on!
Thanks for listening to my ramblings about starting my own business. As a marketing coach I hear many similar stories from my clients and each have recognized that you might own the business by yourself, but you still need a team of people who help you to build the business and remain strong in your decision to continue!
All my best to your success!