Ten years ago I’ve started my own business
As some of you might now, I am self employed. It’s a weird thing to say because it always needs more explaining - self employment these days can mean a variety of things. You can be self employed by pimping yourself out to larger companies as a consultant, you can be a self-employed sales person, or even a blogger/Youtuber/Instagrammer. Or you can run white powder type of goods across the border.
In my case it’s neither one of those scenarios though I heard profit margins in the last one are very appealing. Life expectancy is much shorter though and there is always a chance of ending up in jail with unwanted sexual advances of some guy named Chuck.
In my case, I run a contracting company. It’s a very traditional and boring but at the same time real business that makes things happen for our clients. This isn’t a sexy startup, it’s nothing flashy or cutting edge. Sometimes it’d downright dirty. But it has a number of customers, and it puts food on our table and pays bills for a number of people that work for me.
Ten years ago, I’ve sunk all of my savings into it.
The opportunity came up, and I’ve literally cleaned out my bank account, sold off my mutual fund investments, and put all the money I had to start this business. Back then it was a huge pile of money - nearly $100,000. Literally, all the money I had in my name.
Not only that! I’ve also had to move to another city to do it. I love Vancouver, it’s truly is a gorgeous city, but I had to leave it and move to Okanagan Valley to run it.
On top of it, I had to convince my wife that it’s a good idea. Well, actually it wasn’t that hard - she is one supportive woman. So, when I told her my idea, she said she’s on board with that.
We packed everything in a small trailer, hitched it to a newly bought pickup truck, and off we went to a new city, new life, and a business venture.
And here we are ten years later still standing.
It’s been an adventurous ride. Inside of these ten years, I’ve met some great people, learned a lot about myself, managed to improve myself on many levels, but also had a lot of failures. May be one day I’ll write a post about lessons and failures along the way.
It’s amazing how much ten years can change you. Ten years ago I was an optimistic young man who expected all the good things happen to him. Nowadays, I’m more like a Vietnam vet who seen some shit and would strongly advise against some of it.
Some fun facts about running this business for 10 years:
- I’ve learned A LOT about running a business. Everything from marketing and hiring new people to dealing with difficult customers and government officials. It’s been a very steep learning curve with huge failures and small wins along the way which prompted even more learning.
- There was a lot of failures. Some of the actions I took were downright dumb and idiotic. Even to this day, I remember some mistakes I’ve made in my early days and can’t help but to shake my head - What The F$%#^ Was I Thinking???
- An award from Local Chamber of Commerce and local government for good business practices has our name on it. I even had to buy a suit to be able to accept the award. Funny, I’ve never owned a suit before and relied mostly on work pants and boots for fashion statements. Some businessman I am, right?
- This line of work landed me in a pool of my own blood one day. No kidding around, I’ve almost bled to death because of an injury I’ve received on a job site. Luckily, ambulance came quickly and took me to a hospital, and all I have left as a reminder is a couple of cool scars. But scars make men more appealing as my dad used to say.
- I’ve seen what it’s like to run this business at the height of economy when you can’t find employees and have to scramble resources to get all the projects done. I’ve also seen how devastating a recession can be to the local economy and watched my business take giant hits in revenue and bottom line during those times.
- It’s very cool to me when my phone rings, and somebody on the other line says - Hey, I need your help with a problem. Sure thing, I’m in the business of fixing problems.
- Ever heard somebody say “Find something you love doing and you’ll never have to work in your life?” It’s complete bullshit.
Would I do it again?
It’s a bit of a cliché for anybody who talks about taking leap of faith -“Oh, I would do it again in a heartbeat!”. In my case … not necessarily. Perhaps, I would do it again, but very differently. May be it would be a different business. But what’s done is done. I’m here, it still running, and hopefully will be around for the next few years. Not planning to retire from it any time soon.