Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Difference A Day Makes

The day was Thursday, October 29th and I had been pushing all week to solidify sponsorship for the entrepreneur and small business owners cruise.  I was calling and emailing everybody and still nothing.  I was bummed and had no motivation and I just wanted to hide under the covers like I did when I was a little kid.  Except I'm not a kid anymore. What was I going to do?  It was pretty much Friday already and I felt like I had nothing to show for the week as it related to this event. Who was going to sponsor an event planned by a small company like Kennedy Consulting.

It's now Friday morning and I'm sitting at my desk starring at my computer screen going over in my head what else I could have done or who else I could have called.  Was it my pitch, was it the time I called...what was it? Then, the phone rang and I didn't recognize the 425 area code; who was this I wondered.  "Hello this is April" I said a bit cautiously and the voice on the other end said, "April this is Mr. X calling from Costco and I'd like to talk with you about your upcoming event."  At that moment my mind went completely blank, so I rattled off a few words before coming to my senses.  After I finished my pitch he said, "sounds like a great event and thanks for giving us such advanced notice, that says a lot about you and your company."  He requested for me to email him the sponsorship materials, so I did and I'm currently waiting for their decision.  

Even if Costco chooses not to sponsor our event next year, I have forever been changed by this experience.  The difference a day makes when you're an entrepreneur is huge! One day you are doing everything you can think of to make something happen and the next day, that which you have been working towards is a reality.  My friend Andrew Morrison who is the small business camp guru, made a statement that really stuck with me, he said "There are people out there who believe in your dreams."  Wow!  I thought, he's right all I have to do is connect with them and the rest will be history.  To my fellow entrepreneurs or those of you who hope to be, keep pushing and I guarantee that the results will amaze you.

Small business resource of the week Facebook.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Freedom Ride (the 18¢ sequel)

As I walked out of that office in Virginia on my last day my legs felt like jello, I kept hearing Bill Cosby's voice in my head for some reason.  Though everyone was sad to see me go, silently I sensed their relief at my departure.  Relieved that I, the energetic, strategic planning, always good idea having senior consultant would no longer be their competition.  As I headed down that long hallway for the last time, part of me wanted to run back, while the rest of me was excited about all the future possibilities.  Whatever those were.

As I saw that North Star appear out of the horizon, pointing me to freedom, I felt a tune welling up inside me, "oh freedom, oh freedom...oh freedom over me."  There it was in all its glory the Ballston, Virgina Metro stop, with that big "M" on the outside of the elevator.  The orange line would carry me to freedom.  I pressed that elevator button and the voice said "going down",  I thought, uh-oh hopefully that's not literal.  I spent the next hour underground, no light and suffering from severe motion sickness.  This was certainly not the freedom ride I'd envisioned. Finally I hopped off and transferd at the Metro Center to the Red line, well surely, I'd be home free now. Until the very thing that I'd always been afraid of happening-happened.  A very muffled, low-talking operator came over the intercom and rattled off something like the following, "Due to a mysterious package left (unintelligible) on the platform ahead the train will disembark at the Takoma Park Station, again we apologize (unintelligible) delay."  Or something like that.  Great I thought, one stop away from my destination, this freedom ride was turning into a freedom walk.

After finally making it to the Silver Spring Metro Station, I hobbled to my car and began to weep, not cry but weep.  I suppose I was in mourning over leaving my old, very comfortable life to one that was unstable and filled with unexpected twists and turns.  This was in fact my "one last cry" and boy was it a good one.  After sitting in my car for what seemed like an hour, I felt a sense of peace that made me think that this was the right choice and I moved forward and haven't looked back since.  The following Monday I went to Mexico and conceived Kennedy Consulting.  "Si Se Puede"!

Small Business Spotlight of the week is Urban Junction East (John Stoddart).

Monday, November 9, 2009

18 Cents

After walking away from the highest paying job that I've ever had in my 13 year career I had no idea what I was going to do but I knew that at the very least I needed to start walking.  I woke up one morning and decided that I was "sick and tired of being sick and tired."  On top of that my commute was 2 hours each way...that's insane!  So I walked away and my "friends" thought I was crazy but I knew that if I stayed there just for the money then I truly would be crazy.  They all kept saying, "what are you going to do for money" and "are you sure you made the right choice"? At the time I would always say, I have no doubts that I made the right decision until I checked my bank account after pushing to get something started for 3 months.  There it was staring me right in the face, balance 18 ¢.  I thought, well at least I'm not in the red.  

I was in fact broke, actually I was broker than broke but I had hope, determination and faith and that's worth more than silver or gold.  I quickly learned though that a broke entrepreneur is a creative entrepreneur and boy did I get creative.  I also cut back on expenses and ate a few less meals but the quality of my work never diminished.  Now that it's more than a year and a half later not only has that 18¢ grown but so has Kennedy Consulting's list of supporters and cheerleaders.  Yes there are still the nay-sayers and I've gotten use to cold shoulders, snubs and grapevine chatter, all indications that I made the right choice.  If I had the chance to do it all over again, I would absolutely choose the route that I took because it was just what I needed.  Your journey will be different but I guarantee that if you stick with it the outcome will be greater than you could have hoped for. So even if all the signs are pointing to giving up or your friends question your sanity, get rid of them and keep pushing forward.  You can do it!

Small business spotlight of the week is Optimum Capital Management