“You are either building your dreams or helping someone else build theirs.”
That quote alone gave me enough motivation to quit my job and finally do something I have always wanted to do: Start my own business.
This is something I have been talking about since I was 8 years old. I’m not kidding! I used to try to turn everything into a business, from my lemonade stands to my own babysitters club. When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up, I always replied: “Own my own business.” Of course, I first had to come to terms with the fact that I wouldn’t be a famous figure skater or singer!
As I grew older, I always had my hands in some form of an entrepreneurial project. Jewelry making, designing cell phone cases, doing social media for local business in exchange for free services and goods… but I never felt like any of these projects fulfilled me or were something I wanted to do full time. I was still finding my way.
A few years later, a great friend of mine was helping me make the jump from bartender to entrepreneur. It was something that scared the shit out of me and excited me at the same time. He introduced me to business partners who had an incredible idea they wanted to bring to the U.S. and asked for my help implementing and running the new business.
This was an incredible opportunity – and it was scary as fuck for me. We were teaching kids to code by interacting with live satellites and we were the first outside of NASA to do this! But the self-doubt began to kick in:
HOW THE HELL AM I GOING TO DO THIS?
WHAT IF I FUCK IT ALL UP?
WHAT IF THEY ALL FIND OUT IM NEW AT THIS AND REGRET USING ME?
WHAT IF I FUCK IT ALL UP?
WHAT IF NO ONE TAKES ME SERIOUSLY?
WHAT IF WE FAIL?
WHAT IF I FUCK IT ALL UP? …and so on over the next year.
That experience was challenging for me. I was consistently pushed out of my comfort zone and forced into types of situations I had previously avoided, like networking and speaking in public. I challenged myself professionally by doing new things and many times I felt like I was a child again. I was surrounded by professionals who I respected and admired and wanted to be like – but I never felt like I fitted in … which pushed me to try even harder.
I remember my first meeting with one of my business partners, who said: “you still have a hotmail account, you cannot be a professional with a hotmail account.”
At the time, I felt like an imposter. I felt like every day I would get up to do something I couldn’t do and would try to present a certain image that everyone might be seeing through. I would spend the day at work, am then go home and cry to my boyfriend about how I wasn’t good enough and wasn’t cut out for this lifestyle. Eventually, we launched our company and had a successful first trial run … and I decided I needed to go back to bartending.
I love bartending. I am good at it, I am very social, and the money is always good. But I knew it wasn’t something I wanted to do for the rest of my life and going back to bartending really brought this to my attention. During my 29th birthday weekend, I went to a Christmas party and everyone introduced me as ‘their favorite bartender’ or ‘the best bartender ever’. Something about that just didn’t sit right with me. This is not my true identity. I quit my job the next day and decided to focus on launching my own business: Pink Coral.
Pink Coral is a women’s online boutique I launched in October 2017. It is Miami-based, Miami inspired, and Miami bought. I came up with the idea to start my store when I was walking around in Wynwood and discovered the wholesale markets. I started researching the markets and decided I wanted to start an online boutique that is “All things Miami.” Something inside me said this is what I needed to do, but it was NOT easy. I first made one, five, and ten-year plans and then I got busy executing the plans. Another day, I will describe what exactly I had to do to get started. After almost a year and a half of hard work, I finally launched my store, www.pinkcoralmia.com (check it out), and I launched this blog.
There are many reasons why this is both incredibly exciting and incredibly scary for me, as with any major life change.
I am my own boss.
This is the coolest part. I get to work the way I want to, where I want to, how I want to, and when I want too. My ideas are always taken into consideration (haha) and I don’t have anyone to answer to.
I am living my dream.
It’s super cool to be living a life that was once just a thought in your head (which is why positive thinking is very important when you are an entrepreneur). Truth be told, many people don’t actually pursue those thoughts in their head and believe that their dreams are unattainable. But you never know what you can accomplish unless you actually go out and do it (thanks for telling me that for 30 years, daddy!). It is said that the Universe will not give you a dream unless it believes you can accomplish it.
I am incredibly proud of myself.
*Super lame moment, I know …* But I did it! I couldn’t have done it without my friends and family support and help, and by believing in myself and in my dreams, I did it and I am so proud of myself for doing it. Just trying out ideas is the step many people are afraid to take. You can always get that money back and can always apply the work in some other area of your life, but you can never take back that feeling of “what if I had tried that?” I say it’s worth the risk just to never have to wonder what could have been.
I am my own boss.
This is the scariest part! There is no calling in sick or quitting. I have committed to myself, to everyone else, to my company, and most importantly my bank account. I have talked about my ideas to everyone, I have lived and breathed Pink Coral for an entire year and a half, and no one else is responsible for my success except me.
Every day is different and uncertain.
Each day is different from the last and sometimes the uncertainty of an open schedule is enough to stop people from taking the risk of starting their own business. Some days are obviously better than others, but every day I wake up doing what I love and I embrace the challenges and even the setbacks (for the most part). Half of new business ideas fail, so being flexible at all times is VITAL.
There is no security.
A lot of people need their weekly paycheck and set work schedule to feel comfortable in life. I understand this need. It is scary not to know when or where your next payout will be coming from, but that fear is precisely the challenge that drives me to work harder and longer to see results.
“Entrepreneurs are the only people who will work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week.”
Anyone who does something risky in their life has this fear in the back of their heads. Some people are better at shutting it up than others, but the fear is always there. If you give into this fear it can consume you, but remember that nothing worth doing comes easy, especially when you follow your ideas and dreams. Every day when I talk about my business or my blog or a post about it on social media, there is a voice in my head thinking everyone is laughing at me or thinking I’m foolish to I think I can do this – and yet, I am doing it. I feel the fear and I do it anyways.
Launching your own business is scary. SO SCARY. For months you have been living and breathing this idea you are working on, you are talking about it with everyone and anyone, marketing yourself on social media and networking like crazy. People are watching and judging you and you want to live up to the hype you have created. You are responsible for your own success and this pressure will build and will serve as motivation. I cannot tell you the incredible messages and feedback I have received since launching, but I can tell you I didn’t always have this kind of support in my life. A lot of people have questioned me, my commitment, my motives and some of my “friends” just flat out struggled to support me because they didn’t want to see me do something they themselves were too afraid to do (seriously, I lost friends due to this!) At the end of the day, though, it only matters what I think. Even if my store is unsuccessful (which is WON’T BE) I know I tried and took a chance.
Just Do it
There will never be the perfect scenario to starting your business. I am a BIG planner when it comes to work and I planned my launch date, the date I would quit my job, the first three shopping trips, and so on. However, I did not meet any of those deadlines because life happens and in business, things don’t always go as planned. If you have an idea, just get started. The rest will happen and if it doesn’t, then guess what: you are going to have to hustle to make it happen … but it will be a lot easier if you have the ball rolling already. One piece of advice I have about this stage, though: MAKE A BUSINESS PLAN. I don’t understand why so many people skip this step. It is CRITICAL. My business plan changed 10 times and I would spend weeks making it and then throwing it out and starting over. Your business plan will show you where you need to focus, show you the reality behind your dream, and what steps you need to take. Chances are, the business plan will also show you what you need to change and how you need to change. Making your dream a reality takes real work, but it is possible and it is A LOT of fun.
Expect the worse and multiply that by 10.
Things are going to go wrong. This isn’t a maybe. Things will go wrong. Even the most detailed plans will change once you put everything into action. However, this is when opportunity begins to happen. Once you see some things go wrong or for even if EVERYTHING goes wrong, you will start to get into a flow. You will learn how to act under pressure and will learn to embrace the challenges you face (or you can find out this isn’t for you and go back to your old life. That’s okay too). Like I mentioned before, more than half of new businesses fail. A lot of those failures have paved the way for bigger and better ideas, so you need to be prepared for the worse while hoping for the best. This is the exciting part!
It’s okay to fail.
Half of new businesses will fail, but at long as you look at it as a lesson to learn from, you will grow. There are very few entrepreneurs and business owners that can look at you and tell you they have never failed once in their endeavors. The people who choose to embrace failure are the ones who succeed. It’s a setback, but that’s all it is. It’s an opportunity to regroup and reassess your plan of attack.
Gary Vee talks about the importance of failure all the time. Check out his article on “The importance of failure”
IF you want to start your own blog or business, DO IT! There is no day like TODAY. If you have ANY questions or I can help in any way, please send me a message! I will help anyone the way my friends were quick to help me!
*This post is dedicated to my amazingly talented friend TALI who is about to start her new journey. Check her out YouTube channel HERE *