The Accidental Business

Since my goal for this blog is to share my journey and the lessons along the way, it makes sense to start at the beginning.  This is the how and why of my start as a business owner.

The general thinking is that people who own businesses always dreamed of owning one until they succeeded.  The truth is that almost half of businesses are started out of necessity or from a place of pain. I didn’t reallly start my business, it started itself and in the early going I was just along for the ride.

I had a 10 year career going with a local small business that ended badly and left me feeling that I was unwilling to trust someone else with my future.  In this economy – there may be a lot of people feeling this way.  I cried for a day or two – that’s what we women do when we are hurt and in emotional pain.

It would have been easy to pull the shades down and  the blankets over my head – to wallow in the misery for more than a day or two.   Everyone I knew wanted me to fight back – sue the owner.  That is not my style.  I believe that old axiom that when a door closes another one opens somewhere.  I started thinking about what to do next.   I knew that I was fairly unique at the time.  I both understood the accounting process – which back in 1987 only the accountants knew and computer processing side – which only the software companies knew.  There was opportunity there but I couldn’t see what to do with that knowledge.

I decided the most important action to take was to do something – anything, while I tried to figure out how to use my dual knowledge of accounting and computers.  I signed up with Kelly Girl – now the more  PC (politically correct) Kelly Services, so I could do temp work while I tired to figure out my next career move.

I went out on my first assignment to do some peg-board bookkeeping (an archaic manual accounting system) for a local drywall contractor. At the end of the day a salesman walked in to deliver their new Kapypro computer (it was pre-PC).  The owner, Emry, starts saying “I don’t know what I’m going to do.  I don’t know anything about accounting or computers. I just let me bookkeeper go.” Then he looks over at me and asks if I know anything about accounting and computers.  Ah that master Fate.

The first part of my answer is totally guessable – “yes” but my intuition and mouth followed that up with “but not through Kelly.”  He asked what I would change.  I gave him the incredibly foolish, unplanned answer of $15 per hour.  His response?  “You’re on.”  I’m not sure why neither one of us used the word employee. 

As an honest person, I went back to Kelly to see what if any issues needed to be resolved. There were none, as I was offering to work with Emry to do work other than pegboard booking.  So I was clear, my business was born by accident or by cosmic plan depending on your persuasion and so my journey as a business owner began.

So how did I start my business?  It  accidentally started itself.  Why did I start it? Because my sense of trust in an employer was badly broken and having control of my own future just made more sense.

How about you?  Did you always dream of owning a business or was yours born out of necessity or pain?

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