*Note: I began planning for this blog in October of 2015. I got stymied by WordPress and then swept up in working on my new business, so only put up a few posts. My original intention was to narrate my experiences as a new business owner, while juggling the demands of motherhood and personal growth. Almost a year later, my new business (a franchise that I bought in to) was facing significant challenges stemming from issues with corporate. The stress and disappointment of this development served as a catalyst for me to re-examine my situation, my goals, my distribution of energy and then a decision to create positive change. Reviving this blog is a big part of my new path- I know that I have a rocky road ahead, but I feel energized by knowing that now I am the one in control, and that means that I can be confident that any hurdles can be overcome. I have the will, I’m finding the way. It’s my hope that by sharing my experiences, decisions, lessons and wins, I can help others. It’s a big world out there- full of opportunity along with challenges. Let’s focus on the opportunities!
Here is my original post from 10/15:
Well, it has been an interesting few months! After Henry was born in May of 2014 and I emerged from the tired and hormone-y fog of the first six months, I started to experience some existential angst. I’d practiced optometry for seven years and enjoyed it- but didn’t want to start my own practice and be tied to it. To “be the technician,” to quote the guy who wrote The E-Myth. I had gotten my real estate license the year before and been doing that part-time throughout my pregnancy, so I had the option of returning to that. I had the sneaking suspicion, though, that becoming a full-time and full-out realtor was not the optimal path for me. I had no interest in “farming” my neighborhood, or my friends, or my relatives, or friends of my relatives and relatives of my friends and all of their neighborhoods. Yes, realtors really call it farming when they go out door-knocking or send letters asking for referrals or newsletters with “items of value” (i.e. tips on how to clean out your gutters, reminders of daylight savings time, and basically other boring excuses to get their name in front of you on a regular basis). It just wasn’t me, plus it was stressful in a draining way, not an energizing way.
But, I digress. I had an interesting opportunity to work with a gourmet food company when my parents invested in a locally owned business and got a taste (unintentional pun! But still happy about it!) of a world with more opportunity and interesting ideas than I’d found in optometry and real estate. Have you ever been to an optometry conference? It’s exactly as you would picture it, with more Hawaiian shirts (for some reason a certain generation of OD gentlemen love them some festive and comfortable t-shirts). They are very dry, often repetitive, occasionally pertinent to daily practice, and make your bum hurt from sitting. I’m usually the person getting up a bajillion times to go to the lady’s room, trying (and failing) to not let the door make noise when it shuts, then meandering down the halls of whatever convention center or hotel or motel or Holiday Inn we are in and looking for something more stimulating to read or look at, like promotional pamphlets for the local peanut butter factory or flyers for blood drives or, when very lucky, at live parrots and sea turtles (conference on the Big Island). Then I get a snack and go back to the conference room, where I play Sudoku on my phone. Compare this to the Fancy Food Show, the annual convention for delightful confections in San Francisco! It’s bright! It’s loud! It’s fancy, of course! And, it smells amazing! You wander endless rows of treats, things that delight your senses…gourmet cheeses, exotic hummus, slabs of rich chocolate, rice crispie treats, beef jerky, pickles, teas, salts, peppers, seaweed flakes (tastes like fish food), kale chips (literally offended my mom’s sensibilities), maple syrup, rice, sauces…you get the picture. Beats the hell out of staring at pictures of corneal ulcers and cataract surgeries.
Although our engagement with the company ultimately ended after a few months, it allowed me to experience the thrill of being part of something that is far more dynamic, interesting, challenging and engaging than the safer settings I’d been working in previously. I started to look at other businesses for sale- I thought it would be really great if I could find something that would be my own, that I could be the decision maker in, that I could grow and find success in. I considered a gourmet popcorn company in Seattle. I looked at a bottled water company in California. I found a gas station down the road. Then I got a call from a franchise consultant who had gotten my information from the business listings site. That was interesting- the thought of a Subway had also crossed my mind. Through working with him I narrowed down my choices to one final interest: Supercuts. It was recession proof. It was growing. It had a great FDD (franchise disclosure document, mandated by law to be provided to potential franchisees and discloses costs, closures, requirements, etc). I flew to Minnesota (first time!) for their Discovery Day, in which potential franchisees come to company headquarters and have two days of education about the company structure, support for franchisees, vision for the future, plus some wining and dining. It was impressive and made sense. On paper. But, something was missing…I didn’t have a “Why.” I think I learned this from a Tony Robbins book- you need to have a Why. Without the Why, you’re going to burn out. You won’t be working from a place of passion. I tried to make the satisfaction of providing affordable haircuts my Why. Didn’t quite resonate. I tried to focus on giving hairdressers a good place to work. Didn’t quite buy it. Money? Not enough of a Why for me. I was out.
This left me adrift, a place that I am profoundly uncomfortable with. I am a goal-oriented person. I need to know what I’m working towards, to have steps to take and benchmarks to cross. As much as I loved spending days with my baby boy, I wanted to be building something. I wanted a challenge that was satisfying. I wanted to be helping people and making a difference in a bigger way. Then I came across a company that served seniors. I went through their Discovery process, Discovery Day, annual conference and training…and tomorrow my franchise purchase will go through and I will be an official franchise partner! It’s exciting, it’s scary, it’s a bit overwhelming…but it also feels good. I have found a company that I believe to be an excellent fit. I admire it, the founders, the people, the values, the services and the direction it is going. Its purpose resonates with me and I’m pleased to have my new goal, to build a successful business and to help make the lives of seniors better. It’s time to get started!