Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Money Where Your Mouth Is

September 14 2011

 It’s been awhile since I’ve written this and quite frankly it’s been difficult to find the time. Things have changed a lot. I sit here writing from a very different perspective than I did when I first started this Ride. The major change is that I am finally doing something that is mine. Not half mine, not mine in name but not in money/risk, just mine.

 I came back from London to work in my family’s glass manufacturing business and not surprisingly it took less than a year for me to realize that that would never really work. Family businesses are tough anyway and working in such tight quarters with my entire immediate family spelled disaster. I recall sitting here at the beginning of the year seriously considering completely changing directions and going into the food industry (a passion of mine.) But I knew I couldn’t. I knew that there were bigger things on the line than my current dissatisfaction.

 Then a very fortuitous thing happened. We were approached by an employee at a major client of ours who was looking to move and wanted to help set up our Transparent Armor division (bullet resistant glass.). We interviewed him and hired him and rather than set up a new division of the company, I started my own. Now this went down like a sh*t sandwich with pretty much everyone but my Dad. The reasons for going out on my own were not just selfish. By setting up myself, I could run a small business, woman owned company and take advantage of the billions of dollars the government sets aside every year for those categories. There was only 1 other woman owned transparent armor company and it would give us a serious competitive advantage in the industry.

 But of course another major reason was to give myself that separation between church and state, or in this case between my family and me. Even though my Mom pretty much wouldn’t speak to me for a month after, I can safely say it was the right decision. Now I finally feel like a business owner. Before, there were times, when I felt like a fraud. I was a business owner but I had partners. I also never put any of my own money down until now. I’ve come to realize that like so many things in life… it all comes down to money. Money = risk and risk = the reality of owning a business. If you are not sharing any of the risk, then the title of Owner/President/MD etc is a name only.

 I am now realizing that investing in myself means that I have much more control over the outcome of that investment than say investing in a house. I am also realizing that there is never, ever a good time to take time off. A company that is yours never sleeps and the bigger and more successful you become, the more invested you become. There was time when I used to struggle to get out of bed and would occasionally think of excuses as to why I might be late, Wicklow my dog, being an often used one. Now I don’t even consider the snooze button and cannot fathom making up some stupid reason as to why I am going to sleep an extra 2 hours. Why? Because I don’t want to sleep an extra 2 hours. I want to be there, making things happen and getting a return for my investment!!

 That old saying, “if you find something you love to do then you’ll never work another day in your life” starts making some sense. While I wouldn’t quite classify me there yet… way too smug of a comment anyway for my liking, I can start to see the meaning. It is starting to feel like a game again and one that I know I have a good chance of winning. That’s what is getting me out of bed and excited again... knowing I am on a winning team.