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A Word From A Small Business Owner

November 30, 2013

Ah, the good 'ole days!

Ah, the good ‘ole days!

I have been a small business owner of one kind or another most of my life. I have experienced first hand the challenges, headaches, difficulties, excitement and heartbreak that go hand in hand with this life choice. My first attempt came when I was thirty-two and pregnant with my second child. My first son was not yet three.

A little history: When my first son was born, I left my job in marketing and publishing  to be a stay-at-home Mom. Things were tight on one income, but we were managing, as my husband held a prominent position in his father’s business in New York.  He was positioned to take over the business in the not too distant future.

As often happens in life, the totally unexpected occurred.  Out of the blue (to us) his father sold the business and we were left high and dry. It was time for a change of scenery and we decided to pull up roots and move to a small town in Virginia. I was eager to find a different sort of environment in which to raise our children.

My husband decided to try his hand at selling cars, while looking for another more like the one he had.  (Have I ever mentioned that he’s an avid car fan? Not the nuts & bolts mechanic kind, but more like the Jay Leno, got-to-have every beautiful car out there kind!) It was a natural fit and it wasn’t long before he managed to become the dealership’s #1 Salesman (VW & Mazda), while I managed to become pregnant with our second son.

The car business is erratic at best and when I was done throwing up, I got wound up about starting a used baby furniture business out of my home. I wanted to help out financially, but I also wanted to do something besides be a Mom.  Yard sales were to die for where we lived and as I was heavily focused on baby stuff, it was a natural fit. Plus, I’ve always had an affinity for seeing the value in perfectly good things that shouldn’t be thrown away and so I began. I got a business license, found a banker who thought the idea was splendid and launched my little business “Baby’s Best”.

It didn’t stay in my home for long. I filled the basement of our townhouse with all sorts of treasures and then rented a space on main street and set up shop. My first-born followed me through my day as I planned, cleaned, arranged the show room, and eventually opened the doors. By this time I was eight and a half months pregnant. The day I delivered my youngest son I worked all day hauling furniture into the store, setting it up and working the books, etc. to get things ready for what I hoped would be my brief postpartum absence.

After being on my feet for nine hours I went home and collapsed. At 10:00 p.m. I started to have pains and by midnight I was in the hospital. I delivered sometime the next morning. Friends and family members kept the store going while I recovered from my second C-section, but it wasn’t long until my “other” baby was calling me. I arranged to have my older son spend the mornings at my sister’s pre-school, and baby and I made the daily trip to the shop and worked all day. Big brother arrived shortly after lunch where he took his nap in a little closet turned nursery. When baby wasn’t sleeping, he hung out in whatever play pen or crib was on the store floor at the time or hang out with me in a Snugli.  Things rarely went smoothly, but the store patrons were more than understanding and we managed.  The shop was a hit.

Baby’s Best was the first in a long line of small businesses that I have launched in my lifetime. I applaud all of you who follow whatever bug gets a hold of you and drives you to do the same. It’s never easy, but it’s always a learning experience. When we follow our bliss, whatever it is, our lives are filled with meaning, purpose and joy.

If you are considering launching a small business, just getting started, or have run into a road block feel free to contact me.  I offer small business coaching services on a limited basis. I specialize in start ups, getting started online, marketing and social media development and have worked with coaches, writers, artists, health and wellness business owners and a variety of other brick and mortar businesses. Contact me via email, and if I can I’ll help you take the next step.

Dorothy Sander © 2013

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 30, 2013 9:11 pm

    Wonderful story! We all need to support small, local businesses, especially now, when so many of us are in the shopping mode.

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