At the top of 2014, I didn’t have an entrepreneurial bone in my body. I’d been working for the local newspaper for nine years. I loved my sales training job and had just spent three months running the sales staff at a sister paper and had won an award for the work. I was happy. The only downfall? I had a controlling supervisor who didn’t like me and one day, she called a meeting and fired me and I found myself without my job that honestly, defined me. I was miserable but had enough sense to negotiate a severance package with HR. This gave me some time to figure out what I wanted to do.
I very quickly made the decision that I didn’t want to be fired again (which didn’t happen) and it was time to become an entrepreneur. So, I started a life insurance practice. Now, if I had stayed a producer and not felt a strong need to go back into management, I think that move would’ve worked out just fine. However, I found myself eight years later in an industry that the management model didn’t work for me and I wasn’t happy. Luckily, I’d been blogging for a couple of years and fell back in love with the marketing world, so I took another jump.
I wound up with the perfect fit for my entrepreneurial spirit. I started the Kansas City market for a company called Plum District, a Groupon for moms. I loved it but sadly, it didn’t work out. They blew threw millions of dollars, fired all their regional managers and went out of business (this is the Spark Notes version). A fifty-nine day stint at Living Social followed and I decided that the venture capital backed start-up world wasn’t for me.
I took a huge leap of faith and decided to start what I call a conversation marketing firm. The past 3 1/2 years, I’ve written lots of blogs, copy for others and managed social media accounts. I’ve helped people get started blogging, done some sales training and put a lot of time into building my own personal blog. I’ve loved it but sitting in front of a computer all day long gets a little old. So, a few months ago when I fell in love with buttery soft leggings, I decided to start a LuLaRoe clothing business.
My entrepreneurial journey has taken all kinds of twists and turns and to be honest, it’s involved a lot of wine (though consumed responsibly). One of my favorites is Wente Vineyards‘ Morning Fog Chardonnay and the Wente family story is an entrepreneurial journey as well. C.H. Wente immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1883 to create a better life for his family. He learned the winemaking trade in Napa Valley under the tutelage of Charles Krug, then ventured to Livermore to practice his trade. He’d be pleased to know that his family continued his journey.
Five generations later, Wente is still the oldest continuously operated, family owned winery in the country. All of the wines are 100% estate grown and sustainably farmed in the Livermore Valley, San Francisco Bay and Arroyo Secco areas. The Wente Family is proud to be recognized as “California’s First Family of Chardonnay” and the Wente vineyards’ Chardonnay has been recognized as the best-selling varietal in the country for 130 years.
While the Wente family’s journey took one path and stayed the course, mine’s been a little all-over the place. However, I’ve learned a great deal about myself as I’ve started new business ventures. First, I can honestly say, I couldn’t work for anyone else. I’m too entrepreneurial. I I’ve also learned I can no longer work at a profession that requires me to wear real pants. Finally, I know that it doesn’t really matter where you think your destination is because it can change. It’s all about the journey.
What’s been the most important lesson you’ve learned on your journey?