And opened a coworking space.
If you said what’s that, click here.
If you said where click here.
If you’re still with me, the rest of this post is about what I did and what it took to reach this tipping point.
It took me years to build a network
Some of the most valuable connections I have today are with people in industries that I would rarely overlap with on a daily basis, yet they’ve frequently referred people to my business and continue to connect me to other innovative people.
I wouldn’t have met these people if I hadn’t gone to any class that peaked my interest, events focused around a topic or theme that intrigued me, or panel discussions for industries I didn’t work in but still wanted to learn about.
Basically, if it caught my attention, I went.
Without diving into the reasons why “networking” is BS (because you can read that here), I’ll simply say: I talked to people at these events. Met them for coffee or drinks, went to their events, provided a listening ear, or just showed my support however I could.
Over the years these relationships have grown, and when the time came for me to make my announcement of opening a coworking space, people gave me their support in return. I couldn’t have gotten that from someone I met a few weeks ago.
I saved my money.
Yes, there is no fairy godmother VC or angel investor in my story, although I’m not saying you couldn’t go that route. I saved money for a year while I was still employed full time, and it was hard. Because the dream I was saving up for seemed far away, and I had the bright-eyed belief that I would be the rare entrepreneur that starts making money way ahead of projections. Hint: I’m not.
Looking back, I could have saved a lot more while I was still working, and I wish I did, because I’m living off that savings now, entirely.
Family. And Love.
I am 100% certain that without my parents, siblings, cousins, friends, and boyfriend, I wouldn’t have been able to open my coworking space. And I didn’t take a dime from any of them.
Instead, they gave me what I couldn’t save up myself: love and support.
In the weeks leading up to our launch they were my helping hands on site, pulling out drywall, painting, sweeping, and bringing me food when stress was high and my appetite was first to be forgotten.
After our launch, they came by my space, a lot. And I couldn’t have been more grateful. They popped in to see how I was doing, talked with our members, continued to bring me food, and what they’ll never know was the most supportive and beneficial thing for me was simply their presence.
There were days when I felt discouraged, worried, and fearful – feelings any small business owner knows well. Seeing my sister unexpectedly walk through the door with takeout food, on one of our first days in business when not one person had come in all day, almost brought me to tears.
And when my business worries carried on past opening hours, my boyfriend was there to listen to my frenzied thoughts and work through my dilemmas with me, in addition to the countless hours he spent fixing and building things on site. Just having someone to tell my deepest fears to has helped me more than any business book, online article, or TED talk video ever could.
But there’s more. Something deeper and incredibly empowering. It’s the comfort and assurance of being loved by the people closest to me that has allowed me to make the biggest gamble of my life. Not that I think of them of as a safety net, because for me it’s really hard (almost to a fault) to ask people for help.
Rather, it’s simply knowing that they’ll still love me if I’m a broke failure.
And thats what it took, for me.
What do you need to get where you want to be?