I'm a serial entrepreneur. I've been building businesses since I was 25. With each business, I learned something crucial. And I was never swayed to the "safety" of the workforce with failure.
Business 1: Just Us Gals Social Club (unfortunate acronym...). Established in 1999, way before social media was a thing. My sister and I wanted to create social outings for women who were having difficulty connecting with others in their community. Good idea. No profit model. We had no idea how to make money doing it. No dollar loss.
Business 2: Creative Crates Canada, established in 2005. Once again, my sister and I partnered to create "themed rooms in a box" for parents who wanted to decorate their kids rooms without having to paint. It was a good idea. We had a profit model. We naively believed if we had a website, we would be found online. Kijiji was just becoming mainstream, and it was our only source of (limited) sales. We had no marketing or advertising model. We each lost about $3000.
Business 3: In 2008, I started a personal training business based on park workouts and in-home training. As winter approached, I knew I had to find a way to continue. So in 2009, I opened a gym space called Jo Dumont Fitness Training. Again, trying to create what didn't exist at the time. No machines - just equipment you could easily have at home. And kids were welcome, always. It was a good idea. I had a great business plan. I had Market Research. I advertised using Twitter, Facebook and Kijiji. What I didn't do was charge enough to meet my operating needs. We funded the shortfall using personal funds tied to my ex-husband's income. This was disastrous when we got divorced. We had invested $110,000 in cash. We'd never get it back. I took loans from friends that I ultimately couldn't pay back. With nothing left, I declared bankruptcy, and tried to rebuild my life. Poverty would define the next 2 years of my life.
Business 5: JDFT Inc. In 2012, in order to keep the gym kicking, I sought out partners. 4 people came on board with an investment of $3,000. The business lasted for four months, before it was voted closed in a private board meeting. I learned a lot.
Business 6: My gym was gone, I needed an income, my ex-husband refused to pay for childcare provided by friends or family, and I couldn't afford childcare provided by strangers. I couldn't "go to work." So once again, I trained outside, keeping my kids with me. Knowing I would soon be in trouble if I didn't address the weather issue, in the summer of 2012, I opened a small personal training space called non(gym). As Jo(e) started to generate income, I moved out of personal training, retiring in December of 2012.
Business 6: Jo(e) Ideas for Business (and then changed to Jo(e) Social Media Inc.) was born on a patio in the summer of 2012. I found a partner I knew would never betray me, who had skills that balanced mine, and we started planning. We had a good idea that wasn't popular. No one thought businesses should be hiring out their social media. We proceeded anyway. We had a business plan. We developed a Profit Model. We did our Market Research. We advertised. I had an excellent partner. We generated income and used that income to move our business forward, rather than using debt or personal funds. And SUCCESS.
Your path in business won't be easy. You'll fail. Sometimes when you fail, you'll lose everything.
Well, almost everything. You might lose friends. You might lose your reputation. You might lose your money, your house, your spouse. You won't lose who you are (for long). You won't lose those who are truly friends. You won't lose a spouse who deeply loves you. The definition of a successful entrepreneur is someone who took risk significant enough they had no choice but to be successful.
Everything you lose, can be rebuilt. And what you build next, will be bigger. Better. On all fronts.