Being a solo entrepreneur

Starting a company and trying to run it on your own is interesting.  When you are part of a larger company, you don’t realize how much support you have in making decisions on a regular basis.  When you are doing it on your own, how do you know that your decisions are the right ones?  Even if you have a board of advisors or friends you can reach out to, how and when will you realize you need help or advice? 

During the late summer, my board of advisors could see I was struggling.  I was still not producing anything on my own, yet no movement had been made with a contract manufacturing facility.  I was stuck – wasn’t sure what foot to put in front next because my vision was too big (which is the curse of a true entrepreneur).

They called a board meeting and told me to not come until 2 hours into it.  They wanted to do their own analysis of the production options so that we could look at this information in the present and make decisions that were best to get us through the end of the year, because we all knew that I had to regain control of the situation.  Also, they wanted to show me that all my resources and energy were being allocated to one piece of the pie (pie is my analogy for the business.  If I put all my eggs into this one piece, the other pieces will be inedible).

I was so focused on getting my products made for me so that I could launch Posh Nosh at an upcoming holiday gift show.  I was getting closer with another manufacturing facility, but what if the same thing happens with these people that happened with the last place?  They could drop me in a heartbeat should a bigger client come in with a huge order for Target or Walmart!  The stress was affecting my sleep, and I was feeling so unhappy.  I was having a hard time figuring out what to do, because I did not want to be back in the kitchen producing this on my own (my joints hurt just thinking about that). It is too much labor for me and I wanted to be the one out there selling my products and building my brand.

It took my board sitting me down and telling me that I am not doing this alone.  I’m not going to be stuck in the kitchen producing thousands of bags of nut mix on my own.  There are other options.

That simple board meeting was liberating for me.  I started looking at kitchen spaces and resources to hire people to help me produce. 

I am going to have to self-produce for this show in December, with some part time help, but that’s now ok with me.  The future is not that, it is about me building a manufacturing team, which, in the short and long term, will enable this company to have more control: how much is produced and when it is produced.  This kitchen space will allow me to freely do more recipe testing and really react to the feedback that we get after we launch this new line, versus committing to thousands of units being produced in a facility, only to find that possibly one flavor sells way better than the other two and having to waste all that product. 

This post is about the people you surround yourself with as a solo business owner.  I am so grateful that they acted and asserted themselves to help me figure this out.  I never asked for their help, but they knew that I could not do this on my own, at least not before doing more damage to my health and sanity. I am so thankful that they care.

I have also been reminded of my values, both personally and for the business.  Kindness is one major value.  Surround yourself with kindness and when you find someone who doesn’t align with that value, run away fast….

 

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