Small Business Ownership: Rewarding, Challenging and Educational

Small business ownership is something that comes with benefits, challenges, and thousands of little lessons. I sold my first business the day I turned 16; it was a babysitting and housecleaning portfolio of 80 hours of work and 30 regular customers. Somebody told me if I had a client list, it could be sold for a profit, and that is what I did. Since then I’ve cleaned commercial buildings and airplane hangars, sold produce and Christmas trees, offered personal beauty products, and am currently co-owner of a small construction company (Balbi Painting), and co-owner of an all-original band (Chainsmoker.)

My latest small business venture, Kay Won’t Tell launched in May 2011. The name is actually a play on a theme. People get into trouble when they hold in secrets or can’t face their fears. Most businesses get into trouble when they can’t see or don’t have a strong vision. I am a teacher of tools, tricks and techniques to overcome business and personal challenges.

Constant learning and application

Whether it is working with Fortune 500 company executives helping them set their annual strategy and deploying it effectively, helping girls who are struggling with addiction or their sexuality, or networking with fellow business owners and writers, fundamentally, adopting a lifelong mantra of continuous learning has gotten me to the point where I am at today.

Fear as a motivator

Many people see fear as an obstacle. However, learning to channel that energy into something positive and overcoming those obstacles can be very motivating. At one point in my life, I was deathly afraid of people needing to be high or drunk in order to socialize and get through school.

Attempting to get sober three months shy of my eighteenth birthday, my counselor suggested I had to learn new ways of dealing with my insecurities and fears. I began identifying my fears and facing them one by one.

One of my top fears was socializing and public speaking. Surprisingly it is the number one fear on the Top 10 list of things people fear, with fear of death ranking in at number two. I knew I had to overcome my fear of dealing with people if I wanted to be successful in life so I began to pursue opportunities that would help me overcome my fear.

Expertise comes from doing

If you have a similar fear, I encourage you to face it head on. This is how I overcame my fear of dealing with others and speaking publicly:

Accepted difficult challenges at work that no one else wanted Volunteered my time and services in civic groups, speaking, organizing, planning, representing Accepted gradually more responsible positions in business hierarchy forcing me to generate and give reports Furthered my formal education Challenged myself on things like finance and law that were out of my comfort zone Did things because my mentors suggested that I do them Joined Toastmaster’s Started a band

Life is a journey, not a destination

The benefits of being your own boss include personal growth, limitless networking, and potential financial success. The challenges can be learning new things and pushing outside of your comfort zone. Adopting a life-long mindset of learning, challenging fears, and building upon what is already known are great ways to get traction in operating a small business.

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