Last week I began sharing how my husband and I reached the point of starting a small business. Click here if you missed the beginning and want to catch up.
It became a job
But one day it happened—the small business that we grew from nothing had become a job. We dreaded going to complete jobs. We were frustrated with our employees. They were most likely frustrated with us. We felt stuck again.
At first, we thought we were just burnt out. We were tired. We got ourselves stuck “working in our business” instead of “working on our business” (but that’s another lesson altogether). Then, we realized that while we loved owning a business, we had no passion for the industry that we were in. That is where many of our problems begin. You can have what society would consider a great job with lots of perks, but if you have no passion for the work, it’s just a job you feel stuck in. We wanted out.
We continued to grow frustrated working while trying to think of our best exit strategy. There were a few people we thought might be interested in owning the business, but they were all dead ends. We struggled to keep our quality up. Once you lose interest in what you do, it becomes so much harder to stay motivated to do your best work. You start having to watch yourself more to make sure you aren’t doing the bare minimum to get by.
Our exit strategy
In September 2013 we decided to list our business with a broker. Again, we restricted who we talked to about this. There was a very small handful of people that knew we were trying to sell the business. It was the few people that we felt we could share and trust to pray for our situation without stepping over the line and handing out unsolicited advice. By February 2014 we met with a few potentials buyers and at the end of June, we finally closed with the new buyer.
People were surprised when we slowly started to let them know that we had sold the business and were getting our house ready to list with a realtor. We didn’t have all the answers about where we wanted to go and what our next step would be, but we realized that sometimes that is ok. Sometimes if you wait to proceed until you know all the details of what will come next, you will never make a change. Sometimes there is no way of knowing all the details until you take the first step.
The sweet end
One of the things that helped the most was not telling people our plans. People were not able to convince us not to sell the business because we didn’t tell everyone until it was already complete. Be cautious in what you share with people and who you share it with. Wise and mature individuals will give good advice when asked instead of giving an uneducated opinion whenever they feel like it.
It was such a great feeling to sell our business. It really put into prospective what an asset owning your own company can be. We worked hard in the business for a little over five years. A lot of times we invested more time than most people who work standard full-time jobs. But for over 2 ½ years the business supported us 100% without having to supplement from anywhere else. And not only did it support us, but it grew to become something that we were able to sell and profit from a second time.
We could have worked that five years making the same money for other companies. Then we could have quit our jobs when we were ready to move on. But, by investing our time into owning a business we were able to sell it instead of just putting in a two-week notice and walking away. This has allowed us to have a transition period instead of having to jump from one job directly to the next to pay the bills. It has been a huge blessing and we learned so many lessons along the way about what we will do differently next time. I am excited to see what our future will hold!