At 8:30am, on May 29, 1989, I got the call. Perhaps you know the one – where the person you work for either calls you in the office, or, as in my case, on the phone, and tells you that your services will no longer be needed. The pink slip. Downsized. Right-sized. Canned. Sacked. Whatever…
You can thank me now for sparing you the details – that doesn’t matter. What did matter was that I had two teenagers and two mortgages, so my first thought was to dust off the old resume and get out there looking for a job. Then I thought … nah … I don’t need any help screwing up my life, I can do that by myself.
At precisely 8:35am, on May 29, 1989, I became a small business owner. “Jim Blasingame & Associates, Business Consultants.” I wish I could say that I conducted a comprehensive due diligence effort to divine the most viable direction and timing of my new business, but I didn’t. Two mortgages, two kids, no job and tired of someone else determining my future. That was it.
My business model was based on becoming a consultant to small businesses, and I actually pulled that off. The combination of decades of marketplace experience helping customers solve problems in a vendor role, plus the aforementioned motivation, proved enough to provide success. All I had to add was marketing and sales – actually get someone to pay for my services – and learn how to manage the financial elements of my own business, including charging enough to pay the bills, make payroll and a profit.
After reinventing myself as a business owner, a few years later I reinvented my company from a one-on-one consulting firm into a media company that serves a mass audience. Small Business Network, Inc., was formed in 1997 with the birth of my first website and nationally syndicated radio program, The Small Business Advocate® Show. Over the past 11+ years we’ve added a number of other multi-media elements, like this blog, but in the end, all have been part of the evolution of the business that began 20 years ago.
Happy anniversary to me.
I’ve learned some things in the past 20 years. I learned what I didn’t know. I learned how and when to seek counsel. I learned more about being a small company working with big ones. I learned about making mistakes and the realities of being the one upon which the proverbial buck stops. It’s a big, hairy buck, by the way. It has teeth and claws and weighs about two tons. And I’ve learned that every time the buck lands on me I get a little bit better at dealing with it.
In celebration of this milestone, as I conducted my 3,002nd weekday broadcast, I talked about my entrepreneurial birth and life, including some of the things I’ve learned. Below are four links to that show, each with the topic, and all are between six and eight minutes long - no commercials. Take a listen, and be sure to leave your own entrepreneurial story and other thoughts.
In the beginning:
What I didn’t know:
Who should you listen to?:
Growing the business: