When I attended the Whitman School of Management through Syracuse University, Neale Godfrey, an American author who writes books on financial literacy for children, including most notably “Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Financially Responsible Children” talked to my class about sacrifices.
She said that once you start a business there will be times when you’re counting pennies just to pay for Macaroni and cheese and then other times you’ll come home with a check big enough for a steak dinner. Business is high and low. The trick, she said, is to decide what you’re willing to sacrifice and what you’re not.
No truer words were ever spoken.
I understood what Godfrey was saying because I come from a family of entrepreneurs. My grandparents on both sides owned mushroom farms and distribution plants and my parents and grandparents owned a farmers market together as I was growing up. After college I was offered an opportunity by a venture capitalist to start any business I wanted. I rescinded his offer because I learned from the time I was small that when times were plentiful, life seemed easy. When they were lean…well, let’s just say that I didn’t mind scrounging through the couch cushions to gather a bit of change to ride my bike down to the store to find something to eat.
It’s part of the sacrifices you make when you start a business. The trick I’m learning is to ride out the lean times until you get to the times of plenty.
This sounds easy but emotionally it’s tough. I’d like to state for the record that I am totally debt free. Nothing I own owns me. However, it doesn’t mean that it’s simple to ride out the lean times. I ask myself often: is this broken or just an excuse to give up? To this there is no simple answer. I have not owned and operated a business without having a a full time gig before and therefore I have yet to determine when times will be booming and when times will be scarce.
So I have to ask myself about what I am willing to sacrifice during times of uncertainty. Some questions are simple: do you really need knock-out roses in the front of the house when you don’t have a client lined up this week? That’s pretty easy but yet when I drive through the community and see the neighbors beautifully landscaped yards, I covet what they have and I feel a bit inadequate for not having the same. I ask myself sometimes if it would just be smarter to go to a job with a six figure salary and show up, do my job and then go home and have extra money to spend if I would be making a smarter choice than I am now. I ask myself am I willing to sacrifice a dream for comfort or am I willing to trade uncertainty for chance.
As someone who is in the midst of this, I don’t know the answer. So I harken back to what Godfrey said about entrepreneurship: some days it’s tough to make mac and cheese, some days the money is so plentiful you’re full of steaks.
As of now I have concluded that regardless of the path I choose, I am going to suffer. I just have to decide, just as you will need to do as you’re going through your business path, what I am willing to suffer for.
About the Author
Named Top 100 Leaders by 2012 Magazine, Jasmine Grimm has been nominated for Central Penn Business Journal’s “Top 40 Under 40,” and The Lancaster Chamber’s ATHENA Award.
Jasmine founded Ruby, Inc. a personal styling business that teaches women how to dress for their body types and became a two-time nominee for Inc. Magazine’s Top 30 Under 30 Top Young Entrepreneurs in America. She won the 2013 SCORE Business Development Award, won the Central Penn Business Journal’s Top 25 Women of Influence Award in 2013 and the 2013 Leadership Award from the MS Society.
She has been a popular guest lecturer at the Maastricht Institute of Entrepreneurship and has been featured in Under 30 CEO and Productive Magazine, was the cover story for Harrisburg Magazine and her writing has graced National Geographic Television and Film, Harvard University and more.
She’s a 5,3,8,3 on the Kolbe A Index and her strengths include input, relator, learner, responsibility and achievement.
For more information visit her Google + Page.