How to Think Differently When Your Business is in Transition
While the book is most beneficial for early-stage startups, or for people contemplating starting a business, it offers something for everyone. I found my moment, on page sixty-two, in a section called “Think Differently.” My business of fourteen years, RoundPeg, is once again undergoing a major transition. Even after experiencing five such pivots, I find myself frustrated and impatient; my usual lament is “it’s taking too long!”
Imagine my relief when I read a quote in this section by environmental and workplace entrepreneur Drew Lehman: “Every transition which I sought in life has taken me eighteen months with clear focus to get going!” Sharon’s honesty about the challenges she has faced and the transitions her business has undergone reassured me. Eighteen months is realistic. For now, the impatience I feel, common among entrepreneurs, is in check.
Family and Business is not a Zero-Sum Game
As I read this book, I realized I share a similar approach and philosophy with the author. We are both mothers who started a business to escape the nine-to-six corporate grind and be more available to our kids. I launched my company when I found myself pregnant with my third child. I knew I could not juggle my work – which at the time was as art director for a busy ad agency – and home responsibilities and have the quality of life I wanted.
I like it that Sharon unapologetically prioritized family and vacations when she intentionally grew a “tiny” business from an idea into a profitable multimillion-dollar operation, at her own pace. (Although I find myself hard-pressed to call Eco-Bags Products a “tiny” business, even if tiny isn’t meant to refer to size!) Again, I was reassured by this author’s confidence. Family needs and business needs don’t have to be in competition. (Click to Tweet!) It’s okay, she says, to go ahead and declare that family and kids come first and business second. No more agonizing decisions about chaperoning a school field trip during a work week. Exhale.
The Magic of Tiny Business is especially relevant now, with the gig economy in full swing and women-owned business growth at 114% over the past 20 years (compared to 44% average). Although I cringe at the label “lifestyle business” often attributed to women’s businesses, I find solidarity with this author in the business approach of putting kids first, providing a good living for a family, and earning enough to take great vacations – all the while making a difference in clients’ lives and training and mentoring talented employees.
It’s Okay to Be Where You Are
The book confirms for me that it’s okay not to care about my exit plan years from now, even if my accountant and every business guru wince at the thought. Rather, Rowe’s book supports me as a small business owner to be present in the moment and be content with a long view not beyond an eighteen-month horizon. Again, exhale. Special thanks to Sharon for de-stigmatizing “lifestyle business” for me and helping me to embrace the label of a Tiny business. I am proud of building one. Send me a sticker to put on my door.
Enhanced by funny caricatures in New Yorker magazine-style by Sharon’s son, Julian Rowe, this book is an easy read –I zipped through it in two nights.
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