7 Things I've Learned While Owning a Business for 2 Years

    This year we grew a bit older and wiser as our small business turned 2 and I do feel like people are starting to take notice of our Wedding Rental Business in Wilmington, NC. Although we may still be the new kids on the block to some, the items we have added to our collection like farm tables and chiavari chairs show that we have staying power and are here for the long haul (haha notice, what I did there?) 

We have also accomplished more than we thought we would this year like 55 weddings and being featured at one of our favorite wedding events of the year (Courtyards & Cobblestones). But this blog post is not about those things. I made a promise to myself that at least once a year I will (force) myself to write a post where I let my guard down and truly speak up about our business and how it has shaped me over the year ( here is the first year's post). And now here I go again, opening up...

1) The show must go on. We are helping with big events people...Weddings are kinda a big deal! And it doesn't matter if a hurricane is about to hit our area or you have the flu, 2 people are getting married and so the show must go on. Because of this motto we have learned to make back up plans and sacrifices because that's what good bosses do. There's no calling in sick or asking for coverage because we are the owners, employees and HR department.

2) Not everyone gets it. I remember when I first started explaining the business idea to some people they seemed surprised and some even seemed worried that we were making a bad decision and may even fail. "So you're not quitting your day job, right?" and "How are you going to travel for your real job and run a business on the side?" were some of the responses. The truth is I'm sensitive and I did feel a bit discouraged by them but I've learned that sometimes people's responses to things has nothing to do with us and it's more about them. Also, "There's no crying in baseball, so toughen up" (ok that's the one I tell myself).

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3) It can be lonely. Most of the time it is just Brian and I doing our thing. I 100% believe we are the best team but early mornings and late nights on weekends leave little time for socialization. You know the kind of socialization younger childless people do? Did I also mention that we both work full time? During our busiest seasons we work what feels like 80+ plus hours a week. And because of this we may not be very good to our friends and family. We may have missed a few happy hours and sent late birthday wishes and gifts. Our invites to social gatherings have even slimmed down a bit because our friends probably assumed we were too busy working to attend. And that's ok, we totally get it! We promise though that we will try and show up when it counts the most or try and make it up to them in other ways if we can.

4) Being your own boss is cool. All those late nights and early mornings are for your own benefit. There's something really invigorating to know that every penny we make is for us (after taxes of course). We don't have to give some of it away to the boss man or some organization. We keep it and decide what to do with it. And that makes us want to work harder for our clients because we are the ones  that are in control and benefit from the good work we do! Not to mention all the ways we hope it will help us build the life we dream about one day for our future family!

5) I am stronger than I thought. They say that 20% of businesses don't make it their first 2 years, but we are still here! We have set ourselves up in a way to build strong roots and grow slowly but powerfully. Working full time in addition to running the business is strategic and mindful on our part so that we don't have to discourage ourselves with the additional financial stress. We agreed that this would be the busy working stage in our lives so that we could build something that is here to stay. So instead of expecting the business and my dream to support us these first few years we are supporting it before we ask for it to return the favor. 

6) You will be surprised by who shows up. We have been blown away by some of the support we have received from people. A good friend took a day off from her job just so that she could help us set up for a big event that we were really excited about. She's also done things like this when we were in a pinch and just because she was free and wanted to help. A talented photographer friend took pictures of all of our inventory just so that we could have a nicer inventory page. She did this TWICE and turned down our money and only asked that we pay for her babysitter and cook her a good meal in return. I was also lucky enough to be invited to join a Facebook group full of other wedding rental owners. These ladies not only send me motivational messages (that are often needed), but they also share their business plans, blue prints for furniture and advice on what they have learned while in the SAME business. Those selfless cheerleaders that keep showing up even when you don't ask them to (because they know you don't like to ask for help) are your tribe. They are hard to find. When you do find them, keep them close and do whatever you can to show up for them in return!  

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7) The business will not destroy your marriage. When we started this business we were newlyweds 6 months married. We had just come back from our honeymoon and I was ready to start this but I was also scared. How do you tell your new husband that you need him to help you do this and that he may have to give up his weekends and free time to support your dream? (Full disclosure, it was tough at first!) We didn't see eye to eye on certain things and we were letting fear make our decisions. But then we decided to focus on what we did have and that was love and faith. We realized that we had been through lots of tough times together as a couple and no matter what we could do this if we did it together... and just like that things started happening for us! Thank god for this husband of mine that knows when I am tired and takes over so I can rest, knows when I am doubting myself and tells me to stop overthinking things and move on. We see eye to eye on most things and sometimes things feel too easy and I know it's because he is with me.

Although the life of a small business owner is many different things, above all it is empowering and fulfilling. I feel as though I am using all the skills, gifts and creativity that God gave me and at the end of the day I sleep better because of it and wouldn't change my crazy rental life for the world!

Brian & Martha Sanabanda 1-14-17 (photo taken at our celebratory dinner after finishing up Courtyards & Cobblestones).

Brian & Martha Sanabanda 1-14-17 (photo taken at our celebratory dinner after finishing up Courtyards & Cobblestones).