By Amy Nielsen
When you own your own business, you are the only one in charge of the whole shebang. Even if you have employees. The businesses’ success is all about your efforts and your commitment to the cause. If you waver or dissemble, the business will fail. Period.
If you waver before getting out of the gate, before you get your first client, you have already failed and your business will go no further than your dreams.
This is what I am dealing with right now.
Here’s my big dilemma this week. My husband’s employer is taking all employees into the big city to see a Broadway show as an employee appreciation event. This week, I found out about a local conference that I need to attend. The presenters are movers and shakers in the greater community and people I should get to know.
Both events are on the same day.
I have wanted to see this Broadway show since it debuted 20 or so years ago. We purchased tickets through the employee group, have seats on the bus and dinner plans with friends after the show. My former industry is theater, specifically big budget events and shows. Going to see this show would be like a giant hug for me from my past life. Not to mention the joy of seeing our 8- and 6- year old experience it.
The conference I should attend is being sponsored by a new and upcoming, not-for-profit, in our community. Their mission is to move our county from the bottom of the state list for health and wellness to the top. It is a grassroots, nitty gritty, local effort that has had good success this last year. To help them gain traction and keep improving the community is exactly where I want to position my business.
It doesn’t sound like much of a toss-up. I mean, fun with family or business, on a weekend, right? But when you are the business, it is huge. Coupled with having young children, the choice becomes even more difficult.
My Mama brain says go have fun with family, memories are made in these times. The adventure alone is worth the tickets. My small business owner brain says if I don’t go to this conference, I will miss a huge opportunity to network and become part of the community I want to work within.
I know that I can always contact the presenters at a later date to meet up with them. I know I could send emails of introduction. I know that I can get a transcript of the presentations after the fact and still know what is coming in the future.
But, there is no substitute for being there in person and shaking a hand.
The opportunity to spend the day solo, and focus on my business with like-minded individuals, is a treat for a stay-at-home Mama like me. If I spend the day focusing on my future, that will benefit my family in the long run. But, missing the family fun is frustrating and annoying, but not insurmountable. I do spend every day, all day, with my kids while we homeschool.
I feel like I sound like a whiny teen who wants to go to the pool party instead of finishing the science fair project due in the morning.
This is where my friends say, “Amy, put on your big girl panties and deal.” The show will still be there later this year. If I make this new career work, I can get tickets again and go see it at a later date. It’s been playing for 22 years, it’s not going anywhere soon.
This conference is only one day. The presenters are local to the region. In this day and age, when things move at the speed of light, if you are not in the right place at the right time, you miss out. I am in a somewhat precarious position in my business. If it doesn’t get moving soon, it won’t get moving at all, I fear.
So I will suck it up, be the adult, and go to the conference. I know I will have a great time, learn a lot, meet interesting exciting people who all do what I do, but I will miss out on family fun. Sacrifices are what building a business is all about. Rarely does a small business thrive immediately upon concept.
It takes work, dedication and sacrifice.