Business Ownership: The Zen of Terror

Exactly 14 years ago this month I started my own business. Like most things in my small universe, it wasn’t a very graceful transition.

This was before the term “entrepreneur” made it onto the collective radar. Most people just thought I was nuts. “What about health insurance? How are you going to get clients? What happens if all the work dries up?” I could see I needed to add “hire new cheerleading squad” to my list of things to do—right behind “buy computer” and “research bean recipes.”

Those first few years were equal parts exhilaration and terror. The great unknown had taken a fast train to the pit of my stomach and remained parked in that gastric rail station until about 2003.

They say the five year mark is an important waypoint along the road to recovery from disease, addiction, and heartbreak. It’s no wonder then, that my dedication to the business had become a sick obsession that occasionally brought me to tears. Eventually though, I found my stride, and around year five things began to change. Before I knew it, I had morphed into a creature who could sit in silence for 16 hours a day—although unlike a monk, my silence wasn’t so much a spiritual quest as it was a singleminded obsession with not becoming a hobo.*

My Desk, circa right now

I’ve finally gotten to the place where slow times don’t freak me out so much. I know I must savor them because work never comes at convenient intervals, but rather as a sudden onslaught of deadlines wrapped in paper coffee cups and take-out menus.

The very day I announced the date of the next #BlogathonATX, I received requests to bid on three new design projects. Rather than panic, I simply stocked up on antacids, put the therapist on retainer, and dusted off the keyboard. I am open for business.

Now let’s see… Are we in the mood for Indian or Thai…?

*In certain contexts, the terms “silence” and “incessant drone of Law & Order reruns” are interchangeable.


4 thoughts on “Business Ownership: The Zen of Terror

  1. What a great post. As a guy who ventured out on his own after working for corp america for 7 years. I appreciate the perspective. You were cool back then and did not even know it yet :)


    • Thanks, Terry! I sure didn’t feel cool at the time. There was a lot of fear and self-doubt. Sometimes there still is, but I know I made the right decision. Sounds like you did too. :)

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