I love being an entrepreneur.

My first real business was called Montage. I was 19 years old. My bestie and I took original photographs and created jewelry out of them. The lightweight, waterproof, geometric pendants and earrings were like miniature works of art.

Our big plan was to pack up a car, head South, and sell to upscale boutiques along the way.  

Entrepreneur tip 1

The trip was an eye-opening and a humbling experience.

In our naiveness, we thought every woman would be drooling over our cutting-edge designs…and of course, buy. My partner was the artist and hated sales. Honestly, I was too young and inexperienced to know the difference, so it was my job to “convince” the store owner that they needed our line. 🙂

I made in-person cold calls store after store, day after day. The response was great, yet we never even wrote one order. This went on for several weeks.

As our confidence started dwindling, so did our SMALL nest egg.

We traveled from Rochester, NY to Miami, Florida finding ourselves at the bottom of the East Coast and needing to find some source of steady income.

Then, we bumped up against a hurdle that we couldn’t have anticipated. A catch 22 that lasted almost a month.

We couldn’t get a job without an address.
We couldn’t get an address without a job.

During this time of “pounding the pavement” for conventional work, we ended up living in our rental car…a Geo Metro to be exact. One being paid for on a borrowed credit card no less!

We applied for at least 3 jobs per day. And despite our experience, savvy, and know how came up empty week after week.

Finally, we reluctantly applied to McDonald’s in Naples, Florida as a last-ditch effort. And lo and behold the manager hired us both on the spot and gave us the same shift as store openers.

The makings of an entrepreneur.

Part of my morning routine was to tackle cleaning the milkshake machine!

An Entrepreneur's Tale.

From there, we found a little apartment about a mile from the restaurant, returned the rental car, unpacked the few belongings that we had smashed in the Geo, and had a new place to call home.

We walked to work at 4:30 am each day and cheerfully held that job for 9 months. A job that, at the time, paid $4.75 per hour! I remember having to pay an extra $5 per week to get our paychecks weekly vs. their standard bi-monthly.

It was an enriching learning experience in many, many ways. One that would shape us for the next step on the path.

Entrepreneur tip 2

Even though we were living very minimally and working hard it felt as though we unlocked a secret in life. By 2 pm every day we were able to lounge in the beautiful 80 degree weather, ride our bikes to the beach, and meditate. In its simplicity, it was a super special stint in my life.

Due to a family emergency, our time at this stop on the journey had come to an end.

We headed back up North to sit by the hospital bedside of my partner’s ailing Mother who had a stroke after being hit by a car. She recovered in that same bed for 5 months at the Strong Memorial Hospital.

Our entrepreneurial mindset and dreams were still very much alive…and our second business was born.

Stay tuned next week to hear all about it!

Until then…breathe joy,