Four years ago I left a desk, fluorescent lighting and a steady paycheck to help my husband Kent start a digital marketing agency. We had a handful of clients lined up- almost all of which felt uncomfortably high-risk- a lot of ambition, and a drive to never, ever go back to normal.
We are coming up on the anniversary of Ashby & Gabriel’s founding, which always makes me feel a bit nostalgic and also exhausted. This past year is the first time since we started I’ve felt like there is a steady rhythm to our work. It has been uphill, yes, but we have our footing now. I know what to expect with the ebb and flow of the seasons, we have good rapport with our team, and most days I feel confident in my skillset and the work we’re doing. Our caliber of clients have increased exponentially from where we began.
When we first started, we joked we’d traded our 9 to 5s for 24/7s. We traded PTO for long, anxious nights. We traded comfortable administrative systems for endless calls with the IRS. Almost immediately, we became managers ourselves, reflecting on our experience and previous bosses, mining every anecdote for wisdom.
This blog is a love letter to the transition to entrepreneurship, and all of its terrifying, exhilarating, confusing twists and turns.
I wish I could go back and tell myself how hard it is going to be. How I’ll work harder and make less than I ever have. For a while. And that slowly, so slowly it’s barely perceptible, I will grow into the role, and negotiate my worth, and define my professional boundaries. I wish I could tell myself almost everyone else feels like just as much of an imposter as I often do. I’d tell myself to keep the books more organized and start a filing system sooner. I’d give myself a little grace when it doesn’t work, and a little celebration everytime it does. I’d tell myself that near our four year anniversary, we’d take our team on a retreat to New Hampshire, and we’d sit around a campfire, and I’d know we’ve created the work culture I always hoped to be part of. I’d tell myself how much the simple things- showing up, being on time, telling the truth, tracking details- still matter, and maybe they even matter more than the big things.
I’d tell myself to enjoy it. Because it flies by. It saturates every detail of life. Entrepreneurship becomes an identity, a calling, and I’m grateful for every second of it.