Oddly, our business models are personal.
Every enterprise begins with a small seed, an idea that fills a need, either in our self or in the world. The idea, which is usually formed with a mix of passion and need, goes through a mental and emotional wash. The wash is often unintentional but it’s part of the process of vetting our ideas. Often, they’re washed down the proverbial drain but as entrepreneurs, we mostly enjoy the process and release that idea so we can move on to the next. Although, if the idea is tenacious and strong, it remains in the process and is refined. It’s spun around so we can view it from every angle. Once we’ve determined if the idea is solid, we move the idea from our head to our hands. It’s at this point that we hold it and tweak it and begin a conversation. Place the idea on the table in front of us and ask some questions...
Knowledge is plentiful, motivation is scarce; does this idea stir something in my heart and soul?
Do I enjoy talking about it?
Am I willing to endure the pain of rejection for it’s sake?
Is it big enough?
Am I positioned to make this happen?
How passionate am I about this idea and does it fill a social need?
Twenty-five years ago, when my husband and I started our business and our family at the same time, we didn’t have a clear business model but we did have passion, need, and a good idea of what makes us come alive! He loves engineering and construction; I enjoy creating beautiful spaces for people to gather. We made choices to keep our business small and our impact large. We chose to work hard and smart so that we could have the freedom to travel, spend lots of time with our kids and not live our lives stressed and scattered. This isn’t to say we haven’t had difficult seasons in our small business, we surely have, but trusting each other and ourselves as well as knowing our demographic has set a solid framework for our business. Our success has been built on reputation and relationships. Limiting the number of projects we take, having a strong network of clients that promote our company by word of mouth, being passionate about our work, always looking for new opportunities, being open to change, having realistic financial goals and solid planning has been key.
Like everyone with a dream, we had to answer the questions above… Does this stir our soul? Absolutely. Do we love talking about it? All the time! Can we take the rejection that’s sure to come? Yes. This idea was big enough for us and fit our family and although we had to reposition ourselves in Jupiter to pursue this work, we’re passionate about building custom homes and professional spaces that fill a social need. (Add a Church, Barn, a Home Depot and a few restaurants to that list!) To date, we’ve lived in 18 houses! He builds them, I design and decorate them, we live in them for a time and then repeat the process! Lot’s of moves, lots of fun and lots of business. One of the benefits of our business model has been that when the carpet gets dirty or the light bulbs burn out; we move!
Let this encourage you. When you’re starting out, the path is not always clear but over time, clarity comes and is more easily seen. But be bold; get to yourself quickly, if you know what you want to do, start doing it. Don’t delay, ask yourself what you truly love, what’s your wildest dream, what has dominated and delighted you at the same time? Draw a line between these things and it’ll show you what makes you come alive! Friend, it doesn’t have to be anything in the world’s eyes… Your idea can be big or small, it’s fundamentally and specifically yours. The great American writer Frederick Buechner famously puts it like this: “your deep gladness meets the world’s deep hunger”.