When I started My Color of Beauty, I knew I needed help and an outside resource besides myself. And I was lucky, because the people at Innovate Arkansas believed in me and wanted to see me succeed. But they had not dealt with an entrepreneur like me. I am a minority, wife and mother—all rolled into one. I knew I needed them in order to help my business succeed and to this day I will recommend anyone to them. Because of my connection with them, I was able to apply to an accelerator in Arkansas called The ARK Challenge. It was great. I received a little seed money to get my business started, which was a big boost, I had a place to work every day and I had many mentors. I consider myself a startup junkie. I love hearing stories about startups’ successes and failures. I breathe startup. Although, you wouldn’t know it by my actions.
There are times where I feel like I don’t fit in. This happens when there are startup functions that happen after hours or on the weekend. It happens when my friends are asking me to go to lunch or talk on the phone in the evening. This startup life is a hard monster to manage and it’s even harder when you have a husband and kids. I have no middle ground with the world except in my head. I often skip out on after-hours events because of my commitment to my family. I really don’t have time to “lunch” with my friends or have long meaningful phone conversations. The road of an entrepreneur is lonely and it can be even lonelier when there is no one like you around to understand your circumstances.
The road of an entrepreneur is lonely and it can be even lonelier when there is no one like you around to understand your circumstances.
I know I need to be more active in our entrepreneur ecosystem, but my current setup in life will only allow so much. I have a family to nurture. I know my friends don’t understand when I turn them down for lunch for the umpteenth time that it’s really not personal. I have a business to grow. I have learned to have a laser focus over the past two years. It consists of three things: Focus on my faith, focus on my family and focus on my business. Anything else that gets attention outside of my focus is a bonus to me and anyone else involved. In Arkansas, it’s a hard to explain to people who are not a part of the startup world why my business hasn’t completed ABC or started on XYZ, yet. It’s also hard to explain to the startup realm why I am not out to dinner, or flying across the country attending conferences or participating in Hackathons and Startup Weekend events.
I stay active on social media and operate my online business from the sidelines of my kids’ basketball games. I love my family. I love startups. I am working hard to nurture the two loves of my life. Unfortunately, everything else has to take a backseat. The innovation of the internet has allowed me to balance the two.