The 3 Year Win ~ On losing my business & starting over on my own.
I distinctly remember hitting the 3-year threshold with my first company, which I co-founded with a business partner in 2011.
It was a humid night in Cambodia. I was chatting with one of my managers, ready to kick off our next Leadership Volunteer Program. The streets of Siem Reap offered a chaotic background of honking tuk-tuks and zipping motos. We were preparing for a busy few weeks ahead of us, but we paused from our planning to clang our cold Angkor Beers together and relish the moment.
Three years into a start-up signified we had crossed a bridge of success that only 10% of new businesses are able to achieve. We were DOING it. Our leadership volunteer programs, tailored for university students and operating in 8 different countries, was standing on its own two feet (wobbly, yes, but standing nonetheless.) I was making a living from doing what I love — teaching leadership through travel, and had built a growing business around it.
The hours were chaotic and exhausting, but the impact left my heart full. My whole being was stoked from having created leadership experiences that left our participants changed for the better, our in-country communities positively improved, and our staff contributing their efforts in meaningful ways.
We had figured out the formula for a while, even if that business ran its course, and eventually ended.
But it wasn’t the end of me.
The decision to start a new company on my own might have been the scariest, bravest, most exciting and truest thing I’ve ever done for myself.
I chose to build again, but this time, rather than seek a partner, I chose to go solo.
Venture Within encompasses all I love and love doing: education, leadership, and meaningful travel. Sure, I could have found a good job doing these things for someone else, clocking in my hours and receiving benefits.
However, what stopped me from finding quicker “success” (security?) by working for someone else was one simple thing: I knew I could start and run a business on my own.
I had gained hands-on knowledge from visioning, building, and operating my previous business. I had…