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Friday, April 14, 2006

Giving up the Suit

I had a meeting today with a husband and wife who are evaluating Maui Wowi, among other franchises. I always enjoy meeting people who are looking at new business opportunities. It's fascinating to see what motivates people to do something as challenging as starting a business.
They both wanted to know why I decided to go into a franchise, and why Maui Wowi. The answer to the first part is that I felt I had no choice but to be self-employed for at least a while. After 17 years at one company, I bounced around for several years from job to job to job. The truth was I needed a break and I was ready to make sacrifices to have my independence. As to why Maui Wowi? It has a spirit and attitude that I gravitated toward. I knew I could be creative in this business, and have fun. It just hit me in the gut. Ultimately that's what has to happen when you start a business...it's more than choosing the best business model of three or three dozen you evaluate. One business idea ultimately has to stand above the rest for emotional reasons, and then you have to go "all in" and make it work. You also have to realize it will take time and that the journey has to be as important to you as the destination. Why enjoy the journey? Someone I used to work with dropped dead while training for a marathon--he was about 50. The husband of a friend died suddenly of a blood clot at the age of 42. You have to want to be on the ride. A franchised business doesn't have to be forever. The cost to start it is not overwhelming. For me, this has been part of a process to regroup and change my frame of thinking--about work, about family, about my life. I have been able to do that totally. I will likely return to a more traditional form of work in a year or two, but for now I get to exercise my entrepreneurial muscles, have fun and gain a reserve of inner strength.

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