Two Years as a Small Business Owner - Assumptions Wrong, Decision Right
Two years ago, when I made the leap to start “working for myself” I made a LOT of assumptions. Two years in, I can confidently say every single assumption I made was wrong – and yet my decision to start Echo Consulting was right.
Assumption # 1: I thought I was going to “work for myself”
Reality #1: As a small business owner I work for my clients and community much more intimately than I ever did as an employee. I am more connected, empathetic, and aware of the amazing ecosystem that supports me, and my need to give back and empower others to grow. I could never “work for myself” since I find joy and satisfaction in helping others.
Assumption # 2: I thought that all the other business owners and CEOs had special elusive knowledge, powers, and abilities. That because they were “bigger” than me, or had been in business “longer”,
made more money, etc – That they were
somehow more than me.
Reality # 2: There are no special superpowers and an exclusive knowledge base. No one has it all figured out. We are all doing our best to figure it out as we go. I read a great book call “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. The author Angela Duckworth quotes Nietzsche - “Our vanity, our self-love, promotes the cult of the genius,” Nietzsche said. “For if we think of genius as something magical, we are not obliged to compare ourselves and find ourselves lacking. . . . To call someone ‘divine’ means: there is no need to compete.”
Assumption # 3: I thought the hardest part would be finding new work.
Reality # 3: My community and network was much stronger than I could have possibly imagined. The hardest part was not getting a new client to say “yes”. The hardest part was having to say “No” to teams that I truly wanted to help, but I just didn’t have time. Or I wasn’t the right fit for them, even though they thought I was the right person for the job. “It’s not you, it’s me” – doesn’t work personally OR professionally.
Assumption # 4: I thought I wanted to be a “Company of One”.
Reality # 4: While I constantly get to collaborate with teams of amazing people with each of my clients, I missed the “safe space” associated with a team of my own. I’m a very direct per
son, regardless of whether I am with a client or a co-worker but having a team that is committed to Echo’s success, that I can ideate with, dream with, build with – has been amazing. Melissa joined the Echo team full time in 2020, and Kelly joined our team in 2021! I’m already looking forward to more team members joining the Echo family!
Assumption # 5: I thought I was going to offer “project management services”
Reality # 5: Most of my clients don’t even mention project management when they describe how I help them. They are much more likely to talk about solving problems, improving processes, building solutions, training teams. While I still self-identify as a project manager – my clients are helping me redefine our value proposition every day.
While my assumptions were completely off base, and my perspective has evolved with experience– our mission and values have not changed – and remain our foundation for the growth of Echo and our community.
At Echo Consulting, we believe that learning is a lifestyle that energizes and inspires. We believe that translating what we learn into something of value, worthy of sharing, provides purpose. Growth, both personal and professional is our guiding star and how we measure results. Caring about our families, friends, clients, community, and world gives our lives meaning.
We are committed to sharing the power of project management, because: all teams deserve access to high-quality experienced project management to help break down barriers to growth.
Thank you for being a part of this amazing journey as we continue to learn, share, grow and care! Let’s Grow Together!