One Journey, Three Lessons
Over the years, people have asked what drove me to give up my corporate career to start my own business. The truth is, I did not grow up with aspirations of owning my own business. But on my journey through corporate life, I found my inspiration – and it all started with a small business owner in New England.
My Story | Joan Nowak
Fresh out of training with Mobil Oil, I was assigned to a territory in New England to help local franchisees increase their sales and profits. It’s there that I met David, the owner of a gasoline and automotive repair business. His passion for people and knowledge of cars were obvious. But like many small businesses, his was not performing near potential. David was struggling.
Working together, we started to make changes – little ones at first, then bigger as we went along. In less than six months, his sales had doubled and his net profit was now over six figures. The business was on its way. More important, David was now in control. It was then that I came to realize …
Lesson #1 – Little Improvements Produce Big Results
David had learned a lot and as he grew, so did his business. One day he called me excited because another business owner called HIM to ask his advice. While I could not see David’s face, I felt the pride in his voice. David went on to win recognition trips and was elected to serve on Mobil’s dealer advisory board. I was proud of David’s accomplishments and he left an indelible mark. Through David and other small business owners, I came to understand …
Lesson #2 – Positive Changes in a Small Business Can Be Life-Altering for the Business Owner
This experience planted the ‘entrepreneurial’ seed and fueled my passion for learning. Ten years (and 5 relocations) later, I felt I was on the right path! When the chance to join an energy startup came my way, I jumped at it. Building a business from scratch was a great learning experience! My goal was getting closer!
Then something unexpected happened – the birth of my daughter Alexandra! She was now depending on me. Instinctively I knew that my own business could give me more control and flexibility. But what about financial security? Giving up my salary, benefits, and other perks was suddenly a whole lot scarier. What if I failed? The words of my father came floating back, “It’s better to try and fail than never to try at all.” But this wasn’t just about me. My decision would affect my daughter too!
Like many of you, I weighed the pros and cons, did my research, and played with the numbers. I tapped into my mentors and shared my goals and plans. Despite the encouragement of others, I kept wondering, should I put my dream on hold for a few more years? But if not now, then when? It’s then I came to realize …
Lesson #3 – The Best Time to Pursue Your Dreams is NOW
So in 2004, I put corporate America behind me and started my business coaching practice. Sure it was challenging and there were bumps in the road. No surprise it took longer than I expected to get clients and build a consistent revenue stream. But with focus, persistence, and encouragement from my coach, I made huge strides. Everything came together!
Today I work with hundreds of small business owners in a variety of industries, but I will always be grateful to David and others for the lessons I learned and the inspiration to follow my dreams.
Your Journey Starts with a Conversation
Would working with me help you take your business in a new, better direction? Then let’s start a conversation. It’s a chance to get to know each other, discuss your goals and answer any questions. Together we can determine if there is a good fit between your needs and my services. Schedule your call with me today — Book Phone Appointment.