Starting a business is much like starting anything else. You must decide what you are going to do, how you are going to do it, and define the purpose or reason for doing it. It all boils down to creating a plan for implementing a decision you have made. That’s it. Make a decision. Create a plan. Execute your plan.
That brings me to my decision of starting this “CEO Chatter”. Once a month, I’m going to write Cloud Friday’s blog post about whatever topic suits my fancy in order to explain or journal my experience as a CEO. Or president, owner, entrepreneur, etc. I started a company and I run a company, so I would like to share my experience to our readers. Sometimes it’s just helpful to read someone else’s point of view.
And this month will be outlining my decision to start Cloud Friday. We have already had a “Small Business Spotlight” blog about us which you can read here. However, these Chatter posts will be from my point of view and from my personality, and I felt it appropriate to tell that story from a more personal perspective; for you to truly understand who I am.
With every closing door, there is an open window. That’s exactly what happened in my life to prompt me to start a business. It wasn’t exactly the vision of Cloud Friday that got started, but it was the point in my life when I made this decision: I would not work for anyone else, ever again. And unfortunately, I think many entrepreneurs get started for that reason. Like so many others, I was burned so badly, seemingly beyond repair, by an employer for whom I had committed so much of my time and energy. And BAM! Out of nowhere, came a slap in the face that was so hard, I felt I just got flung back two decades. It took the wind out of me. I checked out of work early to clear my head after sending an email to my boss explaining just that. On my way home in a complete daze and without thinking, I pulled into a hotel. The whole situation had me so shaken (from anger or from shock, I’m not sure), I needed space alone.
With every closing door, there is an open window.
The front desk staff woman was so confused when I answered her question, “How long will you be staying?” with the answer of, “I don’t know, a few hours.” It’s comical now seeing how she might have questioned my reason for being there. So I paid for a whole day since they didn’t rent by the hour. Ha! She even offered to drive to the liquor store to get me something after she realized I had seen better days. Quite a nice offer, I thought.
Once settled into the room and taking a really hot, relaxing bath, I called my best friend. Talking through the entire situation and the paths that laid in front of me, some clarity came my way. In order to further draw on that clarity, I brought out the hotel notepad and pen and got to brainstorming. I wrote one skill set/desire/passion on its own sheet and spread them all out on the king sized bed. And I sat there, staring at each sheet as though it was a treasure map to the bucket of gold. The most important piece here was this – I listened to my gut. I silenced all the noise around me (other people’s opinions, goals, dreams) and I listened to me. Each time a thought or feeling popped up while looking at a single sheet, I’d pick it up and write that thought or feeling. Then I put it back down. Rinse. Repeat.
After a good while, like 2 hours, I realized my feelings and thoughts were completely on those sheets of paper. So I started writing down resources that I would need to gain or learn or contact for each one of those sheets. I used my iPhone, since I did not have a laptop on me, and I started reaching out to those contacts. Filling out web forms for information, calling and leaving voicemails, and emailing myself other information as I found it. And the most interesting thing happened. As I got more and more real information about each of those topics, the more I started honing in on what I was truly passionate about.
In addition to an accounting and business background, I also have a massage therapy degree and was a previous owner of a massage practice. So naturally, that skill set came up. But it was quickly ruled out as I reached out to different spas and cruise ships. It just didn’t feel right, if you understand what I mean. It felt like it was a forced interest. So I dropped that. What remained? Well, Cloud Friday is ultimately the culmination of it. I love business! I love small businesses and their owners. I very much enjoy accounting and I like the ever-changing landscape of business.
I listened to my gut. I silenced all the noise around me and I listened to me.
So, another decision was born – I would support small businesses via accounting. This was when I was running “Tapley Accounting”. Cheesy name, since I never wanted my name on the business, but I felt lacking in creativity and it was the best I could come up with. Now, I realize it was because accounting wasn’t the full picture and it sort of felt hollow. I knew accounting wasn’t all I wanted to do, but the rest hadn’t come into play yet.
Over the period of time working and growing Tapley Accounting, a few opportunities to help clients with some administrative and website work popped up. And I LOVED it. Going from a phone call about accounting to making changes to a website. It was great! So, over a vacation with dear friends, I awoke in my sleep one night with the dream of a full small business support company. And, Cloud Friday as a name came to me then as well. Ironically, and symbolically, I woke up in that hotel room and wrote the name on the pad of paper on the night stand.
Within the next three months, and after a LOT of planning, Cloud Friday launched in early 2016. And it’s been everything I had hoped and planned for. But that’s the point – You must make a decision and execute your plan. You can make changes along the way but everything starts with a decision. As Nike has always said, so pointedly, just do it.
Connect with me on LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com/in/sonyatapley