CEO Blog Nation posted an article our owner wrote about her days before running a business. She opens up about the 'not so sexy' side of starting a company and how they've been moments that stretch her far enough to grow.
"I knocked doors for a living. That’s right, I did door-to-door sales for four years straight in the armpits of America. I sold alarm systems to homeowners in the kinds of neighborhoods you accidentally drive through, clenching your steering wheel and making sure your doors are locked as you frantically search for the fastest way out. I was dropped off every morning in an unknown ‘hood’, and wasn’t picked up until 9 or 10pm (sometimes even later). I had a cup of soda thrown at the back of my head as I walked away after receiving hard refusals. I was grabbed by the neck of my polo and threatened that if I didn’t get out of the neighborhood, I’d have a gun put in my mouth and be raped. There were days when I considered having a door slammed in my face mid-sentence graciously passive compared to other rejections I’d already had. I was nauseous with anxiety from the moment I woke up just from knowing the reality that awaited me.
Despite everything, knocking doors was the best thing I could’ve ever done for myself and my career. It thickened my skin, instilled in me an unbreakable work ethic, and showed me that if I didn’t swim, I was simply going to sink. The entrepreneurial world sounds much more glamorous than my life in door-to-door sales was, but the challenges I now face are arguably worse. As a business owner, you’re called selfish by your closest friends. You’re abandoned by partners you once relied upon. Employees you care so much for, sacrifice your time for, and put your heart into paving a future for, can come to stab you in the back – stealing from you. You’re criticized in your most creative moments. During times of uncertainty, you’ll even hear your own boyfriend and family tell you it might finally be time to, go get a real job. In those moments, I’m so grateful for the Philly curbs I sat on when my feet were blistering, the trees I found refuge under in the suffocating Arizona sun, and the Kansas City neighbors who weren’t home (so I could pee in their bushes when no convenience store was in sight). In those moments, I learned how to reach inside myself and figure out who I really was, what I wanted, and what I was willing to go through to get it. Growing my own business has taught me more about myself than an entire lifetime of working for others could have. I’m unceasingly grateful for the lessons I learned in those hard neighborhoods because they made me. I wouldn’t give those experiences up for anything."