Handshake 2.0 asked Barry Welch, founder of Internet Databases and developer of FurnishWEB this question:
“If you could speak to your 10-year-younger self - the one who founded Internet Databases 10 years ago – and remember the doubts you had then, what statement of reassurance would you offer yourself? In other words, what do you know now that would have been fortifying to know then?”
Barry Welch replied:
"It's going to be okay."
Ten years ago, with a toddler at home and a pregnant wife, I had many doubts about taking the leap from a decent job with a steady paycheck, benefits and a vacation package to starting my own business. My supportive wife Allison had heard me talk about running my own company for several years. "Do it or you'll eventually regret it,” "No time is the right time,” and "Do it or be quiet about it!" were some of her comments.
She was right…but I had so much inertia to overcome. "How will we pay the mortgage?", "How will we find customers?", "What if they don't like my product?" were questions plaguing me.
I decided to interview three company owners I admired both in my industry and in other industries.
The feedback I received was far from encouraging.
The first owner, whom I perceive to be a very successful entrepreneur, opened the interview by saying if he had to do it all over he would not start a new company. Because of constant work obligations, he missed suppers with his family, his children's sporting events, vacations, and quiet time with his wife.
The second company owner told me he was sick and tired and fatigued and frustrated from trying to make it work, and just that week had decided to close his business. "Don't do it! " he said, "Keep your security and your sanity." Instead of gaining support, I got promises of dark days ahead if I pursued my dream.
I entered the last interview expecting more of the same, but what happened caught me off guard. This business owner was happy. He enjoyed a typical work week of 40-50 hours and expected the same of his employees. He loved running his own business and the professional learning process that came along with it. And, to my surprise, he wanted to be my first client if I took the leap. The catch, however, was he needed me to start on the project within two weeks! Obviously, I took the chance and have been running my own company since.
Over the past ten years, I've come to realize that if I am sincere, honest, open-minded and persistent, people and circumstances arise to help me through situations. Time and time again what I've needed, whether I realized it or not, arrived in my path. Knowing this would have made stepping out as an entrepreneur much less gut-wrenching. I don't want to give the impression that I don’t have hard times, emotionally draining times, and difficult decisions to make. But I find comfort knowing that if I follow my principles, things have a way of working themselves out.
"It's going to be okay."
And pursuing a difficult dream is much better than wishing I had.
FurnishWEB, a client of Handshake 2.0, is an online data management system for the home furnishings industry that expedites and systematizes order processing and product inventory tracking to optimize partnerships between manufacturers, dealers, sales representatives, staff, and customers.
FurnishWEB is an enterprise of Internet Databases, a custom web development company founded in 1999, located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, Blacksburg, Virginia.