Becoming a Small Business Entrepreneur
My first dive into entrepreneurship
My wife and I had been both working for the same company for a few years. We had both moved up the ladder to middle management. We were making good money but if any of you have worked the corporate world, you know that reduction in force (layoffs) are always a fear. My wife got the bug first. She wanted out. She wanted to work for herself. We were fortunate to get annual bonuses with our corporate jobs. This gave us capital to start a business when we were ready to dive it. We started tossing around options. We had a handful of ideas but just didn’t know which option to go with. Let’s by an ice cream truck.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for Ice Cream?
Bet you didn’t see that coming. Yes, we bought an ice cream truck. We happened upon an ad on Craigslist for an old step van someone was using for an ice cream truck. Already armed with freezers, inverter and music, it was pretty much turnkey. We put our money in and made the purchase. We knew this wasn’t going to be an immediate return on our investment (being winter and all) but we also knew we needed a little time to ‘make it our own’. We still had some money left and had an idea of how we wanted to use it. We knew brand was important. We wanted to create our own brand. We found someone to paint the truck the way we wanted relatively cheap. We paid for decals to cover the truck and we were. We made our first trip to our ice cream distributor in the spring and hit the road. Since that first year, we have expanded to 2 large trucks, 1 old mail jeep and 2 concession trailers. We have grown quite a bit and have been successful but have had roadblocks along the way. On average, one truck will do between $50 – $75 per hour in sales. We live in an area that is a little more spread out so I am not sure if that average would be low in a more highly populated area where you have more customers available in a square mile. I am not going to lie. It is work but there is satisfaction knowing you built your business and you drive the decisions that will make or break you. If you are interested in this type of business, I have written a book with all the ins and outs of this business. It includes all you need to do from buying your truck, setting it up and hitting the road. It also includes a wealth of information that will make your ice cream truck business a success. You can purchase it HERE.
Is this something you can do?
I actually believe you can do what you set your mind to. I had been taught that from an early age. If you want to become self-employed, you have to take control. More importantly, you have to start now. No time will ever be the ‘perfect’ or ‘right’ time. There will always be doubt. You will experience the fear of failure. Learn to embrace it. Be prepared to fall on your face. Be even more prepared to jump back up, brush yourself off and get back at it. The issue really is not failure, it is learning from your failures. Self-correct and do what you can to avoid making the same mistakes again. That is how we grow. Let me know how it goes. I would be interested in hearing some of your stories.
My words of wisdom
- Start now
- Look outside the box
- Do something that interests you and you will enjoy
- Owning your own business is hard work
- Being your own boss means having higher standards for yourself
- Embrace your mistakes by seeing them as learning opportunities
- Don’t turn fear of failure into failure to start