So remember when I started this blog series months ago? And then I said I had another post I was going to run that week? Bet that was the longest week of your life! Also, I have been nominated for the worst blogger award, I am already planning my acceptance speech: “I’d like to thank my kids for making this possible!” One of the advantages of procrastinating is that I now have lovely pictures to include, courtesy of Rachel E. H. Photography.
Describe what it is that you are doing.
Nathan: We own and operate our own business that provides IT consulting, Managed Services, Web Design; pretty much anything related to computers.
When did you first become interested in starting your own business?
Nathan: I have always dreamed of owning my own business since I was a little kid. It was either owning a farm, a doughnut shop or both.
Katherine: It became a shared dream when you wrote your thesis on the myth of the male breadwinner model and saw that historically families worked together on farms or workshops.
N- That’s true I thought there had to be a better way to live than husbands and wives cut off from each other, working in separate spheres for their adult lives.
K- We had brainstormed a lot of different ideas over the years of our marriage, from starting a Bed and Breakfast to organizing conferences for families. Then we finally realized it would be best to stick to what we know, which in Nathan’s case is IT.
How do you manage the logistics of working from home with three kids?
N- You don’t. At least not very well. The noise/ screaming in the background is incredibly distracting when you are on a conference call. Thankfully we have an office off of Main St. where I work some of the time now.
K- Working with three kids is tough. For my part I have to be flexible with which hours I work. Every work week looks a little different. In general, though, I get babysitting on Wednesdays, and I swap child care with a friend who is also a working mother. I watch her son one day a week while she works, and then she watches mine while I work for one day. House cleaning has definitely suffered since I have been working and I don’t have as much time for side pursuits like blogging.
What were any fears or concerns that held you back from pursuing your dream for a time?
N- Primarily fear of losing financial security. I wanted to be sure that I could provide well for my family.
K- One of the ways that we mitigated the risk was to save up several months of living experiences and had an exit strategy in place. Initially, because I was afraid that things weren’t going to work out, I made Nathan work about fifteen hours a week on applying for other jobs so that I knew we had other things in the works. That helped my peace of mind, but it also cost us time to grow the business. After Nathan was contacted by several companies and asked to apply, I started to relax and let him focus on growing the business.
What are some of your proudest accomplishments?
N- The fact that this is even working, haha. I love being able to help people, businesses, and non-profits, fix their problems and save money. I have helped some non-profits save thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. We also love that we are able to employ and work with awesome people.
K- Owning a business has helped me grow as a person, and learn new skills. As an introvert, it has helped me push myself to do new things, from making sales to giving a presentation in front of two hundred people.
What have you found the most difficult aspect of pursuing your dream?
K- I once read someone describe owning a business as being like an alien on a roller coaster; one minute it seems like you are going to be launched back among the stars to find your people, the next second you are hurtling towards the earth at break neck speed. It’s rather similar to that, some weeks things are amazing and the money is pouring in, other weeks it is endless frustration and there is no money coming in. You have to keep a larger perspective (and in this case know how to manage cash flow).
N- Family stress. When you work from home the distinction between the professional and familial spheres of life start to blur. In some cases that can be an advantage, but it comes at a cost.
What does success look like to you?
K- Success as a business owner takes on many different forms for me. On one level there is financial success, and I have been proud of our accomplishments in that regard, both for ourselves, and employing others. On another level it has been rewarding to form new relationships with other business owners in the community and to help their businesses run more smoothly. On a third level, it is rewarding to be able to start a business from scratch and watch it grow. Some day we hope to have the business established and running smoothly so that we can have more time with our kids, and not have to work very many hours.
What advice do you have for people who are considering making some change to pursue their dreams/ goals?
K- For pursuing dreams in general, I suggest people to have a plan and then follow the plan. Ground breaking idea, I know.