Get Your Hopes Up?
When I started my dog walking business in 2010, I, of course, had starry eyes and big dreams. But I didn’t get my hopes up because… what if I failed? You pour your time, energy, and soul into a business with the idea it’ll eventually grow into something legit, but brand new businesses are so fragile. In those early days, it feels like it’ll only take one key thing to go wrong, and it could all just go away and come to nothing. One little misstep and your dreams are over, done, gone.
I didn’t feel legit when I started. I was all heart and hustle with (very!) limited know-how. I did know that if a client took a chance on me, I would give it my all and blow them away with the value I’d provide. I was also so, so aware of everything I didn’t know. I’d never studied business and I didn’t have any formal qualifications. Uhh, revenue forecasting, marketing strategies, payroll remittances, huh? I just want to give your dog such a great experience on a pack walk that your relationship with said dogger will blossom and your home life will improve in ways you didn’t realize were possible – that’s a business plan, right?
In those early days, I never bought swag for the business or anything branded. It wasn’t an essential expense for one thing. The real reason, however, is I was terrified the business might fail and that swag would become a tangible souvenir of the wasted money and time. Like, been there, failed that, bought the branded t-shirt.
I dreamed though. I dreamed that one day the business would be big enough that my team would have cute, sporty tees with our logo on it. That we’d have our own private property where we’d walk the dogs, and that property would have a shampoo station for muddy paws and parking for the doggy-mobiles. And maybe one day, when we’d really hit the legit status, we’d even be able to install a port-a-potty. What a luxury it would be to answer nature’s calling, nay, not in nature, but in the glorious shelter of a plastic vestibule!
Big announcement here, friends! It took eight and a half years of work – grueling, exhilarating, grit and determination – but we’ve reached that pinnacle of accomplishment: a port-a-potty on the private property where we walk delightful, adorable dogs! This new feature joins a shampoo station for muddy paws and ample parking for the doggy-mobiles. Directly across from the rented toilet? A sign with our business name and logo.
You may drive by our setup and see a gravel parking lot with a portable toilet and not think much of it, but know that what you’re actually looking at is a milestone years in the making. I drive by and feel proud, humbled, and grateful. I’m so lucky to work with people who give a sh*t.
If you have big dreams or goals of your own that terrify you, do them. Do them now. Do it scared. Get your hopes up. You too will achieve milestones large and small and be forever changed.
P.S. That whole “what if I fail?” question? You will. You’ll screw up. all. the. time. But it’s only a failure if you quit. Slam-dunk quote here from motivational speaker, Denis Waitley: “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”
The real question isn’t, “what if I fail?”, it’s “what if I succeed?