Starting a business is not always exactly how one might imagine it to be. Many aspiring entrepreneurs have expectations, but are they realistic? According to an Entrepreneur article, 24 million Americans wanted to become their own boss by 2021. But do they know exactly what that entails? The short answer: no. For many, according to the article, expectations don’t always live up to reality – stress levels may go up (not down as many seem to think if they’re running the show), financial risks could be greater, and improvement of quality of life is not a guarantee. Given this, would-be entrepreneurs should know that it takes a special person who is passionate and prepared for all the possibilities.
One entrepreneur, Gayle Martz, is a perfect example of someone who was cut out for entrepreneurialism. Gayle is the founder of The SHERPA Pet Trading Company, where she single-handedly designed, manufactured and marketed the iconic SHERPA Bag® you see everywhere. Her hard work and determination resulted in a pet carrier purchased by millions for their dogs, cats and other animal companions, and it continues to be THE top-selling, prize-winning, globally-popular soft-sided pet carrier.
While it was not always easy, Martz says it was worth it. But she learned a lot throughout her business career. As Gayle recently shared in her interview with Thrive Global, here are four things she wishes someone told her before she started her business:
- Always consult a reputable attorney before you sign anything!
In her book, “It’s in the Bag,” Gayle reflects on the document she signed without having her attorney look at it first. Looking back, she was rushed into signing papers and notes that any business matter should never be rushed. Not taking the crucial time to consult her attorney cost her a lot and she preaches that all entrepreneurs get a good attorney that they can trust. “It is a necessity and an investment that will help along the way and save money down the road,” says Martz.
- Failure helps drive success.
When Gayle lost her job as a flight attendant with TWA, it was the first step down a long, bumpy road that led her to discovering that she was meant to be an entrepreneur. Having that void in her professional life forced her to look inward and think about what she really wanted to do with the rest of her life. “Anytime you fail, think about how it can propel you forward. It makes failing easier if you can find a silver lining, which you will find if you look hard enough,” says Martz.
- Take care of yourself.
When you are an entrepreneur, you will find yourself spending every second working on your business. “Good quality work can only be achieved when you are in a healthy state of mind. There was a time in my career when I needed to take care of the turmoil inside of me. Five things were instrumental in helping me: prayer, meditation, yoga, exercise and therapy,” says Martz. Make time for YOU.
- Not everyone has the best interest in YOU. Protect yourself.
It is very common to overshare with people when starting a business, but it is important to take every precaution like safeguarding your intellectual property, your business’s details, your contracts with employees and partners, and all the other important aspects that starting a company entails. “Many people will try to take advantage of you. Know that. Accept that. Thankfully, if you protect yourself properly, you can stand up to them and keep what is rightfully yours,” says Martz.
For more tips on being an entrepreneur and insight on how Martz built a multi-million-dollar company from a $5,000 investment from her mother, grab a copy of “IT’S IN THE BAG,” which is part memoir and part business book.