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  • Writer's pictureAshleigh Harvey

Starting a business is like getting a puppy. Prepare for Ground Zero.

Updated: Oct 17, 2020

The idea is great! It'll be so exciting and new and fresh. It'll be fun! It'll make me feel like I have more purpose. Until it starts chewing your house to bits and eating bird shit.

So, that's Bella. My eight-year-old rescue dog, and business partner. My husband and I adopted her when she was 12 weeks old and it was too delish. Oh, the cuteness. I wanted to EAT HER UP. And then, she chewed my most beautiful bra. And my new furniture. And she refused to listen at puppy school (she came last in the class). And she basically screwed up my life for a year. She was a total handful. I almost gave her back.

But, I persevered. I breathed deeply. I exercised more patience and love than I knew I had, and she started to mature. She grew in confidence. She started to become part of our family. She fitted in with our routine. She has become one of the great joys of my life. I adore her face, and I can't imagine my life without her.

Starting a business is kind of the same thing. It's going to be tough at first. You're going to wonder why you ever did it. You're going to want to throw in the towel and say, Nope. No way. I can't do this. I'm still in that place, some days. My business is still a puppy. And you can be sure that puppies are going to bring certain challenges:

1) They're going to cost you money. Money you didn't expect to spend. Money you need for other things. It's OK. Spend the money. It'll be worth it.

2) They're going to take up your time. You thought you'd allocate a certain portion of your day to certain things. puppies, new businesses are unpredictable. They need to be nurtured. Just do it. Put your big person panties on, and commit. You'll be tired. But these are the growing years. It won't last forever.

3) They're going to shit in your house. Yup. Puppy shit err'where. But you'll train it, and then it won't shit anymore. The key here is YOU. You do the training. You commit to changing that puppy-pooing habit. And the puppy will love you for it. (In business terms, puppy shit can be anything, from undercharging a client and then spending hours on the job, to feeling like your whole life has been consumed by social media planning, to just not knowing how to move from A-B sometimes. And it's all OK. It will get better.)

4) They need routine. They need to know that certain things will happen at certain times. They need you to commit to that routine. And they will respond in ways you never imagined possible.

The thing is, once the puppy years are over, you have this mature, well-brought-up, beautiful companion, that will love you and follow you into the pits of hell, if needs be. And they'll survive anything. And that's pretty amazing.

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Judy Dudley
Judy Dudley
Oct 28, 2022

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