Today is the 10th anniversary of my officially starting my business. It came 2 weeks after my last “regular” job ended and I had taken some time to think about it. I actually hadn’t come to the full belief that I was going to end up being self employed, even though I was getting my business license. But I felt it was a big step forward in case I did end up as a sole entrepreneur.

Of course, since it involved me, that day didn’t go off without a hitch. I walked into the state office building and told the woman I wanted to name my business Mitchell & Associates. She asked me who my associates were and I told her I didn’t have any. She said I couldn’t use “& Associates” without associates, and it threw me for a loop. So I just went with my initials, last name, and “consulting” and that was that. I didn’t add “Inc” until 2006, then had to do it again because I ended up with two federal ID numbers somehow; fun!

Most people say it takes a lot of guts and fortitude to stay in business just 5 years working for yourself, so going 10 years seems like quite a feat. Actually, it’s hard to believe I’ve survived for 10 years, and truthfully it feels like survival. I’ve had some super great years, and I’ve had some awful years. I’m glad that I didn’t start out doing great because I might have made some serious mistakes later on. I’m also glad I’m great at budgeting because there have been times when I’ve had to stretch money.

But it’s been an interesting ride. I’ve traveled a lot in the past 10 years. I’ve spoken in 8 states. I’ve worked in 6 states, and done projects for 5 or 6 others, including a big project for the health system in the United Arab Emirates; I got to work that one from home. I’ve met some truly amazing people locally via networking events, and I know some people nationally that I’d have never met if I were still working a 9 – 5 job. I’m not going to name drop, but suffice it to say I’ve met some millionaires, famous people, and an astronaut; neat!

I got to write a book and create some products as well. I have a nice newsletter with a nice sized subscriber base, though I’m always looking to grow that bad boy. I started this blog, then 3 others, along with multiple websites. I’ve done some amazing things with many amazing people; that’s been fun.

It hasn’t been easy always. The year 2009 was tough because the economy of the country was really bad. In 2002 I lost my dad. In 2004 we almost had to declare bankruptcy before things started to turn around. I’ve had a couple of assignments that weren’t very good. I’ve had to fire clients, and I’ve had to sue one. And I haven’t had a vacation since 1999; then again, I hadn’t had many in the previous 18 years either.

Overall, it’s been a ride I wouldn’t trade for any other. I don’t recommend this kind of life to everyone, but if you think you have the drive, the motivation, and something you want to share with the world to prove yourself, self employment isn’t such a bad option.

At this point, my plans are still to touch the sky; we all have a dream, and that one’s mine. I hope the next 10 years are more profitable and just as much fun as the first 10 have been. I promise to keep trying to be better for myself, for my wife and family, and for those of you who stop by here every once in awhile to read these thoughts of mine. Thank you.

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