ADVENTURES IN ENTREPRENEURIALISM
What if you know in your heart you are an entrepreneur, but have no idea what kind of business to start? What if you are ultimately unfulfilled in your current professional path, but unsure about the most responsible change of course? These are the questions that held me hostage for what seemed like an eternity as I struggled to find my true professional calling.
The fact is, it has been my dream to become an entrepreneur since I was very young. I grew up the only child of restaurant owners and entrepreneurs. Watching my parents run their businesses and helping with their busy restaurants, I was inspired by their leadership, work ethic, and the freedom that entrepreneurship afforded them. For years, I struggled to reconcile my dream with the truth that I had no idea what kind of business I wanted to start, and the unsettling fear of leaving a traditional work setting. I entered the workforce to learn and develop my skills so I could one day have the kind of self-governed life my parents had shown me as a child.
My professional background is an unusual one, pivoting between different industries and disciplines. My first job after college was in retail management as part of an experimental leadership development opportunity awarded to me by Wal-Mart, in which I was given a leadership role and over 150 associates to manage. I loved the fast-paced environment, but most of all, I loved leading a team. That was the single-most professionally educational time of my life, and I am so grateful to have had those two years. Ultimately, however, I came to realize it was not a career that was going to fulfill or sustain me long-term, as I worked a grueling schedule that left little time to sleep and almost no time for myself.
Craving a more traditional and predictable work life, and looking to explore my newfound passion for teaching and training I gained from my retail management experience, I left my position to pursue my master’s degree in education. I then taught elementary school for three beautiful and rewarding years. The people and the children that came into my life through my years as a classroom teacher have forever touched my heart, and I would not trade that time for anything. Teaching was a respite from the fast-paced corporate machine in which I was previously involved, though demanding in its own way. Again, however, three years into my new career, I began feeling the familiar sinking feeling that this current path was still not quite right.
Though I was terrified to start over once again, I was more terrified to ignore the shouting in my head telling me that my true path was out there waiting for me, if only I dared to find it. I said goodbye to my teaching family, and I took the leap into the professional unknown, in search of that perfect mix of challenging and fulfilling. I searched for new jobs, wrote page after page of ideas for entrepreneurial ventures, and ultimately applied and was rejected from over 100 jobs (I stopped counting after 100). Rejection of this magnitude was difficult to swallow. I felt lost and defeated. I ended up taking a job at a new hotel that was opening in downtown Austin, hopeful that my roots in my family’s restaurant business might translate into a meaningful career in hospitality.
Unfortunately, things were still feeling a bit out of place in my new position, and then life made things much worse. A few months into my new job, I learned that my mother was terminally ill. This new reality suddenly put all the stress and fears of my professional plight into perspective. My mother’s death brought with it a crystal-clear reminder that life is short and unpredictable. There are no guarantees, and time is too precious to devote to things that are out of alignment with your vision. In the sadness and grief that followed my mom’s passing, I finally had the clarity and courage to step away from the traditional work environment into the unfamiliar world of entrepreneurship. As luck would have it, two close friends were trying to bring an idea to life, and they were looking for someone to help them launch their business. Their idea and my enthusiasm and entrepreneurial spirit made for a magical launch of their vision of S.H.E Media Group and Eleanora Magazine.
Also during this time and in the aftermath of my mother’s passing, I had decided to move back to my hometown of San Antonio to be closer to my family. I began working alongside my dad to assist him with our oldest family restaurant to generate income while I was exploring my new path. I am now proud to be his partner in the restaurant, learning alongside him everyday.
Still, after experiencing the launch of one business, and in the midst of partnering in another, I was eager to launch a business of my own. I have often heard the advice that true professional fulfillment comes from finding something you love and finding a way to get paid for it. Throughout my professional experiences, I have always relied upon and loved planners. A good planner is the ultimate tool for structuring your time and your life in a way that creates balance, discipline, and success. I always invest in at least one planner yearly, usually more. One day, as I was talking about buying a new planner, my dear friend and S.H.E Media partner suggested I make my own. That very evening, I started designing my ultimate planner. Before I knew it, it was four in the morning and I had completed the bones of what today is my Signature Dragon Planner, the staple of my product line for my very own company, Dragon Planner.
After completing that first prototype, I knew instantly I had found the business idea I had been searching for. Something creative, useful, tangible, and for which I was incredibly passionate. The idea landed at just the right time, or perhaps I just finally allowed it to land. I refined my business plan and launch strategy and created prototypes by testing different layouts, materials, and covers. My time spent nurturing this new venture has never felt like work. My dad always said that when you like what you do, it isn’t really work at all. I am experiencing that phenomenon for the very first time in my life. I balance the responsibilities of two businesses close to my heart – my family restaurant, and my planner business.
Using my Dragon Planner tools to help optimize my productivity, set clear goals, and monitor my progress, I am learning something new every day, and I am so grateful for the challenge and the opportunity to share my creation with other women with big goals, full calendars, and creative spirits.
I think back to those times I felt stuck in a job that did not serve my larger goals, and all the fears and excuses I would find not to change. One fear that repeatedly haunted me was that somebody was already selling the product I wanted to create. Does the world really need another planner company? What if I fail? What if I do not make any money? We are conditioned to fear out of self-preservation. My advice to anyone with the slightest desire to start their own business is just to jump in with the faith that what you have to offer is special, unique, and needed. There are always going to be people out there doing similar things, but no one will be able to bring what you can to a product or service.The journey to starting my own business has been fraught with mistakes, doubts, and errors that cost me time and money. It has also been the most fun and rewarding experience of my professional life. We are all just figuring things out as they come, learning from each pivot and mistake. As with all entrepreneurial adventures, the path ahead for my new business is full of unknown challenges and obstacles to conquer. However, in the midst of this unknown, I have finally gained the self-governed life I always dreamed of, and for the first time in my professional life, I am fully confident that I have uncovered my true calling.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Satchie is teacher-turned-entrepreneur, passionate about creating tools that help others achieve their biggest goals. She is the founder of Dragon Planner, and part-owner of Bombay Bicycle Club, a lively San Antonio restaurant and bar. When she is not designing custom planners, or running her restaurant, you can find Satchie at yoga, going on adventures with her two dogs and her husband, Lee, or enjoying a glass of wine with girlfriends.