It turns out starting a business is hard.

Entrepreneur to Avocado. What gives? Let me explain.

So, a few years back I came up with a design for a hands-free dog walking belt because at the time my daughters were 1 and 2 years old and I never had a free hand.

I saw that other mothers were struggling to push a stroller and walk their dog. I wanted to create a product that contributed to a better quality of life so that people could step back and enjoy what they were doing rather than have their hands full.

There were similar products on the market but I chose to differentiate mine by adding certain features. It was cool. It worked.

I’ve always had a fascination with bringing the ideas in my head into fruition. Whether it be a product, a photo, a drawing-I love seeing things come to life. It’s my passion.

Is that still one of my businesses?

While it was super cool to do, it is no longer my business. I handed the business over to the manufacturer when I realized it had played itself out and it was time to move on to something new.

One of the hard parts about being an entrepreneur is that you have to know when the life cycle of your product is coming to an end. It may be time to close shop or just time to evolve.

It takes grit to start a business but it takes a certain amount of humility to know when to walk away.

So what is Guac & Soul? What’s the deal with the avocado? What’s happening?

Guac & Soul was created by me. I started my Instagram, @guac_n_soul by posting about mom life and my art mostly as a hobby. When I decided to focus on social media marketing, I began growing the platform and focusing on collaborating with businesses in the community.

On that note, I love music. Like, LOVE. Who doesn’t? So I wanted something like “rock n’ roll” but I also really love food. Mostly healthy food with a side of nachos. So “Guac & Soul” was born. Sometimes, you just gotta roll with it!

Anywho, the decision to focus my platform on small businesses had a domino effect and lead to my full time position at The Center for Economic Empowerment and Development where I have resources to help small businesses and entrepreneurs right here in the city I live in! I love my job. Love.

I mean, the idea of collaborating with and supporting small businesses became a tangible job. Grateful is an understatement.

So basically, I got tired of trying to find a marketing job after interviewing for a year so I decided to create my own job which lead to my actual dream job. I don’t sit still very well so thank goodness.

Recently my co-workers and friends inspired me to start blogging in addition to my Instagram and that has been a fun outlet for me. I mean, here I am! So I guess I’m digging it.

I’ve also recently begun to monetize my social media platforms so I suppose I’m still in the entrepreneur game in that respect. I’ll probably always have some type of side hustle. I can’t resist the challenge of building something and social media has definitely been an interesting challenge.

My entrepreneurial motivations have definitely changed since I first started all of this. My goal went from having my own venture to using my knowledge to help other entrepreneurs succeed in theirs.

Again, I now work in the Women’s Business Center at CEED where we empower women to succeed. In fact, we have a huge fundraiser coming up in October called Over the Edge where people in the community have a chance to rappel off of a building here in Fayetteville to celebrate a milestone such as opening a business or a personal accomplishment.

I love to celebrate the success of others and I’m so proud of the entrepreneurs in this community.

If I could tell you anything it would be: Your business will be your baby. Working for yourself is much harder than working for anyone else. You will have to be very disciplined to make it flourish and get it to a self-sustaining point. It’s entirely doable, but you have to know going into it that

The moments of accomplishment will keep you going.

The absolute most exciting moment was getting that shelf-ready, packaged product on my doorstep. I literally cried tears of joy. It was such a journey to get to that point and took a great level of determination. It was very gratifying to have something I dreamed up become a tangible product.

So, is entrepreneurship innate or what?

For me personally, I have an innate need to create. Before I had a paint set I would paint on printer paper with nail polish. When I was in elementary school I spent a summer saving up for a Minolta camera. I wanted to take pictures and I remember being so curious about that art form. I’m stubborn about my curiosity. I’ll make it happen. I suppose that’s another innate quality, curiosity. I’m ridiculously curious.

Creativity and curiosity are a strong mixture for an entrepreneur to have.

When I’m not working I am playing with my daughters, cooking, creating art, dancing to Billy Joel in my kitchen, or working out. I also really like to clean. Like, a lot. Probably more than necessary.

Honestly though, I work alot. When I go home I like to read marketing books. I’m always thinking of the next project. Some may call me a workaholic but I just really love what I do and it doesn’t feel like work to me. Maybe that’s another quality of an entrepreneur, we don’t really separate work from play-it’s all play for us and we’re happy to do it even when times are tough. It’s kind of a way of life.

Someone once told me business is the greatest game in the world if you know how to play it. That really resonates with me. Now, as someone who thrives on creating, I have learned the hard way over time that without discipline, I can create all day and it will go nowhere. I could decide to paint masterpieces but if I don’t have the discipline to finish them or market them, it won’t make a difference and will remain an unfinished hobby in my closet. I can’t think of anything sadder than potential collecting dust. I’m guilty of it though.While discipline and creativity are two sides of the same coin, it is very difficult to have both of those elements and personally, I must remind myself everyday to keep a balance between the two in order to be productive. I have many ideas and I can easily get carried away with starting a million projects but I have to have the discipline to focus my energy.

I constantly fail at things. I’m always learning. I could always do better, do more. It’s learning to do things better and integrating that into your work that makes the failures stepping stones and not setbacks.

My advice to fellow entrepreneurs:

Figure out your “why” and write it big and bold where you can see it every day. That’s what’s going to get you through those days, weeks, and even months in the trenches of the start-up days. Remember why you did this and keep your eye on the bigger picture.I’m often asked if I could start another business, would it be the same? Definitely not the same. I don’t like to look backwards. The world is constantly evolving and what was needed yesterday is no longer relevant today. I don’t have any plans to start another business-I really enjoying helping others start their own. You’ll often see me around town helping photograph products and setting up collaborations. That’s my jam and I can see myself in this for the long haul.

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