Here’s a great post learning lessons by Lily Kreitinger. Lily’s specializes in helping companies effectively train their team members. Follow Lily on LinkedIn. You can guest post as well! Read how to here.
I met Liz on the first day of class at a small teaching college in Mexico City, and we soon became close friends.
You couldn’t help but smile when you were around Liz. She was this bubbly redhead with freckles, an only child after the tragic loss of her newborn baby brother when she was 5 years old. Her parents adored her. She had tons of friends, most of them from her church. Through the four years we attended college, we spent a lot of time together. She taught me much about being on fire for the Lord and truly witnessing to one’s faith.
Close to graduation, we decided start our own practice treating children with learning disabilities. It was an exciting experience. Her dad agreed to finance our business, and we rented an office. We scrubbed the carpets clean, painted walls and picked out office furniture. We designed a logo and some business cards, and printed out flyers that we gave out at the mall and grocery store. We were ready to conquer the world.
After two years of hustling, we were making zero money. Her dad just kept paying our bills. We needed to start making a living, and I felt increasingly uncomfortable. I told her that I didn’t think it was fair to her family, and I valued our friendship too much to continue. We went our separate ways.
We kept in touch, but our friendship became distant. One day, I got a call from my mom. “Liz’s mom called to let us know she passed away,” she said.
I couldn’t believe it. She was only 25. It turns out that Liz had gone on a mission trip and got chicken pox. She had other health issues that resulted in the virus infecting all of her internal organs. She was so disfigured that she didn’t want her mom and dad to tell anyone. She had been hospitalized at a clinic that was literally a few doors down from my house. We attended the funeral and tried to comfort her heartbroken fiancé. I never talked to her parents again. I didn’t know how to.
These are the tough lessons I learned through this experience. They can apply for an entrepreneur.
- Take a hard look at what you want to accomplish. Stick to your passion and your dream, and turn your dreams into realistic goals.
- Don’t be afraid to do it all when you start up. Clean the toilets, scrub the carpets, hand out flyers… and then change into your dressy clothes when it’s time to talk to your clients.
- If you’re not profitable, change your strategy and set a deadline to pull the plug.
- If you must choose between friendship and business, pick friendship.
- You are NOT invincible and you don’t know it all. Ask for some candid advice, and seek guidance and mentoring.
- ALWAYS tell those around you that you love them and appreciate them. I wish I had told Liz how much she meant in my life.
Questions: Are there any business decisions that you have made that you would like to take back? What are the lessons that YOU have learned?