Catherine Gracey

Living Life, One Misadventure At A Time.

Starting A New Business

on September 10, 2019

For as long as I can remember, one of my dreams has been to have my own business. As a child I would spend hours making random trinkets that my parents and grandparents were expected to buy. I had a toy ironing board that was my shop front, and I would position it across my bedroom doorway; it’s a well-known fact that every shop has a secret place out the back where the customers don’t go, and I was all about the authenticity of my commercial enterprise.

At the end of high school, all of my university preferences were in business. My first preference was an ecommerce major, which seemed exciting and cutting edge at the end of the 90s. I was going to make candles, sell them online, and pursue a creative and independent lifestyle that fit my personality. The whole plan was derailed a few hours before the final cut off for change of preference, when I bumped the entire list down by one preference place to put a creative writing course at the top of my list. I was strongly advised against it by the careers counsellor at school and it was one of the best decisions of my life.

All of that was half a lifetime ago. I cherish that time I spent in creative pursuits, but it didn’t take me where I had hoped to go. Financial reality crept in, and instead of embracing my own path I ended up working for others in jobs that never quite satisfied.

Earlier this year, I started working for a web store. It was thrilling for the first few weeks as I experienced some of the career path that I had walked away from as a teenager. Once the initial excitement wore off, I started looking at all of the parts that were involved. I couldn’t escape a burning question: why was I doing this for somebody else and not for myself?

When I left that job two months ago, I was determined to start my own online business. It brought me back to the same challenging questions that had always prevented me from starting. What was my product going to be? How would I set everything up? What could I create with the limited budget available?

While discussing my dilemma with someone, he mentioned that he had a product he thought might sell, but no time or inclination to do the business side of things. We discussed the idea off and on for a few weeks, and then last month we sat down and created the business; www.sketchybot.com was born. He creates digital artwork that I then draw with a plotter.

There has been an obvious mental journey in creating the business; I’ve never done many of the steps before, and converting theory to practice is always challenging the first time that you do it. What I’ve been most surprised by has been the emotional and psychological journey that has come along with it. Every action that I have taken has meant I’ve had to take a long-held idea about myself and gently put it aside. So many doubts and old wounds that I didn’t realise I still carried have come to the surface, and each one has needed to be worked through before I could continue.

My biggest lesson from this process has been realising what I’m capable of doing if I only push myself gently. This process has changed me almost as much as starting my project over at carbonnegativefamily.com/ has changed me. We don’t get many opportunities in this life to see how powerful we can be unless we go out and create them. Go out and create some for yourself too.


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