I remember always knowing I wanted to be an entrepreneur.
Every morning, my dad would get up at 5 or 5:30AM, watch the news, drink his coffee, and then get ready for his day. Every morning I would get up around 6AM, and set up my “shop”. My mom was a soap collector (that was a thing in the 90’s maybe?). She had several different soaps in her bathroom that were all different shapes, sizes, etc. Every morning I would take inventory, separate the soaps by color, shape, size, and then put price tags on them. Then, my dad would come to my “shop”, and he would essentially buy back the soaps that they already owned. I’d make my “money” for the day, and then close down my shop. I was probably in kindergarten.
I later worked for my dad (who was a successful entrepreneur and my #1 role model) when I was about 14-17 years old. Ah yes, the good old days where there was no sleeping in during the summer, but instead, you went to work! Do you know how many of my friends woke up at 2pm every day during the summer? I was not happy. But I am now.
My dad taught me business taxes, customer service, management, legal issues, and everything that I use today, daily.
When it came time for undergrad, there was no question what I would be studying, business. I worked doing several clubs on campus, both the SGA and Campus Activities Board (my favorite) where I was able to plan events and bring acts like The Roots (I drove them around), several MTV people, Eric Church (I have a photo, somewhere) and several other bands and celebs to campus. Towson was a great four years, and then I graduated with my degree and took a job offer, moved to Virginia 3 days later, and stayed there for 2 years doing Government Contracting work. This was not my dream job, but I was grateful, made some great friends, lived near my best friend/cousin Brittany, and learned more about business. Besides, my dad’s one requirement was to have a job when I graduated, and I had succeeded!
But I never thought about what I really wanted.
When my dad became ill I moved back home to Baltimore. I worked in HR for several more years, and it was ALL paperwork. Well, paperwork and letting people go. I was basically “Up In The Air” (the movie) but I was down on the ground. At a different company doing HR, I grew tired of people being “afraid” to talk to me. In a move that was bold and reckless, I quit my job and started working part time for a Wedding Floral Designer in the area. Yes, I had decided that I wanted to do event planning, just like I did in college but this time I was thinking wedding. I loved that job, but I quickly realized I had to pay the bills. I was scared, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and I had to navigate suddenly things on my own like healthcare and figure that out, since it was no longer company paid. I spent many nights questioning my decisions, and wondering if I should’ve left my stable full-time job and just dealt with it.
I felt lost, and each year as I grew older, I questioned so many things.
I then took a job as a local concierge, but there was just a lot of being behind a desk, and while the job was fine, the people were nice, again, it didn’t make me happy every day. But it was still some event planning! So I stuck to it for a little while. For fun & to mix things up, I volunteered at local rescues, and tried to learn more about dog training. But I was unhappy, I knew I wasn’t living for me, and I spent many nights confused and sad about where my life was headed and what I was doing. It was so scary! I felt lost, and each year as I grew older, I questioned so many things. Plus, money was tight and it was giving me cause to really look and evaluate my choices.
Then, I found another position locally that would enable me to not only do event planning, but also social media and marketing, which was quickly becoming a favorite of mine. I also started hostessing and later bartending part time and moved to Federal Hill. I learned so much about the city so quickly and made SO many connections, it was so helpful.
I still decided that I needed something else, so I went into a dog training position part time. I loved dogs and thought it would make me happier. That’s how I met Kevin, my business partner. Kevin and I became fast friends, and he was an amazing mentor. We decided we wanted to go out on our own, and I realized this was FINALLY my opportunity to do what I wanted, be an entrepreneur! From there, I made a quick connection at a local Pet Valu, just by showing that my dog loves her crate in the store one day. We now do several events with them monthly, and all because I had moved to the city.
So are you seeing a pattern? Are you seeing how all of this prepared me for what I do now?
…most importantly I love waking up each morning, it makes a huge difference to me.
I also decided to go back to school, to get my MBA, first in Marketing but later I changed to Entrepreneurship. I’m now graduating in May. Life is not all roses right now either. It’s a big leap of faith to start your own business and still not have a steady income. But as our success grows and the hard work starts to pay off, and most importantly I love waking up each morning, it makes a huge difference to me. Being happy with what you do is everything, and I’m so grateful to now be on that path! I also blog for fun, to get out my creative side, and am toying with doing marketing and social media again down the road! Who knows, but I’m so happy to be living my lifetime dream, with an awesome business partner. I feel fortunate that the universe is allowing me to do this. And I hope the same happiness for everyone else as well!
Sarabeth Ramsey is a local small business owner of Simple Solutions Dog Training LLC and from Baltimore, Baltimore. She is finishing her MBA in Entrepreneurship in Spring 2018 from The University of Baltimore. She has a little rescue mutt named Ella who is her best friend and! Part time she runs a boho lifestyle blog where she shares other small businesses in Baltimore, fashion, dog love, food and travel ideas/tips. She also loves marketing and social media. In her free time she enjoys yoga, meditation and SUP (standup paddle boarding).