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My Success Story: Celebrating 11 Years In Business

Show Off Your Success! Post your Work-at-Home or Online Business Success Story. From small achievements to life-changing success, we'd love to hear your story...

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My Success Story: Celebrating 11 Years In Business

Postby Lynn Terry » Thu Sep 20, 2007 5:33 pm

To kick off this brand new category here at the Self-Starters forum, I'll share the links to my own "success story".

:arrow: Flashback! Where Lynn Was 10 Years Ago

Illustrated with start-up photos, even ;)

11 years ago I was a working wife and mother, and we were a combined family with 4 children. My husband wasnt working, and I was making barely over $6/hour at my job in the small town where we lived. The house was rented, the car was always breaking down, and we were barely getting by from paycheck to paycheck (my one paycheck, for 6 people, at that). We had no savings, no assets and no real shot of making it “out of the rut” anytime soon... continue

I'll post a summarized version below also...
Last edited by Lynn Terry on Fri Sep 21, 2007 8:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Lynn Terry » Fri Sep 21, 2007 8:26 am

What I did to make the transition to successful entrepreneur is not necessarily something I would advise to others. That said, it did work for me, and I was up and running and (at least somewhat) financially stable within 3 months.

To give you the short story: I quit my job cold turkey, sold everything that we owned, and started a service-based business out of our home. When I say “sold everything” - I mean the china, furniture, the kids’ toys, right down to my eelskin heels. It all went to auction.

I was in it to succeed, and had every intention of replacing it all. And did.

The most common advice, though, is that you save up at least 3 months worth of living expenses before you quit your job, or make the transition to working from home full-time. I think that this is great advice, and recommend it myself.

I am now in my 11th year in business, and never had to even consider taking another “job” since I left mine in early 1997. If a struggling mother with a full house, and an unemployed husband, can do it - then so can you!

Flashback! Where Lynn Terry Was 10 Years Ago

You see that cute baby girl sitting in my lap? She is 11 years old, and she is almost as tall as me now. But back then, she was my lap buddy, and sat in my lap and wreaked havoc on my desk space while I worked from home…

Image

I was 24 when that picture was taken, she was somewhere around the age of 1. It was 1997.

Most of you are familiar with my start-up story, and the crazy risks I took to leave my job as a Unix Sys Admin in a small town to start my first business.

Everyone I mentioned it to, including my husband who was involved, thought it was nuts - to which I replied “Ahhh pfft - we can always go out and get another job if this doesnt pan out. It’s no big deal.”

True enough ;) And fortunately I’ve never had to.

My first business was an electronic repair shop. I was married at the time and my husband was the best damn technician around. There wasnt anything he couldnt fix, and I always joked that man would build me a time machine one day.

While I didnt have any formal education, I figured I could manage a business and run an office as good as any girl could - and was motivated enough to learn as I went. I had not had much luck in the local job market, usually holding a job but never anything fulfilling or that paid enough to even get by. My husband wasnt even as lucky as that, and was out of work more often than not.

We had four children between us - 2 his, 1 mine, and 1 ours - to raise on my one check that was usually not much more than minimum wage. Well, that and all the overtime I could get.

So call it crazy if you will, but crazier would have been to do nothing at all!

We had nothing to start on. We didnt even have business cards or phone lines, mind you - and we started “the shop” out of our home. My husband had an awesome skill though, and as naive and in love with him as I was, I was 100% confident that he could out-fix any technician in the state.

So that’s what I sent him out to do. He visited every “competitor” within range, and offered to fix their “dogs” (the electronics they deemed “NWR” - not worth repair). Day after day he came home with the worst repair jobs imaginable, and fixed almost all of them.

It wasnt long before our reputation afforded us a phone line and yellow page ads, a small sign out front and a few luxuries - like a desk and a workbench.

And within 6 months I was writing a new business plan, and scouting professional shop space. The picture you see below is the building we moved the business into that same year - with over 5,000 sq ft of showroom, 8 offices and a warehouse.

Image

We had a HUGE sign painted to go out front, which is what you see drying there in that picture. It didnt meet “codes” - but hey, I was learning as I went. And we did hang that sign, and nobody ever made a fuss over it. We were “in business”!

The kids were almost 1, 6, 6 and 9 years old… and they loved every minute of it. We were both home full time for them, and even when we moved the business into the shop they were there anytime we were.

It was hectic some days, but for the most part the kids found ways to enterain themselves. Just look how many kids you can fit into computer speaker boxes!

Image

That first year in the shop, I had taken a major interest in computers and so I bought the parts for 6 full systems and we put them together and set them up.

I had already gotten into web development by then, and expanded into computer training classes and network gaming tournaments (we played Quake II and my screen name was “Queen”). We did custom builds for gamers, I had classes in the evenings, all on top of our usual daily business of electronic repair.

My son was somewhere between kindergarten and 1st grade at that point, and he took a genuine interest in computers and gaming.

Image

He’s almost 16 now, and more interested in a dedicated server than a drivers license.

He is about to release his first game into beta version :D

The shop was running great, complete with plenty of customers and employees. Days were filled with ringing phones, walk-ins, repairs and insurance claims. Evenings were taken up with computer training classes or network game tournaments. The kids were present and involved in almost every aspect of our business… and life was good.

As if I wasnt already busy enough, I launched Web Service Network that same year, and put together an international web development team. What can I say - I like a challenge (as long as I have enough caffiene to keep up lol).

Image

A year or so later my husband walked out on our marriage. A sad time for sure, but all turned out fine in the end. I gave him the shop in the divorce, and I took the web dev business. And that, my friends, is how it all started… :D
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Postby Oregon Coast Guy » Fri Sep 21, 2007 11:45 am

Great story, Lynn (except for the "husband walks out part! =[)!

I love to hear other people's success stories. It just goes to show that with passion to succeed and brains and motivation (BAM), you can take on the world!
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Postby Lynn Terry » Fri Sep 21, 2007 2:23 pm

Oregon Coast Guy wrote:(except for the "husband walks out part! =[)!


Yeah, well, you cant win 'em all, eh ;) LOL
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Postby Oregon Coast Guy » Fri Sep 21, 2007 2:28 pm

You had to have been too hot for him :?
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Postby jacquelynrose » Fri Sep 21, 2007 3:51 pm

I Love your story Lynn! Thanks for starting the folder. Its Great. :) I cannot wait to Post my own Story. I like the advice saving up 3 months worth of Salary.
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Great Story

Postby nar321 » Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:32 pm

Confirmation of "if You Believe,& act on what you believe, you will achieve". Agree that one should have several months savings before venturing into self-employment. Also a good mentor and a great Forum like SSWT can make all the difference in one's results :)
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Postby robert adams » Fri Sep 21, 2007 6:18 pm

Hey, I woke up this morning. As far as I am concerned, each day that starts with that is a success.

The alternative is certainly not.


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Postby Lynn Terry » Sat Sep 22, 2007 9:55 am

Okay - I'm ready to hear some of YOUR stories... Big or small, one paragraph even, I'd love to see some new threads by those of you that have achieved your goals or made exciting life changes!
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Postby WAHumor » Sat Sep 22, 2007 12:55 pm

The amazing thing about Lynn's story is all the other incredible details of how she got to this point.

I wonder if Superman could've survived as much... :shock:
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Postby Lynn Terry » Sat Sep 22, 2007 6:37 pm

WAHumor wrote:The amazing thing about Lynn's story is all the other incredible details of how she got to this point.

I wonder if Superman could've survived as much... :shock:


I imagine you're referring to my crown-holding days as Queen of Adversity? :lol: A few examples that come to mind are when my son was having grand-mal seizures, or when we got hit by a string of tornadoes, or the two years I spent taking care of my grandmother.

Life has gotten much easier... (knock on wood) ;) . I certainly would have had a hard time holding a decent "job" during any of that, so I am glad I have had the opportunity to work at home all these years.
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Postby Lynn Terry » Sat Sep 22, 2007 9:07 pm

Oregon Coast Guy wrote:You had to have been too hot for him :?


LOL I dont think so 8) ... maybe too busy, too motivated, too something for sure. But I wont go into the details of the demise of my marriage (thank goodness, right? hehe)
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Postby johndilbeck » Sat Sep 22, 2007 10:03 pm

Lynn,

That is a very inspirational story.

Sometimes, those who play it safe and wait to have a cushion before making a change never make a change.

As one who has jumped the chasm several times, I find it best - for some people - to just act on your dream once you know what you want to do, or what you don't want to do.

Thanks for sharing your story.

Act on your dream!

JD
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Can I use your inspirational story

Postby pilpil » Sat Nov 17, 2007 1:46 am

Hi Lynn,
Thanks for sharing your inspirational story.
Can I ask your permission to post your story in my blog.
And at the same time point back my readers to this forum for them to join?

Regards,
Philip

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Don't be an addict like me...
http://www.personalgrowthandselfesteem.com
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Postby Lynn Terry » Sun Nov 18, 2007 6:27 pm

Sure ;)
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