I finished our 2016 P&L statement tonight for Beckon LLC. I know I've told most of you the story (either live or on FB) before, but in 2014, I was going through a divorce, moving from a 3000 square foot house to an 800 square foot house with a then-2 year old. I had worked in corporate America for 5 years and had just been shut down- for the 3rd time that year- for a raise that would have taken me from $45,000 to $50,000 a year in a job I once made $55,000 a year in and was haphazardly "demoted" as the company restructured. I had given my managers an ultimatum, hoping I was valuable enough for them to not fire me: "Give me the raise, or I'm leaving."
I still almost remember the response, "<Manager> would like me to communicate to you that
you are not eligible for a raise, and understands you used to be eligible for bonuses that used to bump up your pay. <Manager> therefore is willing to potentially allocate up to $1200 per year in performance based bonuses to use at his discretion."
It was 1 week before my 29th birthday, and I said "No, thank you". I wanted to say a lot more than that.
I'd already accepted another job in corporate America that promised me the $50,000 I was after. $50,000 and a 40 minute commute in a sales-based position where I could sometimes work from 7:00 am till 7:00 pm. It didn't seem like the right choice given my circumstances at the time, but I felt like I had no other option.
I had just moved into my tiny, crappy rental house when I got a call from the new company: There'd been a hold up in my paperwork. I'd start the following month. I started tailspinning: What am I going to do? I looked to Shaun. My best friend. My new love. My mirror. My parents had just bought a second rental house in Nashville.
"You," he said; my forever prophet, "You will manage the rentals. And you'll do what you have to, and what you WANT to. You'll make music. You'll drive for Uber if you have to. You'll teach voice lessons. You'll....WE'LL...figure it out."
Shaun was, at the time, working part time at a violin store and searching for the "next big gig" while cleaning the one rental house I managed in between stays for extra cash.
"THAT is what I want," I said. I was terrified. Even more terrifying than deciding that- saying it out loud- was telling my parents. But they didn't miss a beat. They just believed in me.
I would put up a website that month, and in the next 2 months, gain 2 clients besides my parents.
The rest of 2014 would be hard. Full of transition and sacrifice and a TON of mistakes. I would make hardly any money and have no stability. Shaun would keep believing in us, when I didn't, and vice versa. We would keep going.
2015 would get better. Not easier AT ALL, but not as dismal or desperate...probably primarily because we both believed so much in our love and our abilities that we never let each other give up, even when we both wanted to go to the dark side (and we did).
And now, it's December 2016. You guys, I'm more stressed than I've ever been (though I don't know if that's a totally negative thing). I've been really bad about taking care of myself, so that's phase 1 of 2017 goals. But...We're officially finishing 2016 as a million dollar company. $1,010,250.52 to be exact (in GROSS revenue...not net-- I wish!).
If you had told that scared 29 year old that at 31, THIS would be possible, I don't know if I would have believed you. I want to say I would have, because I've always dreamt too big for my own good. But I don't know. What I do know is Shaun would have believed you.
Tonight, as I sat in awe of these realizations, he told me how proud he was of me- what I'VE made happen. He's never seen his value (immense, immeasurable) in this business, or in any endeavor we've pursued, honestly. What he doesn't see, apparently, is that without him, I didn't have- and wouldn't have had- the strength, the courage, the roots and wings to leap.
I wanted to share these things not because I think everyone can pursue a $1 million dream idea overnight (I sure didn't), but because I know this amazing business we've built is just a manifestation of being loved well. I didn't find a business that fit just right. I found a partner who did. And if everything fell apart tomorrow- everything but our family- we could...No. We WOULD do it all again with something else. We would put in more sleepless nights. Make more scary decisions or come up with unproven ideas. I would build something with the bricks and nails and planks Shaun doesn't even realize he's handing me, but he is.
2 years ago, I was a single mother- a girl- begging a man in a suit for an extra $5,000 a year. Tonight, I am an entrepreneur and owner of a million dollar company. But MORE importantly- most importantly- I am the partner of a man who believes in me, and the mother of a son I would and have sacrificed any and everything for. And I don't know that there's anything more powerful than a woman who is well loved for who she is passionate about being.