Starting a business is an intense, stressful, awesome, grueling, and exciting experience. Not being a mother myself, the only thing I can think to compare it to is raising a child, and I’m sure that is still a thousand times more intense.
However, as much as my imagination can stretch it, here are the ways this has been like having and raising a baby.
I had an idea. I knew what I wanted to do. however, I didn’t know the exact details behind it, so I had to find those who did to help me. In that sense, the Small Business Development Center here in Columbia became the OB/GYN. They told how to best grow my idea into an operational business, what steps to take to bring it into existence, and how to care for it after that. This process was full of a thousand drafts, trashed ideas, details planning, and lots of phone calls.
This was actually the easy part. In South Carolina, there’s an easy One Stop webpage for you to register your business. I clicked about 10 pages of questions, paid my money, and we were official.
Here is where it gets fun, and the real point of my post. A business requires customers. Reaching out to those customers can sometimes feel impossible. There are roadblocks, privacy concerns, and the general seedy feeling of being a sales person. However, I practice Music Therapy out of a love for those I serve and a passionate belief that music can help them reach their goals. I certainly hope that comes through in my e-mails and advertising.
I’ve been really blessed here. I’ve been persistent and diligent, yes, but when a marketing resource comes through for me, they come through in full force. I’ve been working with Delilah Bonnert, Director of Intake and Referrals at the South Carolina Autism Society, and she was wonderful enough to send out an e-mail to everyone she has on her list informing them of the availability of my services. Since this e-mail has gone out, I’ve received several phone calls, booked some assessments, and been truly humbled.
Every person who I meet through Music Therapy is a wonderful memory and I am truly grateful that I get the opportunity to work with them. However, some things are just truly humbling. A father, who is currently deployed in Iraq, e-mailed me with his leave date asking if I could meet with him to discuss Music Therapy for his son. There is something about this that I can’t express. It was so humbling, it felt almost like a kick in the gut. That a man in the middle of a war would sit down to write me an e-mail about treatment for his son just really speaks of a father’s love and care. I’m really the bystander in this situation, but am just awed.
I feel like this period of parent contact, even though my doors haven’t officially opened at this point, is like my child’s first smile.
What’s really amazing about my job is that this feeling of awe is something I encounter on a fairly regular basis. You see a client do things they never had before, and know that in some respect, you had a hand in facilitating it. If this is how a parent feels, I can’t wait!