Successful Businesses Start with a Defining Moment – What’s Yours?

Posted by on May 24 2014

Did you ever look back and realize you had a major turning point, a single moment in time when your life changed completely?

I had three defining moments as a small business owner

Here’s a photo that a college roommate took of me in the early 1980s. I got to watch her set up the lights, and print the photo for her photography class assignment. From that day forward, I fell in love with photography. That was my defining moment #1.

The month after I graduated college, I opened my photography studio and ran it for 12 years…my first successful small business!

Moment #2

I remember the second single defining moment: December 24, 1998. I had gotten married a few years earlier and sold my wedding photography business so that I could spend my weekends with my new husband, not watching other people get married.

After selling my photography studio, I started a successful website in 1996. But after running it for three years, I yearned to go in another direction and have more impact in people’s lives.

But I didn’t know what that direction was!

Like many before me, I sat around and waited for a billboard to fall out of the sky, telling me what to do next. After two years of waiting, I still hadn’t seen that billboard appear. (Surprise!) I was frustrated and didn’t know what to do next.

On Christmas Eve 1998, I was home wrapping presents and watching Oprah. Gary Zukav was the guest and he was talking about finding your authentic power and following your soul’s path. Oprah, being very practical, asked, “How do you know what your soul’s path is?” (My question exactly!)

Then Gary Zukav said two words that changed my life: “Try Something.”

His premise, which works like a charm, was that just sitting around thinking about what you should be doing wasn’t going to get you any answers. Instead, you had to get out into the world and try something…and then watch whether doors opened or not. If doors opened, keep walking in that same direction. Simple!

And it worked. I sold my website to a colleague, and moved my direction to more coaching, consulting and teaching small business owners.

Moment #3

March 16, 2001. I had been working as the International Director of Education for a software company (and running my own business part-time on evenings and weekend). Lots of changes were happening in the software company, and most were not good changes. When I started with this company in 1996, I was employee #21, and we were fueled by coffee and entrepreneurial spirit.

Five years later, we had blossomed to 250 employees and we trudged along like a typical corporate dinosaur. We had lost our entrepreneurial mojo and I hated working there.

I clearly remember that Friday afternoon. I left work and was sitting in the parking lot, trying to calm and center myself before driving the long commute home. The job I had once loved, I now detested. I was so much happier doing my small business consulting work and wanted to do it full time.

I remember calling my husband on my cell phone, and asking the big question, “Do you mind if I quit my job on Monday?”

Of course, the answer was “Do it!” and I’ve been happy ever since. The best news was that six years later, my husband quit his job and we’ve been business partners in Passion For Business ever since!

Your single defining moment

What about you? Was there a single moment you can remember that changed your business trajectory forever?


2 comments for now

2 Responses to “Successful Businesses Start with a Defining Moment – What’s Yours?”

  1. What a great story (and beautiful photo)! I’m impressed that you had so much inner drive and knowledge to build your own business right out of college! It’s interesting how things evolved for you. Your posts are always insightful.

    13 Aug 2014 at 7:51 pm

  2. Karyn Greenstreet

    I was always independent and freedom-seeking, Eloise. 🙂

    13 Aug 2014 at 10:14 pm

Category: Business Strategy & Planning