My Husband Gave Me $15,000 to Start a Business and I Failed
byKim MowerJul 22, 2016
Photograph by Getty Images
Entrepreneurship is a dream for many women.
Earning money by being your own boss explains why our Facebook feeds overflow
with products sold by
women trying to catch a piece of this world for themselves. Owning your own business is a source of pride
fueled by fresh ideas, determination, and surprisingly more work than if you
were working for someone else.
I, too, had the entrepreneurial flame burn inside of me years
Engaged to be married I was high on love and all the parties that celebrate
it. Pre-Pinterest, if you
wanted to be inspired for a party you had to search individual websites. A
decade ago there were around 20 blogs dedicated to party planning. I had one
of those blogs, Head of the Table. Writing a blog about party planning was fun
but not a moneymaker. I dreamed of quitting my day-job and Head of the Table
becoming my full-time career.
Not wanting to compete with established party planners in my
city, I decided to create a business model for something that didn’t exist in
the area—boutique party rental. A company created for hostesses to rent
unique and colorful plates, stemware and utensils to fit their party’s theme.
Think bamboo forks for a luau dinner party and pink polka dot plates for a
My finance husband and business-minded father supported me
as I wrote a business plan, obtained an LLC, created an intricate website and
filled a 2-inch thick binder full of paperwork. Legitimate businesses don’t
open up over night. It took me over a year to set my dream in motion. Hanging over
me was how I was going to pay for it.
When I married a man who would support my dreams, I made the
best decision of my life. When I asked him to finance my company, it was the
worst request I could have asked of him. He saw how hard I had been working and
felt my passion to open a business. He gave me $15,000 of his savings to
I filed to close my
business and began liquidating my inventory.
I didn’t quit my day-job when Head of the Table Rentals
opened for business. I was still bringing in a steady paycheck, but it also
meant that I was dedicating my time and energy elsewhere. Business ownership
needs as much, if not more, attention as a full-time job. Every moment of my
free time needed to be dedicated to promoting, nourishing and running the
And then I got pregnant.
Nothing brings free time to a screeching halt quite like
having a baby. I became a stay-at-home mom, as our family adjusted to living on
a single paycheck. The business hadn’t taken off like I envisioned, and now I couldn’t
use our limited income on things like advertising, which was essential to growing and
thriving in that industry.
My infant son began accompanying me on the few rental
deliveries that were booked, his little pumpkin seat saddled between racks of
stemware and salad plates. Life shifted focus from a passion for parties to the
commitment of childrearing. My company didn’t just take a back seat to my new
full-time job as a mom, it got stuffed in the trunk.
When I got pregnant with our second child, I could no longer devote
even the little time I was attempting to give the business. I filed to close my
business and began liquidating my inventory. I made back about $5,000 of the
$15,000 we had invested. $10,000 was gone along with my pride.
Guilt piled on
my failure. Disappointment piled on humility.
Personally, using our own money was a
I've obsessed about what happened and hope you'll learn from me. If you decide to go for it and launch a business, just do yourself a favor and keep in mind what I wish I had done differently:
1. Started slowly
While I wanted to carve out a niche in my
market, I should have done so slowly. Establishing myself, not just my blog, in
my area could have gone a long way in making the connections needed to start up
a business. Instead, I was trying to establish my business in the market and
myself in the industry.
2. Researched interest
I wanted to use my service and thought
everyone else would too. What I failed to do was ask anyone besides my family
and friends. Other industry professionals should have been leveraged as
3. Reworked the business plan
Business plans are essential to owning any
business. If you’re selling something right now, even if it’s through direct
sales, take the time to write a business plan. My mistake was not going
back to my business plan and revising it once my life changed and my initial
goals weren’t achieved.
Personally, using our own money was a
mistake. I should have spent more time looking for alternative forms of funding.
However, self-funding is a viable option and a consideration by many entrepreneurs.
I am in awe of women who run
their own businesses, big or small, defying the odds. If you own a business
or you’re considering opening a business, I applaud you. This world is better
because of people
like you. One day I may be one of those entrepreneurs again. Starting a new
business with fresh ideas and determination.
Kim Mower is a stay-at-home mom of three young children. She
writes to avoid cleaning. Sometimes she tweets @a_housewife but most of her
day is spent caring for her children who demand things like food and attention.