Lessons in Gratitude: The Truth Behind Starting a Small Business

Ever since I graduated with my Master’s in School Counseling-my life has been a roller coaster. Well..it’s always been a roller coaster if I’m honest. But it keeps it interesting.

First of all…graduating in December is the WORST time to find a “school” position-which was about the only thing I was qualified for. So it’s a tad stressful when I already took a risk and quit my previous job in order to earn this degree to hopefully get another job…

A few job positions were open, I applied…and did not get the job. I actually applied for 4 positions, did not get a single one. Que heightened stress levels.

So…I started substitute teaching in the meantime. Hated that. Substitute teaching is an absolute joy sucker. Ask anyone. More stress.

So…I started sewing vigorously and tried to really build up my Etsy Shop.

That worked somewhat, but it was not going to make ends meet if I never got another job…I needed other sources of income…because even when I mustered up the energy to take random substitute jobs, it was not exactly like a tapping into a pool of money-plus subbing would quickly end when summer hit.

That’s when my mom and I took a little trip to North Carolina to visit my cousin who…successfully started her own cabinet painting business. I’ve always loved re-purposing furniture, painting, and the whole “fixer-upper” thing. That’s honestly what has kept my energy up and what I do with my partner in crime (the boyfriend) on just about every weekend.

So, the boyfriend prompted me to go and learn this trade from my cousin with very distant hopes of making it a “thing” of our own…especially if I wasn’t able to find a School Counseling position.

Then, 2 weeks of absolute madness…amazing madness happened. Learning all the ins and outs of this extremely demanding business from probably the greatest teacher out there was incredible. A strong woman who built up her entire business from scratch-she learned all her lessons the hard way, but was gracious enough to pass all these lessons on to me. Together with my mom, we assisted with two kitchens and after that I was addicted. I wanted to do this!

Following this intensive training, along with the amazing support from some fantastic management at Sherwin Williams, the thumbs up from my parents, and the side-kick with all the power tools (aka the boyfriend) we were a “go” for trying out this cabinet painting thing.

Of course-right as this is all in the works, I get called in for an interview for my absolute dream job, and also got asked to be a long-term substitute for a really great position. (Long-term substituting is WAY better than random/day-to-day substituting by the way).

So… opportunities really started to flood in. I guess when you start to just “go for it” God rewards you with many options.

In the midst of all this craziness…I started to question this side cabinet painting business. After all, I was initially just doing it as a back up since the School Counseling job openings were far and few between.

But alas, my dream job was waiting for an interview so I prepped my heart out. And….I got the position!

Woohoo…Middle School Counselor here I come!

My dream job was here, all that hard work in grad school paid off and the risks of quitting my job to complete that degree were now starting to feel worth it.

That was…until I got my salary contract. School positions do not pay…wow, was that contract a reality check. Especially when I had really high hopes of moving out of my parents basement at age 25, even with it being my dream job, I was wondering if I could make it.

It wasn’t until I was sitting in the dark in my closet crying…no, sobbing as I was doing the math that this salary would not allow me to be independent any time soon. My dreams of being able to actually support myself and my daughter, even after all this work were quickly slipping away. That very humbling feeling of realizing that I still can’t do it on my own was overcoming me. Yes, I will be that person that is living in my parents basement at age 25 with an almost pre-schooler. Can I get the “coolest person” award yet? So…in the midst of my little pity party…I decided I was going to remember my goal of the year: gratitude. There are a million things I need to be thankful for right about now.  Thankful for my dream job. Thankful for the recent training I received to give myself other avenues of income so I can hopefully continue to have my dream job in the future. Thankful that I had the support to even get to this point where I have the luxury of having jobs that I enjoy.  Thankful for so many opportunities to make my life “work” in spite of the obstacles to beating the very depressing odds of being a single mom. I am very fortunate. And I’m willing to admit that if I was not so fortunate to have the family that I have…there is no way in hell I would be even discussing these events and decisions in my life, because they would have never happened.

So…I decided to go all-in with this side business. Yes I have my dream job awaiting, but yes it is not enough for my long-term goals, so yes, I need another job.

I can do the cabinet painting in the summers when school is out, and maybe the boyfriend and I can build it up into a legit “thing” that he can run full-time instead of his fencing gig. Then maybe, just maybe…I can continue to thrive, beat the odds, and support myself, my daughter, and give a little back to my family who got me to this point.

That’s the dream.

Ever since I had my daughter, money has become this all-consuming concept. Before her, I was too privileged to worry about it. But then, it became a reality that I might not be able to make it. I stress about it constantly. I remain humbled when I get the support I need when I almost can’t get by. I’m humbled again when my parents continue to give me support because I quite literally can’t be independent from them, even with a Master’s degree and a job as ridiculous as that is. Living on your own with a child is just so overwhelmingly expensive. But, maybe as I continue to take risks…risks with a solid base of support, I can reach more dreams. I’m grateful that I have the safety and support to keep dreaming. And I’m thankful for where I’m at right now.

Thankful to have a job. Thankful to have a family who lets me live with them even as society says I should definitely leave them alone by now. Thankful for the opportunity to start a business. Thankful for the my dreams that keep me going. Thankful for a daughter who continually inspires me. Thankful for a boyfriend who joins me in my crazy ventures and takes full partnership and ownership in everything. Thankful that I’m slowly getting to a point where money does not have to be a driving force in my life…still a reality, but not an all consuming force. Thankful for the opportunity to work hard so I can thrive.

That’s the truth how this business came about.

This business came about from a team of people. My boyfriend, my daughter, my family, my cousin who trained me, the awesome management that supported her, and all of you that continue to support me.

I’m truly grateful.

You can read more about the business and the Team that is behind it over at the About Us Section at reacreatenoco.com

Thanks for following!


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One thought on “Lessons in Gratitude: The Truth Behind Starting a Small Business

  1. Congrats on your small business! Unfortunately, financial stability doesn’t come right away. It’s tough these days. You’re doing what you need to do. Keep on moving forward toward the goal for yourself and that sweet little girl of yours!

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