Member Story: Starting Up, Imperfectly

I started my own business on August 28, 2012. After years of inchoate entrepreneurial dreams (and boss-strangling fantasies, and crying-in-the-ladies-room frustrations), I’m so proud to have launched something personally relevant, engaging, and fun. And it took two days to set it up.

As I reflect on my first few weeks of business, I’m struck by how little time it took for me to pull the trigger on starting my own company, something I had wanted for so long. The idea of starting my own business was always appealing… but also overwhelming, uncertain, and tiring. I had been hamstringed by the beast of perfectionism; anything less than bajillion-dollar IPO within the first year would have been a disappointment. I read about stories that made it even worse: I guy I knew in college started media darling Warby Parker, another friend was rising through the ranks at Google, another friend who started her own small business using her enormous Cisco severance package. I wanted what they all had! And I wanted to be able to launch a perfect, fully-formed, well-financed operation from Day 1. My envy was fueled by self-doubt and defeatism. What changed that allowed me to overcome this?

I credit the spirit of Hub LA for providing me with two things. First, the vision—literally, the sight of 4000 square feet of blank canvas and possibility—and second, permission to play. Our members are wonderful people and, in talking to many of them, I discovered that they have embraced their professional imperfections, frustrations, and mistakes. They turn them into the motivation that fuels their adaptability, their flexibility, and ultimately their successes. I could look to our members and see their diversity of background, education, industry, and impact, and most of all, their commonality: they weren’t perfect at this, but they were doing it. And having fun. I didn’t need the perfect start-up, I just need to start. It was easy: I bought my domain name, I filed for a DBA, I designed a (admittedly pretty babyish) website, I announced my entrepreneurial intention, and I started working. Within two days, I had set up a functional enterprise. Starting should be easy. Growing, working, building-that’s the hard part.

Credit is also due to Hub LA Founders Elizabeth and Nick, who were encouraging without being proselytizing, and Managing Director Ann, who bent over backward to get me the resources and introductions I didn’t even know existed. Our 75 Founding Members are doing fascinating things across all industries, and their presence is simultaneously inspiring and motivating. Even better is the enormous comfort of an instant family of like-minded professionals who know exactly what I’m going through. Their love for their individual missions is infectious and playful. It’s expansive and fluid. I want that, too. My life has been turned upside-down, and it finally feels like I’m standing on my feet.

Katy is the Online Curator for The Hub LA and owner of newly-launched BusyBodyBuzz.

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September 17th, 2012

Posted by Katy
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Profiles, The Hub LA