The Early Years of Entrepreneurship

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It was one of the happiest days of our life. Jesse called me from the car to say he was on his way home from his day job for the last time.

Part-time jobs. Full-time jobs. Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. Security? Hmm, that’s debatable.

Three years prior, in early 2009, we blindly started a photography business. We had passion. We had some talent. A lot more passion. And we had other jobs. Part-time jobs. Full-time jobs. Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. Security? Hmm, that’s debatable. But we had consistent paychecks for a while. At the end of 2010, we decided that I’d go full time Limelife Photography and Jesse would keep his full-time job so we’d have good insurance and security. We would shoot together, but I was to manage the business and clients we had and attempt to get a lot more. This was a step in the right direction. There was a little bit of relief and a ridiculous amount of hard work to come for both of us. We sacrificed in different ways to grow our business and simultaneously keep our marriage on the right track. The early years of entrepreneurship were rough.

Jesse would come home from a 15-hour day and I’d greet him with an attempt at dinner and a day’s worth of “This is what happened at Limelife…” I had to tell him everything! He was my business partner. My hubby. I needed to bounce ideas off my other creative half. I needed his opinion. I needed his okay on decisions & projects. And he needed me to shut up. He had just spent 12 hours in an ER cleaning up all sorts of nastiness, CPR-ing for long stretches and assisting in stabilizing organs and other important body parts. And he was going back again tomorrow. He was in need of downtime and Limelife was in need of momentum.

And we hung on tight to that “security.” To the “stability.” We clung to that job just in case.

We did this for almost two more years. Eventually, Jesse’s job went from full time to part time. And we hung on tight to that “security.” To the “stability.” We clung to that job just in case. Every couple weeks we’d have a hard conversation about how to make it work better. How to maximize our working time together and our days off. We read business books, dreamed of the future and talked about someday when we could afford to make it all happen.

After a lot of prayer and hashing out worst case scenarios, we came to this conclusion: We’ll never know if we don’t try it. And if we don’t try it now, who’s to say we ever will?

My heart was pumping super fast. He’d be home in 30 minutes. I scrambled around the office, the living room, the bedroom, the bathroom hunting for the book and quote I knew existed somewhere in our 1,000 square-foot world. I flipped pages and pages and pages. And then I found it. I took a bright orange Sharpe from my pretty collection and wrote it neatly, excitedly. And then, next to all sorts of congratulations signs I made for him, I clipped this one up on an Ikea gallery wire. Right next to his desk. His new full-time workspace.

We jumped. We got unstuck. We decided to act on our dream. Act on our LIFE. We left luke warm and went for bold. Went for guts. Went for risk and ruckus. And now, we’re alive and kicking and running with momentum. Sometimes it’s scary. But it’s the life for us. It’s hard work and it’s freedom. It’s creativity. It’s big ideas. It’s being together. It’s running wild. It’s adventure. It’s not for everyone. But it IS for a lot more people that know it yet. And we’re determined to spread the word. Share our experiences and realities and ridiculous moments to give those peeps a kick in the pants and lots of love along the way.

When Jesse walked in the door that day, there was no need for me to try to fill him in on what I’d been up to with the business. Instead, we stood in the office and hugged and cried and smiled and thanked God for that moment. For everything He’d done up till that point and everything that was about to happen. And then he sat at his desk and read a piece of crinkled printer paper. Thank you, Woodrow Wilson, “You are not here merely to make a living. You are here to enable the world to live more amply, with great vision, and with finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world.”


Comments 6

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  3. Wow. This is the most inspiring story I’ve ever read. The simplicity of it being your life is beautiful. Ahhhh.

    I’m looking to make a jump myself. I’m in that awkward “I need security but really eager to jump” stage. I’ve definitely been letting fear hold me back. Thanks for a little nudge toward the edge. It couldn’t have come at a better time.

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    Ashlee! Thank you so much for such an incredible compliment. We totally know what you’re going through. Keep going in the right direction! Kick fear in the face and FOCUS on what’s ahead. You can do it!! Keep us posted.

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