Grace Draper



What It's Like to Start a Business in Your 20's Part 2: The Leap

As promised, today I am talking about the leap into starting my own business. Believe it or not, after a year of planning my business and feeling like I had a solid idea, it was still pretty scary to take the leap and do it!

My original plan was to wait until I turned 30 to start my own business. Why 30? It felt like an older and more established number, and I want my business to be taken seriously. But, as we all know, things don't go according to plan and I am now a business owner at 26 (but if you ask me in person I will probably round up to 27).

I had three defining moments that led me to this point:

1. I wasn't happy

This is the most common "sign" I hear from most small business owners. I used to be so excited to go to work, finding excuses to stay a little late and sometimes coming in a little early just to be there and enjoy the quiet before everyone arrived. I would sit on our front porch chatting with residents during my lunch break. It was easy to remember why I wanted to work there! Days that could have been stressful somehow weren't. But as all jobs do, mine changed and evolved over the two years I was there. This past winter I realized I was dreading not only Monday, but Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday... etc. I'm too young to be that stressed and feel like I am losing myself to my job already! I got the final push and decided it was time to put in my resignation and take a month off to re-evaluate.

2. Aging with Grace kept resurfacing

When I decided to take a month off I had no plans to start my own business. I wanted to take at least a week to relax and re-center myself. I told my boyfriend that he could bug me to job-hunt starting on a certain date but until then I was going truly enjoy doing nothing. I worked throughout college -- including summers -- and hadn't enjoyed a long vacation since 2010. I wanted to take it *guilt-free* before I missed the opportunity. "Quitting" your job without a plan is frowned upon these days so I definitely raised a few eyebrows when I announced my decision to my family. Thankfully my parents were supportive and trusted that I knew what I was doing.

A week into it I opened up the job search sites and browsed what was available. The more I read about other opportunities, the more knew that I wasn't ready to stop working with seniors. I thought back to Aging with Grace again but once more I put it aside for later. That same day someone commented on the double meaning of my name and I told them my potential business name. They loved it! A few days later I was meeting with some ladies I volunteer with on the Alzheimer's Committee. We were discussing my plans moving forward and my idea for Aging with Grace came up again. Their enthusiasm about it told me I was on to something. At this point, any conversation surrounding my next move seemed to circle back to Aging with Grace. I couldn't avoid it!

3. I threw myself over the ledge (well, one of them)

I decided I might as well research the process of starting an LLC and insurances, etc. It wouldn't hurt to see what planning was required from me in the next three years (still thinking 30!) and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the formalities were fairly simple. I decided I might as well claim my LLC "just in case". Then I thought I might as well brainstorm some pricing and services... and branding colors... and target audiences... marketing strategies... and all of a sudden on that night of 5/18/17 I had bought my LLC, registered for a tax ID number and was elbow deep in the first two-thirds of my business plan. 

While my business was officially created as of May 18, I waited until June to tell anyone what I was doing. Want to know why? I'll be talking about that tomorrow!