When I as in Jr High, I started buying bikes at garage sales.
I had a paper route, so I had a little money, but not too much. So most of the bikes I bought were non-functional.
I started cannibalizing parts from one bike to make another bike work. I could generally make one “franken-bike” from two or three garage sale bikes and sell it for a modest profit.
But what I loved was finding a way to make something work out of different parts. How could I MacGyver together stuff that wasn’t supposed to work?
Can you do that professionally?
That’s how I ended up going to school to learn engineering — the process of taking a bunch of stuff and making something useful!
After eight or ten years as an engineer, I realized that it was fun to mess with “things,” but solving problems with people was a lot more interesting! If you got people to work together toward a common goal, so much could be achieved! So I went over to the dark side and started to learn about “management.”
That led me to join on a team evaluating acquisitions for a family business, which led me to run a couple of those businesses that we bought, which led me to work with business owners who wanted to sell, which led me to the business I’m in now.
What kind of path is that?
Each of these “directions” in my life taught me different things; I’m grateful for all of them. Each had something that I was good at, and even more things that I learned that I didn’t want to do anymore. It wasn’t a direct path; it had lots of blind alleys and wrong turns.
I’ll bet if you look back on your journey to where you are now, you’d see a similar path.
As you are re-inventing your business — making changes to meet your customer’s shifting needs and respond to the demands of a challenging marketplace — just know that you don’t have to get it right the first time. You can try some things. Experiment. Play with different options.
The one thing you can’t do is stand still.