“I never wanted to be a factory owner”

The title of this post is a quote from Annie Mohaupt, who owns Mohop! shoes. Po Campo shares a space with them in West Town. I recently overheard her say this to someone on the phone in an interview. She may sound regretful about having to transition from a DIY craftswoman to a true manufacturer, but I don’t think she is. She wants her business to grow and succeed, she wants it more than anyone else on this planet, so she is going to become a factory owner to make it happen.

When she said that, I got this familiar feeling I get when I think about my business sometimes. It is a blend of utter terror and thrill. Like maybe something you would feel if you were boarding a super fun roller coaster that people die on sometimes.

Usually I feel it when I sense something really good or really bad is about to happen. This time, I think I felt it because I have no idea of what my future holds. What will I have to become to have my business succeed?

One time in high school, at an overnight church lock-in, my friends and I went into the basement and stood in the middle of a long and wide corridor. We turned off all the lights and tried to see how far we could run at full speed before the fear of running smack into a wall would be too powerful to keep going. You wouldn’t believe how completely scream inducing and terrifying (and fun!) this was.

That’s kind of what I feel like starting a business is like and I don’t think it’s just my inexperience that makes me feel that way. (Read Wilson Harrell’s famous article on entrepreneurial terror here). I’m still running and hoping that my senses keep me from hitting a wall. If I manage to a get to a point where I haven’t killed myself and can turn on the lights, where will I be standing? And will I like where I am?

RUN!!!

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