Exactly four years ago, I posted some entrepreneurial advice to the blog…which is actually hilarious because our store hadn’t even actually opened yet, so what the heck did I know?  Here are those original thoughts, with my four-year-later edits.

1) Commercial landlords enjoy “as-is” leases…meaning you get to make the space up to code and super nice at your cost even though you will never own the space.  (Edited to add:  as-is leases are dumb and only serve the interests of the landlord, which is probably why the landlord is a billionaire and I’m not.  Also, an as-is lease is a solid clue that you’ll pay your share of tax, insurance, and snow removal shortfalls each year.  Even if it doesn’t snow.)

2) People will be weird all along your entrepreneurial journey.  Some will be haters because they are risk adverse or because the journey changes you or because they don’t like to see someone succeed.  Some won’t want you to succeed simply because they wish it were them.  And some will literally hold you up mentally during the process and tell you it will be ok, even by text while you are huffing into a brown paper bag and crying.  Figure out who belongs where and only listen to Category Three.  Eventually take Category Three to Hawaii for vacation as a thank you for believing in you.  (Edited to add:  so, so, so true.  That said, I still haven’t taken anyone to Hawaii…but it’s totally on my to-do list.)

3) Everything will cost 87% more than you expect and nothing is free.  I think that if you even call the City of Columbia Business License Office, you are assessed a 1/100th of a cent per thousand of your 2016 projected gross sales as a fee.  And you need to file that in triplicate and pay by cashier’s check.  In person.  With valid identification.  On the second Tuesday of the month.  Between 1 and 4:15 pm.  (Yep.  Except taxes are even higher now.  I also take issue with the projecting gross sales because the indignant part of me wants to estimate super low so our fee is less but then the part of me that overthinks wonders if doing so isn’t really a jinx to our full potential.  And then does the city somehow actually know what your gross receipts end up being, so does it even matter?  These are the things I overthink in the middle of the night.)

4) Once your doors finally open, you phone will ring incessantly and almost all those callers will ask to speak to “an owner or manager.”  Unless you want to discuss OSHA posters, security systems, or credit card processing fees, you say you are neither.  When they ask if an owner will be in later, just say the owner works remotely from a private island and has a phone phobia.  (Edited to add:  eventually I will get smart enough to train my staff to ask who is calling before they come get me and even then, I will eventually train them all to just say that I’m not available at the moment if they don’t recognize the caller’s name.  I consider this a milestone of my leadership journey.)

5) You will experience love in your life, but none will be as unique as the love you have for the Ecolab commercial dishwasher.  You will love it so much that you will wash a single spatula at a time because you can.  You will love it so much that the cheesy lab coats worn by Ecolab employees will annoy you, but not deter you.  Everyone has their schtick, right?  (Edited to add:  actually, six months after I wrote this, we had a very public and very messy break up with Ecolab.  Consider us Khloe Kardashian and Ecolab as Tristan Thompson.  Gulp.)

6) The federal government, state government, and local government will mail you a landfill worth of paper every month.  If each could invest in some “you probably want to read this” stickers for the important stuff, we could probably all be more productive.  (Edited to add:  yesterday we got a notice in the mail from the IRS and I almost dry heaved opening it because I have a very real, though very unjustified, fear of the IRS.  And it was just a notice that the mailing address for our S-Corp had been updated.  Is that the sort of thing we need to waste taxpayer’s money on to mail?)

7) No matter how many times you think you have everything you need to make your space functional, you need something else.  It won’t occur to you to stock plastic forks, but when several people ask for them, you will obsess about how you never obsessed about getting forks before opening day.  (Edited to add:  plastic forks?  Bwhahahahahahahahahahahahhahahaha.  JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG.  I love how innocent I was to believe that eventually we would be finished making our space functional.  Goodness, WE ARE STILL WORKING ON IT.)

8) If you have to share your space with someone else all day, there will come a time when one of you wants to listen to Snow Patrol and the other wants to listen to Roger Whittaker.  Rest easy that Spotify only carries five Roger Whittaker tunes, though you may listen to those five on repeat.  (Edited to add:  this won’t change, you’ll just eventually get employees and thus, more musical opinions.  What doesn’t change?  Our janky computer we use to stream Spotify.  2005 called and would like it’s computer back.)

9) You will never feel like you are doing enough to make your vision play out in reality.  And the responsibility of it all will weigh on you like a bunch of damp towels out of the dryer.  (Edited to add:  never have truer words been spoken.  I don’t even know how I knew that five days before we opened.  Also, damp towels are the worst.)

10) On occasion, you feel like you are completely on the right path and someone will give you the quick reassurance that they believe in you and that what you do makes them happy.  And that will make it all worth it.  (Edited to add:  now this is the truest statement ever, really.  I wouldn’t know it then, but the truth of this will be what sustains us for most of the first two years of PJP.  Bravo, self, for knowing this early in the game.)