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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The HarpersLove Life

The Harperslove Life

Entrepreneurship. Sounds cool and feels like a word implying some form of success. The fact is when you define your career as an entrepreneur, it suggests that you have created and lead a successful business at least once in your life. At least this is how I view it. However, I am not so sure I can use it to describe what I am currently doing.

In fact, I am pretty sure I do not have a word for what I am doing other than a phrase that goes something like this ... “aspirational entrepreneur”. Not so sure that is appropriate for my LinkedIn description but it feels like the best way to describe what I am doing.

What am I doing? Quick snapshot of HarpersLove. Starts something like this. Almost six years ago my corporate career came to a screeching halt for the first time in my adult life. At that time, I had a 4-month-old and 3-year-old child so I made a decision to take a break from the corporate world and do the stay at home mom thing. A conversation shortly followed about a what-if scenario leading to “I am doing this” and bam, a new company was formed. If only things were so easy.

Launching a company is a pure operational play and I know how to do that. Corporate experience taught me many project management skills and execution strategies so that was easy. After the beta version of everything is built, the marketing part kicks in and this is the tough part for any startup. Marketing was never on my resume and e-commerce was still very new to me. I spent the following couple of years trying many approaches with no funding to back me up. I made some money but mostly because I was able to sell to my network. Going beyond my network is where I hit a wall. No money to invest in good marketing programs and no experience in doing marketing lead to a major failure. 

At the 3-year mark of the website launching, we moved to Naples, Florida which is completely different from where we lived outside of NYC in West Orange, NJ. I made another life decision to invest in our new environment and take some time away from HarpersLove. I dove into school volunteering, teaching Zumba classes and our family life. It felt good not to have the emotional failure feeling every day which for me, was what comes with trying to make my start up successful.

Launching the first startup probably feels like falling in love for the first time. Not easy to let go or break-up. Like a stubborn mule, I could not let go and continued to day dream about the possibilities and fantasize about my future interview with Oprah where we discussed the pitfalls of starting a business and how to rise above. The two years away from HarpersLove taught me something. I am not done. Call me crazy. 

Am I a crazy person for wanting to keep doing this? I have learned so much since starting this five years ago but I have much more to learn. My dream is still the same but my commitment is far greater. My children are in school and older and my home is established. I have a far richer life filled with areas of passion now than I did when I launched HarpersLove, like teaching Zumba and volunteering in our community. There is just one more thing I need to figure out. HarpersLove.

Now what? This week I officially re-launch HarpersLove 2.0, already two weeks behind due to Hurricane Irma but I am here, with kids in tow and devoted to HarpersLove, once again. This version of HarpersLove 2.0 is re-launching at The Naples Accelerator, a working environment with other start-ups and our local government business support community. Just having an office space to go to makes this re-launch feel more valid.

The HarpersLove story will continue, after all.

I welcome connecting with others in the same boat, others who were in this boat and anyone else interested in HarpersLove. We need your help in getting our name out there but more importantly, we welcome your support. 


Instagram: @harperslovelife

LinkedIn: michellemullman

email: michelle@harperslove.com

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