It just happened this past weekend. It wasn't the day I decided to leave my job. It wasn't the day I decided to file the forms to start an LLC. It wasn't the day I launched my website to advertise my first product, NJ UX Web Design Bootcamp. It wasn't even the day I got my first registration and made my first sale. No, it was the day I ran my first training, met my customers face-to-face, and delivered my product. Everything was theory and concept up to that point.
In what I assume is typical startup fashion, I somehow left it to the last day to finalize and prepare for the training. I was so busy marketing, networking, watching my daughter, and maintaining a balanced life (i.e. not marketing, not networking), that the day sort of snuck up on me. Of course, I had done a lot of prior work to get to this point. I just needed to tie all the pieces together, put on the finishing touches, and all that. A surge of panic washed over me that morning, but really I just needed a few solid hours to get things in order. I put together the hand-out packet, went to the store to pick up water, soda, and snacks, and prepped all my technology. In the midst of all this, I had started feeling lousy - allergies, or possibly a newly developing cold. Not my favorite way to start my business! But somehow I imagine this is a more common scenario than not.
I even slept fairly well the night before. I must finally be learning from all the struggles I've faced with stress in the past. I was up before 6am, planning to arrive at the site at 8am with training starting at 9. It was a small crowd - just 3 registered. In some ways, less intimidating than a full crowd (which for me would have been 8). In other ways, a bit more challenging. You are gonna be up close and personal with just 3 people in the room for 8 hours - no room to hide or turn off.
The first person arrived. Then the next two - a father and son. I couldn't have asked for a nicer bunch. We got settled and coffee-d and began. My allergies or cold were draining my energy from the beginning. I had intended to break up the day with some activities, but I ended up talking through them and doing them live rather than turning it over to the students to do on their own. By lunch time, my voice was on its last legs. I already can't talk for hours at a time, and rarely talk at length anyway. And then I got lunch with my students since it was such a small group. Kept talking! Oy. And I am a terribly slow eater, so barely ate half of my lunch.
We got back from lunch and launched into the remainder of the 1-day curriculum. Their interest and energy was waning, so we switched to more of a student-driven model where they would ask questions and I would answer them and demonstrate some aspect of it on my screen. Or, in other words, we went somewhat off-script from my planned curriculum. No problem, though, as a desktop support tech I learned to follow the lead of the person you are providing support to and just riff off of that.
At 3pm it was clear it was 3pm. We made it through another section. At 4pm, I said OK here's where we are, shall we continue, what would you like to do, and thus we ended an hour early. Lesson learned! Again, the nicest crowd I could ask for. Very supportive, encouraging, and polite. There was certainly some give-and-take throughout the day. I responded to their questions and needs and didn't stick to my script. I think they appreciated that. Some of what they were looking for was beyond the scope of the training, and I communicated that. Ultimately, I feel we all left happy at the end of the day.
I got home around 5pm, just about 12 hours since I had woken up. Mind buzzing with lots of ideas, thoughts on how to improve and modify the training and curriculum, but also fairly exhausted. It was that night that I figured out it was a cold, not allergies - DayQuil to the rescue, and by the time I went to sleep I felt much better. And that's my experience, my first day as a business owner. I could make it sound a lot more dramatic, but it really wasn't. Actions are often milder than thoughts, right? What was your experience like on that first day?