March 2017 Editor's Note: This post was originally published in January 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Starting my own company was the best but hardest thing I have ever done on my own.
I had worked for a photo booth rental company in Maryland for nearly a year before transferring schools from UMBC to UNCW. It was the best job I have ever had. I was getting paid to go to parties, hang out, eat, socialize, and have fun with the guests and I was making more than enough money from only working once or twice a week. Can you imagine anything better? I couldn’t. I loved my job, it was something I was passionate about and looked forward to doing. I wanted to do the exact same thing while I was at UNCW. So, I started my own photo booth rental company, Photo Perfect Photobooth LLC.
Starting a company is easy: fill out a form, pay a fee, and then boom, you have a Limited Liability Company (LLC). Being a business owner for the first time, however, is extremely difficult. You need to be passionate about what it is you’re starting. You need to believe in what you’re doing. And most importantly, you need to know that your entire life will continuously change. If you don’t grow, neither will your company, so you need to be ready for that. Change is uncomfortable, but it’s necessary, and you will change as your company does.
It took 6 months for me to book my first event. During those 6 months, I had questioned my ability to be successful, worried I wasted time and money on something that would never work out, and doubted myself. Even though I had a lot of internal barriers holding me back, I had a drive to succeed that kept me going and prevented me from giving up. Eventually I booked a wedding and soon after I was booking events for almost every weekend.
My advice to anybody thinking about or in the process of starting a company is: just do it. There’s a lot to be afraid of but you should do it anyway. Working on something and watching it grow is one of the most rewarding parts of owning a business. Knowing that the success of the business reflects your own success, is something that will inspire you to put in your maximum effort. Being an entrepreneur is a highly satisfying lifestyle.