I started my first company in 1993, after my second experience with “corporate downsizing.” I remember sitting with my mentor and discussing a strategy for the future that included passion, persistence and resilience. Her suggestion: “Trish, everything you have ever done in your career to this point has set you up to be in business for yourself, you can do this!”
I successfully transferred my corporate skills by opening a business supporting companies in brand strategy. The focus was on customer and employee recognition programs. For three years, I literally had a dollar in my wallet, I pored everything into the company and the business grew. I was determined to do it on my own and create a new life. As you can imagine, there were both challenges and successes in those early years and every time I questioned my decision I would look to my mentor and she would say: “You can do this; Just Keep Going”
It became my personal mantra.
In 1997, I incorporated the business, completed my first rebrand, changed the company name and expanded my product offering. I looked to my mentor for advice and she said: “You can do this, Just keep going.”
That year things finally came together, the business was indeed a success. Clients were happy, referrals were abundant and we were “running at mock two with our hair on fire.” I took a deep breath, and with a smile looked at my mentor who said, once again: “keep going, you can do this.”
There are times in our career when we make conscious decisions to change direction that support our lifestyle choices and there are other circumstances when we need to make a course correction out of necessity.
In 2008, I hit a wall, corporate burnout.
I had been working too hard for too long and my body could no longer sustain the pace of my business. After a great deal of soul-searching, I decided to regroup and reorganize, take a little time off and start something new.
I had to recalibrate my personal GPS.
As a Brand Ambassador, I began to work for companies as a consultant or employee on contract creating innovative marketing strategies that increased revenue streams, encouraged brand loyalty and mentored teams.
A different kind of entrepreneur, one with the same mantra:
“You can do this; Just keep going.”
In 2015, I made another strategic change, reopened my rolodex and spent time investing in my own brand. I successfully completed certifications that combine not only my business experience but passion for mentoring.
By changing direction, I began a new journey to support and encourage other entrepreneurs as a coach. I wrote my second book Breaking Barriers, sharing the stories of ten female entrepreneurs and found myself once again looking to my mentor who said: “You can do this; Just keep going.”
If I have learned one thing over the last 25 years as an entrepreneur, it is this: the road to success is never a straight line and you should welcome every change as another adventure in the journey.
We need to “Just keep going.”
In 2020, I am celebrating 5 years as a coach and completing another rebrand. Who knew that when I started in 1993, there would be so many turns in the road that I assumed would be a straight line to success.
Now, my mentor would say: “If you don’t share your story how will anyone else know what it is like to be an entrepreneur? Keep it real: If you touch only one person and encourage them to pursue their dream isn’t it worth it?”
She’s right! Here I am, once again, stepping outside my comfort zone and humbly accepting the challenge to continue with a blog series that I started last year under the umbrella of mentorship. Sharing entrepreneurial stories to inspire great ideas.
I guess we really do create our own road to success when we believe in the journey and follow our own yellow brick road.
To all of the people who provide inspiration in support of entrepreneurship my humble thanks for your encouragement, inspiration and mentorship.
“You can do this; Just keep going.”
Trish Tonaj is a Certifed Master Coach, Author and speaker offering keynotes and workshops on how to amplify your business. We all need to breaking barriers, start meaningful conversations and create a new definition for success… shareyourstories.online