Even though I didn’t know it early on, everyone else did – I’ve always been an entrepreneur. One of my earliest hustles as a kid was selling wrapping paper and candy – you know the fundraisers that our kids bring home and we hate! My best closing tactic was saying, “My mom said as many things as she’s bought from your daughter, she’d hope you’ll buy a little something from me.” It didn’t go over well with my mom, but boy was it effective! I would sell anything – lemonade, homemade fudge – you name it. And I may have been the only kid I’ve ever known to rent out his jean jacket (I was in the fifth grade and denim was in, don’t judge me.) Whether I wanted to be or not, I’ve always been wired this way.

I went to college to be a teacher, because I loved kids – since I now have four boys, ages 9-17, in my life on a daily basis. In 1997, I was teacher for a year in Florence School District #1. Notice I said teacher-for-a-year not Teacher-of-the-Year! I loved kids, but I was miserable. One day right around Christmas, I remember driving to work and passing the sign of a large discount store. I knew I could make as much money there stacking boxes at night and be happier than I was teaching. When the time came to declare our intentions for the next year to the district – which usually happens around Spring Break – I told my principal I wouldn’t be returning. Needless to say, it was a long couple of months till I got out of there. When I told the district I wasn’t coming back, I didn’t know what I would do, but I knew what I wouldn’t do – settle!

I understand the pressures of trying to give your best at work while still coaching little league. I’ve had lingering questions about whether or not I would ever really find balance and feeling like I couldn’t get it all done at work and at home. But I’ve also felt the triumph of being recognized for my professional accomplishments and having my oldest son tell his mom that he wanted to get his prom tux with me because “ that’s a dad thing.” It’s a beautifully unpredictable life, but one that I wouldn’t trade for the world.

I’m excited to share some of the stories of things I’ve learned along the way. In addition to my personal experience, I’ve had the opportunity to see up close and personal the business strategies and parenting tactics that’ve created hundreds of successful entrepreneurs and thriving families. As we go, I look forward to living the rest of my story with you and – if I’m lucky – hearing more of yours!

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