Please tell me that launching a business is the hardest part.  That the endless amount of bureaucratic paperwork, legal wrangling, shelling out of personal cash, logistical nightmares, setbacks, and frustrations will end soon.  That my Husband can start doing what he went to medical school for three years to do.  That he can actually treat patients and make them feel better, instead of fighting with the printer.  Tell me it’s so!  That day is coming soon, right?


I try to keep the bitchin’ and moanin’ about my personal life to a minimum on the blog (because that’s what my mom is for and, heck, life is pretty awesome overall) but I simply must appeal for words of advice!  How do we get over this emotional hump?!  Tell me your small business story – maybe I can glean some lessons from your successes and trials.


Pre-printer meltdown, I had a lovely bowl of raw oatmeal, banana, and yogurt:

IMG_1311 IMG_1312

(I ate it in the car on the way to the clinic.)


And when we got back at 8:45, I threw together a quick dinner:


Thank goodness for wraps, right?  I had an egg, greens, and corn wrap with a side of roasted small potatoes.  Better than French fries!


Time for House Hunters (our ultimate de-stresser) and bed.  Oh, and I’m munching on two mini ice cream sandwiches for dessert.   


Tell me, tell me.  Do you run a small business?  Would you ever want to?  As hard as it is, small business ownership definitely has tons of benefits, too!



  • Heather August 30, 2010, 9:34 pm

    my husband opened his own law firm last october, just him, no other attorneys. One thing I remember was everything happened so much more slowly than I wanted it to. It was VERY hard. Not just b/c of all the paperwork, legal mess, etc, but b/c he was a new attorney, as we like to say, everything we did was like “reinventing the wheel.” Not to be a downer, but in this market its just not working for us. he has a job offer as a business manager of a company, and he will do legal work for the clients there on the side, but we just closed up shop this month. It’s hard to not feel like a failure. We blame it on the economy to make ourselves feel better, but the bottom line is it is just hard. Not to be a downer, but no need to sugarcoat it. Just remember things will happen slowly, and it takes time to build up a practice. You can do it though!

  • Cathy K August 30, 2010, 9:36 pm

    hang in there, caitlin and hubbie! it does get better.
    my husband and i ran our own business for about 10 years. you’ll have challenging and frustrating times like today, but there are also rewarding moments and the success outweighs the negatives. just a note: we did work a lot! like 24/7 at times! you definitely need to set boundaries! best wishes to you both!!

  • holly @ couchpotatoathlete August 30, 2010, 9:41 pm

    Oh I have no words of wisdom, only to keep at it! I’m sure you’ll have challenges along the way (duh, you already are!) but I’m sure you’ll look back one day and say it was worth it!

  • Jennifer August 30, 2010, 9:42 pm

    Not a small business owner, but I have a friend who owns a small natural/gourmet grocery store. It is a family business (she owns it w/ her sister and brother) and it took FOREVER to get it going. Oh, and it took A LOT of money too, for stuff they never expected. The good news is that the store has been open for over 6 years now and is very successful. They are looking into buying a place instead of renting and they have many, many loyal and happy customers. In the beginning she had to work mega-long hours (they couldn’t afford employees!)but now she comes and goes as she pleases, which is one of her favorite parts of being a business owner (that and all of the discounted natural/organic food). Good luck and hang in there!

  • Wendy August 30, 2010, 9:43 pm

    I don’t have any personal experience, but my mom and dad have owned and operated a very successful small business since 1970-something (my dad started it before he and and my mom married, so I’m fuzzy on the exact date). You’ll get there!

  • Larissa August 30, 2010, 10:00 pm

    I am going to school to be a podiatrist. One day when i try and open my practice I will be feeling your pain, for now I will try and learn what I can from you guys 🙂 good luck it will be worth it in the end im sure

  • Nicole of Raspberry Stethoscope August 30, 2010, 10:07 pm

    Is that a Target tshirt? Because if so, I have the same one, in the same color…and in pink! anyway, random. I don’t own a small business, so no advice from me, except hang in there!!

  • Cyndi Eggers August 30, 2010, 10:07 pm

    I wrote to you the other day regarding how training plans can cross over to success in other areas of life… do your research on building business, marketing, planning, etc and like you told me “trust the plan!” I’ve been in business for myself as a graphic designer with a great client list since 1988 and it’s only slowed in the past 2 years. I’m confident with a little elbow grease and marketing that it will pick up. The economy has just made it more difficult but I think it is weeding out and letting the strong survive which is sometimes a good thing. Didn’t you have a post not long ago about dreaming you were a phoenix?

    • Caitlin August 31, 2010, 11:58 am

      I am a phoenix! Rising!

  • Jenn @ LiveWellFitNow August 30, 2010, 10:09 pm

    Oh darlin…yes I can relate. I can FULLY FULLY FULLY relate.

    I left my job last fall to start my own wellness & fitness coaching business. It’s been quite the road and I have had many many days as you have recently experienced. And…I still do have them at times.

    The hardest part of my experience was the realization that everything truly does take longer. All the pieces, the paperwork, the unknown, the waiting, the many rejections. It does take time.

    But the beauty…it is so WORTH IT! If this business is what your husband loves, if being a part of this is something you love…it’s worth it! It takes patience and belief for things that we really believe in to happen. All the frustration will pass, suddenly things will happen and magically life will be different!

    Wishing you two a restful night and a positive, relaxing day tomorrow!

    Now, go pour yourself a glass of wine. Crawl in to bed with your husband + dogs and vent. Then relax. 🙂

  • ari August 30, 2010, 10:11 pm

    anything worth having is worth working for 🙂

    • Caitlin August 31, 2010, 11:58 am

      i always like your comments!

      • ari August 31, 2010, 1:56 pm

        omg that just made my day.

  • Erin August 30, 2010, 10:14 pm

    My husband is a Chiropractor and opened his clinic this year, so I understand the stress! It was very stressful, but so worth it!

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday August 30, 2010, 10:15 pm

    I wish I had some advice for you. Hang in there, the start-up can be the toughest part.

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing August 30, 2010, 10:15 pm

    I’m not a small business owner but I hope to be some day so I’m very interested in what people say…
    Just hang in there!! You, of all people, who have done SO MUCH, can do this!

  • Evan Thomas August 30, 2010, 10:15 pm

    I haven’t ran a small anything–not even a lemonade stand. I still use phrases like “when I grow up”, and have no career plan.
    On the bright side, this experience is probably going to bring you and Kristien even closer when it’s all worked out 🙂

  • Krystina August 30, 2010, 10:17 pm

    House Hunters IS a good destresser.

  • ashleigh August 30, 2010, 10:17 pm

    I’m sorry things aren’t going well, I am sure everything will be great soon!!

    I love eggs, corn and potatoes! Yum!

  • Brooke - One Healthy Cookie August 30, 2010, 10:21 pm

    I don’t think I have the patience to have my own business! 🙂 But I admire the people who do.

  • Wendy @ Seriously Sassy August 30, 2010, 10:21 pm

    Oh my STARS, thank you SOOOOO much for your Blogging Tips page!!! It could NOT have come at a BETTER time. I’ve been playing with my laptop all day trying to figure out Windows Live Writer and because of your tips, FINALLY got it to work! Drag and drop is going to be sooooooooo awesome!!!!!!!
    I do run my own business. I’m a “freelance” group fitness instructor and have been blown away by the frustrations and difficulties. Things can only get better from here, though. Best of luck to you!

  • Carly (Swim, Run, Om) August 30, 2010, 10:21 pm

    I would definitely love to own a bakery – I can’t decide between a human or a canine bakery. I think I would do a two-in-one – dog owners can bring their pets and all can enjoy cupcakes!

    I have no advice on small business, but did want to point out that the color of that shirt looks really good on you. My advice is to wear that color more often. That is all.

  • Jaclyn August 30, 2010, 10:21 pm

    Ah, I’m sorry it’s such a nightmare, Caitlin! The hardest part will be over soon, I”m sure!

    Yes thank goodness for wraps, that’s what I’m having for dinner too! 😀

  • Morgan @ Healthy Happy Place August 30, 2010, 10:22 pm

    we own a production company, and trust me, the beginning is the hardest. Not only were we out thousands of dollars with start up fees, we had no clue what we were doing when it came to setting up the LLC, taxes, etc. Logistics aside, the lack of business during the first year was the hardest. We had bills to pay and barely anything was coming in. It took about a year before business was steady, and about a year and a half before things were BOOMING…but those first 12 months were scary to say the least. If you can get past the 1 year mark, things will get much much better!

    • Caitlin August 31, 2010, 12:00 pm

      Yay this comment gives me hope!

  • Leah @ L4L August 30, 2010, 10:32 pm

    My mom and I have a dream of having a bed and breakfast when we are old! (Her 70, me 50.)

  • Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter August 30, 2010, 10:33 pm

    My dad opened up his own medical practice. I have no idea how he did it. He hooked up (mostly) everything by himself. I don’t get it.

  • Nick August 30, 2010, 10:35 pm

    Great Post Caitlin, running a small business is always frustrating, it’s all about working and learning through the hard stuff. It takes time and lots of hardwork before any business becomes succesful, those who dare to try and stay with it with a smart mind and good marketing campain 😉 come out shining on top!

    • Caitlin August 31, 2010, 12:01 pm

      Hi Nick 🙂

  • Julie (Etsy Stalkers) August 30, 2010, 10:36 pm

    It WILL get better. I think the best part is knowing that you’re doing everything for yourself and not working to please anyone else. Your successes. Your failures.

  • Gree August 30, 2010, 10:42 pm

    I don’t own a small business but I sooo want to..I think there are bureaucratic headaches with every job and the reward of being your own boss will be so worth it.

  • Wei-Wei August 30, 2010, 10:43 pm

    I have no advice for you except to follow your gut. No, I mean not in eating stuff – I mean to follow your instincts! If it doesn’t feel right, then it’s probably not the right choice. Wish you luck!

  • JenRD August 30, 2010, 10:44 pm

    Try to contact your local small business association for resources and support–sometimes they even offer free legal advice. Hang in there–it will be worth it!

    • Caitlin August 31, 2010, 12:02 pm

      I will ask my husband if he’s done this yet – thanks!

  • Julie August 30, 2010, 10:46 pm

    My husband and I own a small business. The hardest part was definitely in the beginning when we had a business but NO clients 🙁

    We both get to work from home so it’s been such a wonderful opportunity to be home with our kids from birth onwards. No babysitters, no daycare.

    Through all the stresses, one of the very best parts is not having to answer to someone else… not having to ask permission.

    Like Julie (Etsy Stalkers) said – “Your successes. Your failures.”
    We’ve had both and it’s been rough, but so worth it!!

  • Lindsay August 30, 2010, 10:47 pm

    My brother is 22 and has his own small business. He is currently running a server company and he has no free time. He is always tied to his desk and fighting fires. I am so proud of him, but I do know that any business you want to start requires you to devote large amounts of time and money, BUT as soon as you have clients and cash coming in you will be do proud!! 🙂 Good Luck!! 🙂

  • Christine August 30, 2010, 10:54 pm

    It does get easier but the beginning stages of starting a small business can be crazy. One word of advice – find a mentor or colleague (from out of town is good because there is no competition for business)that has been through this before and can tell you what they learned along the way and how they got through this stage.
    I run a private music studio and it was many discussions with people who had done it successfully before me that helped me through the beginning stages.

    It will be worth the hard work!

    • Caitlin August 31, 2010, 12:03 pm

      i think we need a local mentor, too, not just my father in law.

  • Ann August 30, 2010, 10:58 pm

    My husband and I own a small business, doing two of the most complicated things in the world: 1) rocket science (for real), and 2) government contract accounting.

    We’ve been at it since February of 2003, and I’ve even given speeches to college students about the advantages and disadvantages of owning a business, so you asked the right person (not that you asked me specifically, but you totally would have, if you’d known).

    Pros – I don’t have to beg, steal, and borrow for sick days when I need them for myself and my kids. I’ve been able to take my babies to work with me until age 1 (when it became impossible for everyone), promoting attachment, increased paternal involvement, and exclusive breastfeeding. My husband is able to be present for parent/teacher conferences, and other activities for the kids that are scheduled during the 8-5 workday that most employed parents miss out on. We have been able to stay closer to our family than we would have if he’d sought employment with another company. If he’s going to lose his job, we’ll see it coming a mile away (because we’re in charge) – it’s not like he’s going to walk in on a pink slip and be caught completely off guard someday. We’re able to work family vacations into business trips, and this has saved us a boatload of money. Granted, we go places like Huntsville, Alabama (woo hoo!), but it’s better than going nowhere. The ridiculous amount of work my husband puts in (see below) directly benefits us, instead of some corporate bigwig somewhere. He owns his own intellectual property. We have a great deal of control over the type of work we do (he won’t work on weapons, for example, for moral and ethical reasons). We can work from home when we need to (he’s working in bed right now, in fact, but that might be harder/more awkward for your husband the chiropractor! 🙂 ). Owning your own business carries a great deal of prestige, too, which is kind of nice. Oh, and I get to make lots of fun jokes about “sleeping with my boss.” Hee hee!

    Cons – I had my second child on a Tuesday, left the hospital earlier than recommended, and was back in the office with the baby that Friday running payroll, because I was the only one who could. My husband regularly works 60 hour weeks, and often works 70 or 80 hour weeks – no joke. Taxes – OMG!!! We’re still paying off a tax bill from 2005 because we got hideously bad advice in 2004, and didn’t save ahead to cover our liability. The co-owners of our company can be a big headache to deal with. (And that’s when I decided to post this anonymously!)

    Neutrals – We’ve learned to be UBER-conservative with money – for example, when we bought our house we bought it based on what I could realistically make if I were the only person in our household working at the time, just in case the business failed. Consequently, we’ve got quite a nest egg saved up – more than most people have at our age, I think, in spite of the tax debt I mentioned above. Of course, we also have a crappy little house, but it’s ok. We may not have a boss, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have customers who have expectations that we must meet (and believe me, the government doesn’t give a rip if your kid had the flu!!). Customers are often more demanding bosses than traditional bosses, but not always. At least you can choose not to work with a company in the future if they’re a complete pain (something that we’ve actually done). Most people aren’t able to choose (or fire!) their bosses.

    Some things will get easier. Some things will get harder as you grow.

    My best advice is to get the best lawyer and the best accountant you can afford. Start off on the right foot with your LLC agreement or your incorporation paperwork, and with your accounting system. Don’t skimp on insurance, either, especially in his line of work. It might be useful for you to join the Chamber of Commerce or some other such group where you can find another business owner who can mentor you through this beginning. Check into the Small Business Administration, too. They were a big help when we started out.

    Ask lots of questions, and don’t be afraid to ask stupid questions. Everyone who is in business was just starting out at one time. Take advantage of any continuing education that’s available in your area (my husband has taken a “mini MBA” program, and I just recently attended very useful training on the government contract accounting that I have to do – and I went to school to be a special ed teacher, so I’m uniquely unqualified…. Ugh, I could go on all day!).

    Well, haven’t I just hijacked the comments? Hahah… Sorry.

    • Caitlin August 31, 2010, 12:04 pm

      Thank you so much for this comment! I really loved reading your feedback.

      I am terrified of taxes… both his and mine.

      • Ann August 31, 2010, 9:45 pm

        Save 33% of whatever you make for taxes the first year. It’ll hurt, because that first year you’re going to be scrimping and stretching, but do it anyway… Your future credit score will thank you! After the first year, you’ll be able to adjust that number down, but the first year is the big surprise, and the one that really killed us.

        Also, when the accountant estimates his quarterly estimated tax payments for 2011, remember that they’re calculated based ONLY on half a year of 2010 income (because you just started this, right?) so you’ll need to double them in order to save enough for April 2012, at least.

        Talk to an accountant, but that’s exactly the problem we got into, and it sucked. We based our 2004 taxes on half a year’s 2003 income, and April 2005 rolled around and we were $20,000 short. WHOOPS!

        We’re still paying it off – about $5000 to go – 5 years later.

  • Amber from Girl with the Red Hair August 30, 2010, 10:58 pm

    I grew up with my parents owning a small business and what I remember the most is both of them working 24/7 for a lonnng time. BUT now that I’m grown up they had money that my other friends parents didn’t have to help put me through school etc. So persevere, it will be worth it in the end 🙂 What’s that statistic, most businesses lose money in the first year or two years? I’m guessing you’ll lose money before you start making it. But it will work out!

  • Caitlin August 30, 2010, 10:59 pm

    Hey I don’t own a small business, but I just wanted to say hang in there! As my wise, wise boyfriend says, “Everything is going to be okay.” So far, he has been right.

  • Jamie August 30, 2010, 11:06 pm

    Dear Caitlin.
    My name is Jamie. I have been reading your blog for a few months now, but I am shy, and I have rarely commented. Your posting today has encouraged me to come out of my shell and share a few (hopefully) helpful sentences with you and your readers. I work for a small family owned organic winery. I wish I could say that in the two years I have been with the winery that the paper bureaucracy, legal juggling, and broken printers have dissipated. That I could tell you without crossed fingers that there have been more good days then what seemed like sucky ones.
    What makes it worth it for me is remembering why I am here. I love our customers. Current and potential. They make me laugh, proud of our product, and remind me that there is kindness in what can sometimes seem a cruel world. Whether it is someone that I meet just once, or see once weeks they almost always make me feel good. So, when the printer jams beyond repair, or an employee calls in sick 10 minutes before their shift is to start I try to take a few deep breaths and reflect on why I love what I do.
    When all else fails try a trick I learned from you. Make a list of why you do what you do and post it on your mirror or next to the fritzing computer. It can be a friendly reminder when you feel in the weeds.
    Thank you for this wonderful blog. I wish you the best of luck, and have much faith in you and your family’s ability to succeed.

    • Caitlin August 31, 2010, 12:06 pm

      <3 thanks jaime! i appreciate the comment. don't be shy!!

      and i am sooo jeals you work for a winery. i would be drunk. all. the. time.

  • Jaya August 30, 2010, 11:25 pm

    Caitlin, my parents owned their own business for some time, and they did appear to have a lot of work, but as Ann above mentioned, they were immensely proud of their work, their services and their independence. I don’t have any words of wisdom, except to tell you that I wish you and your lovely all of the best! The great thing is that when you feel like pulling out your hair, you can pull it out together – or pull out each others’ – if that floats your boat!
    You’re obviously not afraid of hard work, so I’m sure you will reap the rewards of your efforts! Best to you both 🙂

  • Michelle August 30, 2010, 11:36 pm

    good luck caitlin! i’m cheering for you guys 🙂 later on you can look back and appreciate all the hard work you both went through!

  • Lindsay August 30, 2010, 11:46 pm

    Hey there. I’ve been reading for a while, but I think this is my first comment. 🙂

    As a business owner, I completely know what you guys are going through. It’s stressful and right now there are no rewards.

    I own a boot camp for women in Southern California and I’m the sole owner and trainer. So I do all the work! 🙂 I still have headaches with business-y stuff but it makes it all worth it when a client tells me how much she loves my class, or to see a client accomplish a physical feat they were not able to do a few weeks ago. Makes it ALLLLL worth it!! 🙂 GL to you guys!

  • Heather (Heather's Dish) August 30, 2010, 11:48 pm

    yeesh, what a nightmare! we have a photography business, and it’s definitely hard sometimes. BUT it’s totally worth it and you WILL get through it! hang in there!

  • Kristina @ spabettie August 30, 2010, 11:55 pm

    It is Most Definitely Worth It.

    There will always be stress, and one of my common sayings is “Add Money and Stir”, but there are MANY great perks also.

    One thing I learned long ago, set an amount that Your Time is worth… then hire people to do things out of your scope or simply because you cannot do it all. Even if you do all the daily books / payroll yourself, hire a CPA / accountant for filing purposes.

    Another wonderful part of my job – I am on the Board of Directors with the local business association. It is a great way to integrate your biz into the community, and a good resource for building relationships with other business owners (that can also tell you what we are all telling you – that this IS ALL WORTH IT!!)

    I have managed a clinic with naturopathic docs, chiropractic docs, acupuncturists and LMTs under one roof. Having systems and structure in place so these docs (even the owner) does nothing but see patients all day was the best thing we ever did.

    It is an amazing feeling, and you are Almost There!! 🙂

    • Caitlin August 31, 2010, 12:10 pm

      Haha… Add money and stir. My new life motto.

  • Kristina @ spabettie August 30, 2010, 11:59 pm

    oh! ALSO –> having the ability to log in remotely from a laptop (home) is great also (HIPAA compliant, of course)…

    My appendix burst in TWO a year ago, and I was able to do 90% of my job while recovering at home – from a VNC connection via laptop. 🙂

  • Ashley August 31, 2010, 12:14 am

    I DEFinitely have a small business story for you! I only had my granola bar company [ota.bars] for a short time, while living in Charlotte, but YES the actual “opening” of the business was THEE hardest part. I can only imagine how intensified it is for your situation. You guys are starting some a little more “real deal” than what I did. The kitchen requirements brought up a slew of issues. At times I thought it was impossible and never going to happen. But after a month, I got through that hard part and was successful even just for the short time I still lived in charlotte. Keep chugging along. It will end and you will be SO happy. 🙂

  • Andrea August 31, 2010, 12:35 am

    My husband is a Dr. and we had our own practice for a year. The computers and EMR were definatley a challenge and we spent a lot of our time dealing with those issues. We were told it takes 3-5 years to build up the practice. We were in business a year and couldn’t make it. This was back in 05-06 when the economy was in good shape.

    Good luck!!!

  • Catherine August 31, 2010, 1:05 am

    My family owns a business. At times, it seems like their entire lives revolve around it. I think the most important trait required of business owners is patience. LOTS of patience!

  • Sarah for Real August 31, 2010, 1:08 am

    I don’t know how much helpful info you can glean (with an “N”, btw ;)) but I’ve got an inspiring story! My husband started his small business when he was still in high school. He persevered through college (spending more than a couple of nights working while his friends partied) and was able to work his own business, full time once we graduated. More than ten years later, he is still working for himself, setting his own hours, extremely successful! It is SO worth it! Keep it up, it’s everyone’s dream to be self employed!

    One thing that’s helped us get through the tough times is to plan some commemorative celebrations once we’ve gotten through some tough stuff. For example, maybe pick up a fancy bottle of champagne for when you finally get your first day of “open” for business! Or maybe choose a special restaurant for after you get your business license, or whatever. Always have that something to look forward to. Making vacation plans also helps 😉 Keep your head focused on what’s really important, marriage, family, doggies… and you’ll get there!

    • Caitlin August 31, 2010, 12:11 pm

      Your husband rocks.

  • Neen@ Broad bean to Runner Bean August 31, 2010, 3:41 am

    i’ve never done it, but i sure do hope it gets easier soon hun!

  • Becky August 31, 2010, 4:35 am

    Awww, I’m so sorry. I have no great advice but I’m keeping you guys in my thoughts and I know you will get through this difficult time! On an unrelated note, in that first picture, it looks like you chopped all your hair off into a bob! It would be really cute short! (It’s beautiful long as well though!)

    • Caitlin August 31, 2010, 12:13 pm

      You really think it would look good short? I feel like I am such a long-hair person.

      • Becky August 31, 2010, 12:17 pm

        I do! I’ve always been a short hair person, so I have no qualms about chopping it off, but I know that’s harder for people who have always had long hair. I think it would be adorable in a reverse bob (slightly shorter in the back and slightly longer in the front)- you have such a cute face and it would really show it off! But like I said before, you are gorgeous just the way you are- short hair, long hair, green hair, whatever!

        • Kristina @ spabettie August 31, 2010, 12:31 pm

          I agree!! I thought the same thing, that you cut your hair!

          I am a short hair person too, so I think nothing of it…

          Perhaps you’ll cut it when you have your kiddos – 😉

  • Little Bookworm August 31, 2010, 4:37 am

    No helpful information sorry. I hope it works out soon though! 🙂

  • Naomi(onefitfoodie) August 31, 2010, 6:08 am

    when everything is all set up and good to go, you will look back at this as a whole experience and how amazing it was at how hard you worked to get where you wanted to be! 🙂 hang in there!

  • Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) August 31, 2010, 6:32 am

    I’ve heard owning a small business is a whole lot of hard work. But very rewarding, all at the same time. I hope it all works out well for you! At least you’re keeping a positive attitude. 😀

  • Kristen @ That Hoosier Girl August 31, 2010, 7:03 am

    It will get better! Some day when you’re old, and he’s had a nice long career at the clinic, you’ll look back at this time in your life and laugh!

  • Lauren at KeepItSweet August 31, 2010, 7:04 am

    At least once you get past the tough part of starting up he can get to doing what he wants to do!! Hopefully it will get better soon.

  • Chelsey August 31, 2010, 7:18 am

    My husband owns a landscaping business and it’s pretty hard work. He has to be it all! He gets pretty run down, but handles it well. I’m waiting for the return though!!! 🙂 He says it takes 3-5 years. I say… that’s too long.

  • eatmovelove August 31, 2010, 7:28 am

    Ann has a very interesting response.

    What what I’ve been told and heard, the first 10 years(!) of practice are the most difficult (cost, building up clientele). Especially since he’s fresh out of school still right?? Once you’ve built up properly and established a name/solid caseload – things should (x fingers) flow a little better.

  • Allison @ livingoneday August 31, 2010, 7:41 am

    My dad owns a holistic and wellness center in philadelphia. He started it as just a psychologist years and years ago, working from home and seeing as little as 4 patients a week. Now he owns his own building, rents space to tenants, employs a ton of other people under his association, and grew his practice to include therapists, accupunturists, massage therapists, yoga teachers, and more. It definitely wasn’t easy and even with 3 grown children, he spends over 12 hours a day and most weekends doing things at his office. But it us so worth it. He has great freedom and loves what he does. He’s happy! And with a little more work, you guys will be right there!

  • Stacey August 31, 2010, 7:44 am

    LOVE House Hunters! Back when we had cable, I would stay in my pj’s all day and watch it (that and Millionare Matchmaker!). I’ve been planning on opening a business once I get finished with school..but now I’m not so sure! It seems like a big mess, and I’m not good with the financial end of it. I hope things get sorted out for you soon 😀 This is just a bump in the road, hang in there!

  • Kris August 31, 2010, 8:00 am

    I don’t own a small business but have worked at two startup medical practices. It’s a lot of work, and it will take quite a while to build the business. I would say when you are able to, don’t hesitate to hire a good business mgr.; someone who isn’t necessarily a relative. While utilizing a wife, mother, father, MIL, FIL, etc. may be easier at the beginning, as a practice grows, someone with experience and outside of the immediate family cirlce is essential. Make sure you have a strong marketing plan. There will be highs and lows every day. One practice ended up selling to a larger practice; the other practice is huge and very successful. It can go either way.

    • Caitlin August 31, 2010, 12:13 pm

      i cannot WAIT to hire people. LOL

  • Laine @ Beets, Butter & Moutaintops August 31, 2010, 8:02 am

    I have a law practice. It is 5 years old this October. And it does get better. The foundations you are building now will serve you later when the office is busy.

    Sometimes I dream about having someone else pay my health insurance and a company contribution to my retirement plan or someone I can pass my work on to – but then Friday roles around (I don’t work on Fridays) and I’m heading towards the mountains for a hike and I realize that if I worked for someone else I’d still be at work and someone else would be passing their crap work off to me so I drive on with a happy smile that I am the boss.

    I’m lucky that when I need help I can use a Virtual Assistant or a Contract Paralegal so that I’m not taking on the commitment of a full employee, and another thing that was a huge help was hiring a CFO to come in and do an analysis of my “numbers.” She describes what she does as “accounting for management rather than taxes” meaning that she helped me get a real handle on what was coming in (and where it was coming from) and where it was going. So now I have reports to review monthly, rather than just send a quickbooks file to my acct. once a year.

    There’s an acupuncturist around here who has “Happy Hour” on Friday nights. For $10 or something you can go and get some needling (the ear, I think) while sitting in a room with other people. It’s fun.

    Good luck!!

    • Caitlin August 31, 2010, 12:15 pm

      You sound successful 🙂

      The Happy Hour thing is sweet!

  • Sarah @ Sarah's Shaping Up August 31, 2010, 8:16 am

    My parents run their own business and I’ve seen how much work they’ve put in. It’s definitely worth it in the end though. They absolutely love it. Good luck with everything! 🙂

  • Diana (Mymarblerye) August 31, 2010, 8:21 am

    my parents use to own their own restaurant. It was PAINFUL. We did well for a few years but when huge chains started coming down it hurt their business. You can’t compete with a 24 hour massive buffett place. 🙁

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman August 31, 2010, 8:25 am

    My husband is itching to start his own business. The financial insecurity and long hours and pretty much everything scares the crap out of me. So now I need to go read through every comment here and either feel better or feel worse–then forward the news onto him. 🙂

  • Amanda August 31, 2010, 8:32 am

    My parents run a water well business. My grandfather started the business in the 70s and my dad took it over in 1997. By the time I saw the business it was well established and it has been a part of my entire life. In my opinion, running a small business is ALWAYS a LOT of hard work. I have never been on a family vacation. My dad couldn’t leave the business long enough. Maybe that is his own workaholic ways, but he never had the chance to step away for a few days. The legal/ accounting/ paperwork part will always be there and will always be a time consuming part of the business but it will soon become a routine rather than a new skill to learn. A small business is a ton of work and I always swore that I didn’t want to run one but as I’ve entered the working world my thoughts have changed a bit. There are a lot of benefits to running a small business, but the amount of work it takes to be successful will be far more than it would ever take to just be an “employee.” Good luck and hang in there!

  • megan August 31, 2010, 8:39 am

    I’m in the middle of reading the E-Myth, revisited. and trust me, if you haven’t read it, you need to. It’s all about small businesses and how to make them successful. It’s really easy to read, quite interesting, and definitely full of tons of good information. My husband owns a small business, and he said he would recommend this to anyone who owns one or is starting one. Check your library, they might have it.

  • Sara August 31, 2010, 8:41 am

    I save my bitchin’ and moanin’ for my mom too! I wish I could work for myself. I want to be my own boss, balance my life better … one day 😉 I wish I had advice for you, but I’m SURE it will get better!

  • Jillian@ ReshapeYourLife August 31, 2010, 8:44 am

    I recently opened my own business too, but there was very little paperwork and I’m a contract worker, so really… I don’t have an office, my start up costs have been minimal and I work for myself.

    I’m really no help… But I’m sure the stress will all melt away soon once things get going! And then this stressful time will be a mere blip of a memory… you’ll only look back on it with fond memories.

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit August 31, 2010, 8:47 am

    I want to open a healthy bakery/brewpub someday 🙂 Hope you two get past this tedious step in the process soon!

  • Lily @ Lily's Health Pad August 31, 2010, 8:53 am

    I can only imagine the horrors! I’ve considered opening my own gym one day, but I don’t know if I could take the stress! Hang in there. Once hubby’s practice is open, it will all be worth it!

  • Anna @ Doing Good & Living Well August 31, 2010, 9:20 am

    Oh you poor things! I’ve never run a small business but I can imagine that start up is agonizing. I hope you guys break through to the other side soon!

    I would love to own a small business/partnership once I’m at my mid-life. I’d want to wait until I have kids and they’re in HS/slightly more self-sufficient. I’m way too much of a workaholic to really strike a work-life balance if I’m in charge. ;o)

    Here’s hoping Tuesday is better than Monday.

  • Ellen@FirednFabulous August 31, 2010, 9:21 am

    Ohh that wrap looks yummy, simple too which I like 🙂 And no, I don’t own a small business, but I think I’d like to one day. Being my own boss definitely sounds nice! (Even though I know it’s TONS of hard work!) Hang in there, I know (more) great things are coming for you and the hubs!

  • Caitlin @ Right Foot Forward August 31, 2010, 9:28 am

    I don’t own a small business, but I can only imagine that what you are going through right now is normal. Hang in there! I’m sure you and your husband will be so happy with all of your hard work once the practice opens.

  • Nicole August 31, 2010, 10:04 am

    I don’t have a small business story, but I do have a crazy printer story. My sister got a hand-me down printer when she started university. It was actually supposed to be pretty decent- it scanned, faxed, printed and copied. And it would talk. (“Printing Started……Printing Complete”) and other things. Well, it turned out that printer LOVED to print a piece of paper, stop, and pull the piece of paper back in and shred it. My sister had to learn to snatch everything she printed as soon as it came out, or the printer would eat it. The printer would also turn on and talk to her in the middle of the night.

    • Caitlin August 31, 2010, 12:16 pm

      HAHAHAH best comment ever.

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin August 31, 2010, 10:07 am

    I hope things sort themselves out soon! I’m sure it’ll all be worth it once his business is up and running. Good luck! 🙂

  • Mary August 31, 2010, 10:26 am

    My parents owned an auto repair shop in my home town in NY for 22 years. They started right out of college. my dad was just an industrial arts major with a dream and my mom had a minor in business and was working for a mental health clinic at the time but quit her job and helped facilitate my dad’s dream. I remember them saying that launching the shop with the legal part and grant writing and things was THE hardest part and at times they wanted to quit. however, they stuck it out and were extremely well known and respected for 22 years. it was just recently that they had to shut down because of hard economic times in our town (the nestle factory that was there left, etc, etc)

    I asked my dad once if he’d ever own his own business again and he said he would not. he misses the work and the camraderie with his co-workers, but he said that it was the hardest thing he’s had to do owning a business with his spouse.

    Don’t worry Caitlin, it will get better! Just keep calm and ride on 🙂 Hubs will be great and successful!

  • Amelia August 31, 2010, 10:32 am

    I don’t have any small business experience, but I’ve got to think getting the business launched is the hardest part. I’m sure things will start to fall into place for y’all! 🙂

  • Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) August 31, 2010, 10:35 am

    I have my own small business, and since I’m in the midst of switching the main focus, I’m lucky to have Hubbs around for support (financial & emotional!)

    The good news is, I think there are a lot of people out there (me included) that support other small business ventures by choosing to use them or their product over the BIG corporate guy, because I know the hard work the small businesses put in and the quality of their work and products usually far exceeds the big guys, anyways.

    Hang in there!!

  • Paige (Running Around Normal) August 31, 2010, 10:37 am

    Gah, sorry about your frustrations, girlfriend! My husband is a small business owner and has been working…paycheckless for one and a half years. During those 1 1/2 years it was all building the server, website, coding, etc. It *just* went live yesterday. Granted, now it’s mostly maintenance and fixing unexpected problems from here on out, but it’s not an easy process!

  • Shannon, Tropical Eats August 31, 2010, 10:39 am

    love these tips everyone is leaving! eventually i’d love to start my own business– the past few months I’ve been researching every day about entrepreneurship and internet startups.
    This is my go-to website:

    sounds like that paperwork is terribleeee, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel (somewhere out there)!

  • whitney August 31, 2010, 10:40 am

    wish I had some advice for you but I was actually wondering the same.

    At least you look very cute through all the stress. I love your hair that way.

  • Nicole, RD August 31, 2010, 10:49 am

    I don’t think I could do it! Bless your hearts! I am trying to market myself, along with 2 other dietitians, to offer nutritional counseling in medical offices, and even that is hard! But it’ll be worth it…hang in there!

  • Alaina August 31, 2010, 10:55 am

    I know this is toootally off topic, but I saw these and thought of you! “You are beautiful” engraved pencils!

    • Caitlin August 31, 2010, 12:17 pm

      i love those pencils!

  • Diana @ frontyardfoodie August 31, 2010, 11:01 am

    My family bought a business when I was eleven and it WAS hard at first but with a lot of work it really paid off. My family has been going strong and it’s incredibly successful!

  • Amber K August 31, 2010, 11:29 am

    My husband and I really want to go into business for ourselves, but we’re not in a place to do it yet. I’ve heard it is HARD work, but will one day be worth it.

  • Melinda Neely August 31, 2010, 11:29 am

    My biggest piece of advice is to hire a bookkeeper. Of all the painful administrative tasks of running a small business, I find all the pesky tax forms to be #$1 on the list. A bookkeeper can easily take that stress away, leaving you more time to focus on your magic!

  • Erin August 31, 2010, 11:36 am

    I think you will be amazed how fast you can go this weekend. All of the marathon base building (plus the speed work) will make a great 5k 🙂 I think that is a secret training trick to train for a distance longer than your race. Rock it this weekend!

  • chandra August 31, 2010, 12:09 pm

    As someone who is also just starting her own small business, I cannot wait to have the time to read through all the comments and get suggestions – I’m SO overwhelmed and scared sh*tless right now it isn’t even funny!

    Fingers crossed that we are all up and running (sprinting?!) soon!

    • Caitlin August 31, 2010, 12:18 pm

      uhh only read the positive comments. LOL

      • chandra August 31, 2010, 12:27 pm

        Too late. 🙂 Ahhh what am I doing?! lol

  • Liz August 31, 2010, 4:12 pm

    My husband & I own a small business. Our situation is a little different as we are the third generation of his family to own it. However, the last 10 years that his dad had the business, he basically did no advertising and if work didn’t walk in the door, he did nothing. So when DH started 10 years ago and then when I came in 3 years ago we basically started over to get our name out there. 3 years later we still have people who come in and say “oh, I thought you closed”.

    Anyway, my advice, keep things simple, keep your overhead as low as possible. What will kill a business sooner than anything is their ability to not pay their bills. It is a constant battle to get business in the door and is never ending. Your hubby is a little luckier as he will have a lot of repeat business, but he’s got to get them in the door initially and convince them to keep coming back.

    Also realize that sometimes it is less expensive to just pay someone to do something. We do very little computer fixing ourselves as we both are pretty useless with it. We found another small business that only works on computers. We call him whenever we need help and he even has our computers set up that as long as we have internet, he can work on them remotely. For us that’s like having a full time IT person and not have to pay for it. Invaluable for a small business.

    Try not to take out a lot of debt. As I said before, if you have lots of money going out and no money coming in, your savings are going to dwindle fast. Remember that vacations are going to be far and few between because frankly if your DH isn’t in the office, no money is going to be coming in, at all.

    Also, you may think your working for yourself, but really, your working for your clients, because without them, you wouldn’t have a business!

  • Maria (realfitmama) August 31, 2010, 5:16 pm

    Oh Caitlin, I feel your pain, your struggle, your frustration and your desire!!

    My husband and I opened our own deli in May and it was no easy task. After an amazing friend loaned us the money to make it happen all the “red tape” started. We managed to get nickeled AND dimed by the federal government, the state government, the city c=government and then the small municipality that the deli resides in. 👿

    Thankfully our financer (also a dear friend) knows all about opening and operating your own business because he did it almost 10 years ago. He knew what we didn’t (that the money he loaned us wouldn’t see us through) and has been helping out financially while the business picks up.

    We are currently scrapping by, but in the end working for ourselves was what we wanted to do and so far we are doing it. Our customers seem happy, we are proud of the food we serve (of course I would like more vegetarian options on the menu, but that will come) and we are home every night by 3:00.

    This gives the husband the opportunity to finish his accounting degree and gives me the opportunity to be at home with our girls EVERY night.

    It will get better. Keep your chin up!

    • Caitlin August 31, 2010, 8:34 pm

      <3 thanks for your words of advice mama

  • Stephanie August 31, 2010, 9:19 pm

    Caitlin —

    I’m a runner, small business owner and just became a mom in April.

    My husband and I bought an existing small business a little over two years ago, but I still have fights with the printer (and fax machine, and computers . . .don’t get me started on computers or QuickBooks).

    Some days it’s enough that I don’t murder one of our employees (seriously, it’s like we’re running a daycare for emotionally stunted adults) and other days it’s exceptionally rewarding.

    Even with all the ups and downs (and there will be many especially as you continue to grow) owning a small business is the most ideal situation (well, winning the lottery would probably be more ideal) for our family — I get to spend time with my husband, I can bring the kiddo to work and as much as I complain about the misfits (what we lovingly call our employees), they are like our family.

    Good luck!!

  • Pure2raw twins September 1, 2010, 10:35 pm

    Sorry for the late response, but being a small business is full of ups and downs…and yes never ending paperwork (taxes, accounting, and bills etc). Although over time you find a system and each year you will learn tricks, but hang in there! I know everything will work out!!! The biggest thing to remember is keep going ; )

  • Liz September 2, 2010, 11:21 am

    I am probably at about the same place in starting my business that you are in yours. Talk about frustration. Every day is something new to learn…taxes, certificates, licenses etc. And that’s all after the normal decisions that need to be made about labels, packaging and how to keep the costs down!

    What I keep reminding myself is that you get out what you put in and only my hard work is going to make my dreams successful.

    Thanks for the great post. It’s nice to feel a little less alone in the entrepreneurial world. Good Luck!!

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