Keeping Your Chin Up for Your Startup

When it comes to running a startup, it’s important to maintain an optimistic attitude for a variety of reasons. Here’s how to keep your chin up when starting your own business, brought to you by Deborah Sweeney of MyCorporation.

This post is brought to you by Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com.

When it comes to running a startup, the reality of the business more often than not outweighs the expectations. Conventional wisdom is that entrepreneurs shouldn’t expect to immediately pull the same salary running a business that they did while working for another company. During your first, and probably your second, year of business, most of what you earn is going to be invested right back into the company. On a financial level, that can be really disappointing, especially if you left a particularly well-compensated position to run your own business. But if you let pessimism take hold, it can have a very real, and very dire, impact on your startup – an impact that can easily be avoided if you think positively.

Optimists Make Better Leaders

To lead, you need to be enthusiastic. To be enthusiastic, you need to be optimistic. No one wants to work for the sad sack that spends the day mired in pessimism and regret. Your employees are going to mirror your energy, and if you aren’t optimistic about your company, they won’t be either. In fact, they may feel like it isn’t really worth working at all since the business is doomed anyway, creating a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Even if your startup salary is a bit lower than you’d like, you should still stay confident and happy – you are running your own company and get to be your own boss! Enjoy yourself, and look for the light even when it gets dark.

Optimists Cope with Pressure

Running a business involves solving a lot of problems. How are you going to turn a profit? How are you going to find new customers? What parts of your business should you invest in? Pay close attention and put in some thought when it comes to answering these questions. If you take a misstep, even once, your brief stumble could become a full-on free fall off the face of a cliff. That puts a lot of pressure on you, but if you remain optimistic, you can adapt and adjust to any situation because you earnestly believe things will turn out okay. Perseverance is one of the very best ways to handle the stress of running your own business. Meet your problems head on, persevere through the rocky patches, and savor the good times when you can.

Optimists See Opportunity

You started your business because you saw an opportunity. Many of you reading may have, in fact, started your business in the middle of a recession, something most people wouldn’t try. Success as an entrepreneur is dependent on the ability to see the broader picture, and pick up on subtle cues and hints as to where a market is headed. If doom and gloom cloud your sight, you’ll convince yourself that your vision is faulty and thus never see any opportunity.

Now don’t get me wrong – irrational optimism is as useless as irrational pessimism. But running a successful startup requires you to believe in the sustainability of your company. The mere act of leaving a salaried job to chase a dream requires an optimistic outlook, so it is up to you to cling to it and continue to let it guide you. Remember to have faith in yourself, and in your business – if you don’t, no one else will either.

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @deborahsweeney and @mycorporation.

Shoeboxed Team Spotlight: Camden Carver

In this Team Spotlight, you’ll get to know one of our all-star Account Managers, Camden Carver. Read on to get to know how Camden’s helping us grow – and have some fun in the process.

It’s time for everyone’s favorite monthly feature: The Shoeboxed Team Spotlight! Each month we interview a member of our team so you can get to know the people helping you get organized.

In this month’s spotlight, we’re thrilled to introduce another member of the Shoeboxed team:

camden4Camden Carver, one of our all-star Account Managers! Camden joined the Shoeboxed team a little over a year ago, and he’s been delighting customers and contributing to the company’s growth ever since.  Without further ado, here’s your chance to learn more about Camden and how he’s helping take Shoeboxed to new heights.

Shoeboxed: Hey, Camden! Thanks for taking a break from talking to customers to chat with me! Let’s start with you sharing a little background on yourself up until joining the team.

Camden CarverCamden Carver: Well, I was born and raised in Oxford, NC– about a half an hour north of Durham. It’s a quaint little town full of historical homes and great southern cooking. It’s nothing special, but it’s home so I love it.  I’ve lived the past nine out of ten years in Raleigh where I took a very scenic route through NC State. Having spent so much time in Raleigh and on campus, naturally I’m a big Wolfpack fan. (Some years are tougher than others.)

SBX: You guys have made the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament for the last two years though, right?! That’s pretty solid. Anyway, how did you come to join Shoeboxed?

CC: I found out about Shoeboxed through a recruiter I was in touch with after graduating from State in the spring of 2012. After doing a little research and interviewing at the office, I knew it would be a good fit and luckily got hired that same day.

SBX: I guess we could tell you were the right fit right away. :) So can you tell everyone a bit about what you do here?

CC: When I’m not sweating out a ping pong game or singing in the Shoeboxed band, I spend most of my time on the sales team where I’m reaching out to potential Shoeboxed customers.

SBX: You’ll have to let our readers know when you guys play your first out-of-office gig! So besides getting to talk to our awesome users every day, what’s your favorite part of your job?

CC: The fact that I enjoy it! I hear so many of my friends talking about how they hate going to work, and they’re always counting the hours and days to the weekend– that’s never been the case for me. I don’t mind showing up to Shoeboxed in the morning. The work is rewarding and the people are second to none.

SBX: I think we all agree with that– we have a great team and work environment. What’s your favorite aspect of working here? Personally, I really like the fresh fruit and Tazo teas in the break room… and listening to the Shoeboxed band on Friday afternoons, of course.

CC: There’s so much open space! No cubicles, no corner offices, everyone is out in the open, and I think that promotes a great sense of community within the office.

SBX: Indeed it does. So far the questions have been pretty easy, so here’s a challenging one: describe yourself in three words.

CC: Ping pong king.

SBX: Ha! So where would we find you when you’re not at the office?

Camden SingingCC: In the summer, I’m probably out on the lake fishing and boating with friends and family. In the fall, you can probably find me somewhere near Carter-Finley stadium supporting the Wolfpack football team. I used to sing in college and I definitely miss it, so I’m always looking for opportunities to do that in a more organized setting. Whether I’m actually a good singer is up for debate, but someone did tell me recently that I could “carry a tune” so that was refreshing. Not.

SBX: We’ve all heard you at the weekly Shoeboxed band jams… the consensus around here is that you’re not a good singer, sorry! Just kidding– you’re a great singer. Anyway, give us your best tip for staying organized.

CC: To-do lists are something I’ve recently incorporated into my life and they are super helpful in making sure procrastination doesn’t take over halfway through the day.

SBX: I love to-do lists; I don’t know how people function without them! Now switching gears… what’s your favorite part about our hometown of Durham, NC?

CC: I love the American Tobacco Campus. Grabbing a beer at Tyler’s in the summer before going to see the Durham Bulls play is always fun– win or lose. The food scene in Durham has really been blowing up lately as well. It seems like I’m always hearing about a new restaurant or cafe to check out.

ShooterSBX: You’re right; there’s always something new opening up. We did win the title of Tastiest Town in the South, after all! Here’s another toughie: what’s your best purchase so far in life?

CC: That would definitely have to be my puppy, Shooter. I got him back in August and we quickly became best friends. He’s still young so he gets into as much trouble as one dog possibly can, but I love him.

SBX: He is precious! We all love it when Shooter visits the office. :) So to wrap this up, give us your six word memoir.

CC: Life is a garden. Dig it.

SBX: Perfect. Thanks for taking the time to chat and let our readers get to know you better, Camden!

Stay tuned next month for an interview with another awesome Shoeboxed team member, and in the meantime, stay organized out there!

Shoeboxed Shenanigans: Smashing Pumpkins Edition

Shoeboxed Shenanigans gives you a glimpse into fun(ny) happenings here at Shoeboxed HQ. In this edition, you’ll find out what we did with our pumpkins after a fun Halloween celebration in the office.

Shoeboxed Shenanigans is a weekly feature that gives you a glimpse into our lives here at Shoeboxed HQ. Each installment will share a story about our office, the people in it,  or a something fun we did to take a break from keeping the world organized. Even organized superheroes like us deserve a break every once in a while, right? Anyway, we’re not the most serious group of individuals so read on and enjoy!

Smashing Pumpkins, Shoeboxed Style

Wednesdays are rough. You’re halfway through the week, but there’s still half of it left. No matter how much we love our jobs, who doesn’t love the weekend? In order to make it to the light at the end of the tunnel that is the weekend, we usually stick to this soon-to-be -classic commercial to get us up and over Hump Day. However, when you compound a Wednesday with the first cold front of the season, you can see why this particular morning was a toughie. So what did we do to get ourselves through the frigid mid-week blues? We ventured out into the cold and faced the impending winter head-on.

The leftover decorations from our Fall Fest were just dying to be used again, so the team filed out to the parking lot with a couple of pumpkins in tow. We asked ourselves one very simple question: what can you do with pumpkins aside from using them for decorative purposes? The answer was clear, eat them or smash them. We chose the latter. With that bold choice came the subsequent decision: how?

We decided to throw the pumpkins at the structure in the back of our parking lot. The rules were as follows: an individual must stand with their back towards the structure and fling the pumpkin as high as they could. Hopefully this would result in the pumpkin smashing and raining down upon us.

We had some close shots:

Shoeboxed Pumpkins 1

And some not so close shots:

Shoeboxed Pumpkins 2

Regardless, the end result was quite satisfying:

Shoeboxed Pumpkins 3

So there you have it! A Shoeboxed office adventure that got us through the work week and boosted team morale.  Looking back on it, the pumpkin smashing was a way for us to say goodbye to Halloween and the early fall holidays and mentally prepare ourselves for Thanksgiving and winter. Goodbye pumpkins and leaves, hello turkeys and snow! Each season and holiday brings new food and traditions to revel in, and pumpkin smashing is now one of those new traditions at the Shoeboxed HQ.

What do you do to spice up your life at the office? Any cool holiday traditions we should try? Let us know in the comments!