Oh the adventures of being a first time small business owner!
I have to tell you that moving from awesome idea to actual follow through is much more complicated then it seems. The number of times that I’ve been in the middle of doing something only to realize that I’ve forgotten something, or feeling like I’ve got everything under control only to realize I’ve misspelt all of my business cards (and if I can’t spell my email right, how can I ever expect customers to?)
I’ve learned in a very short time that it is easy to bite off more than you can chew. The important thing is that I realize this. I say that because I always think its better to realize there is room for improvement then thinking you’re killing it when you aren’t. In order to prove to you that I am indeed human – like anyone was questioning that – I will share with you some of my stories of my misfortunes. Fortunate for me, my business partner seems to be a bit more even keeled than I am!
So I needed some supplies and I found a wholesaler with prices that I found reasonable. I was excited! Bad news, I was running short on time and needed the supplies ASAP for a vendor show we were in that was just a few days away. Well no problem, I can make the 2 hour drive, pick up the supplies and be home in time to nail out some product and still make dinner. Joke was on me! Oh how wrong was I? What was to be a 4 hour trip turned into an 11 hour rocky adventure.
I was travelling with a friend and her son, a toddler, and we had to use the washroom. Anyone with young children knows that this means immediately. Fortunate for us there was duty-free at the same highway exit as what we needed. Score! To the right, duty-free and public washrooms and to the left our required road. So we stop, use the facilities, run to the car in the pouring rain and are off like a herd of turtles! Well here’s a little something I learned today – you can only exit from the Canadian duty-free into the US. No popping back to Canada. Talk about bad news bears. So as I’m creeping to a stop in the lane heading to the bridge I come to an even greater realization. We don’t have our passports with us (why would we, we weren’t going anywhere!). This was panic attack inducing. I knew I had to keep my cool so the kiddo in the back seat wouldn’t get upset, but let me tell you, I thought I couldn’t breath.
Lucky for me, after a few dazed seconds I spotted two kind officers examining a transport truck so I pull up and beg for assistance. I quickly explain our story about how I’m lost and while trying to hold back my tears I realize this guy is trying to hold back his laughter. Seriously?! Do you know how serious this is?! He explained how to proceed and wished us luck and pointed us to the check point we would have to go through to get back to home soil. So we hesitantly pull up to cargo border checkpoint and explained our story again. This gentleman asked if I was serious and if I thought he was really going to believe my story. I seriously almost died. All I could picture was the toddler being taken away and my friend’s and my faces splashed across the headlines for child smuggling and international kidnapping while trying to pass this ridiculous story onto the authorities. After a few minutes of questioning he told us to go on ahead and explain the story to the next people. I was mortified, how many people did I have to see? I just wanted to go home. (Looking back, I realized that I heard his radio and the other officer explaining what happened and I also didn’t catch the second guys smirking.)
We pull up to the next booth and the lady inside says $3.25 please. We were at the toll. This means we were back home. There was no one else. He was being coy.
Once we were safely from the border, I began to breathe normally again. Could you imagine that phone call home? “Mom, Dad, I’m at border patrol and I’ve been arrested for illegally entering the country.” Would not go down well. I am so thankful to the gentlemen that assisted us, and I don’t blame them for laughing. I’m sure their colleagues will enjoy my lack of navigation skills for a few days until someone else does something more entertaining. And thank goodness my friend is just as bad at directions and understands the ability to cross a border without realizing it.
I am happy to be back, with supplies, cooking up candles in my kitchen.
Oh the adventures!