An Accidental Entrepreneur

by | Dec 5, 2010 | my business story, Running a Business | 32 comments

When I was a little girl, I never thought, “some day, I’m going to own my own business!”  I wanted to be an actress on Broadway.  I never took a business class in my life.  I never thought of myself as having a good business sense.  Yet, here I am.  A business owner.  Dare I say it…an entrepreneur?  I assure you, I’m an accidental one at best.

I toyed for years with selling pieces in an antique shop.  I would imagine making things that people would want to buy.  I dreamed of being featured in a magazine.  The thing that prevented me from following those thoughts and dreams was the fear of owning and running a business.  The fear of being an entrepreneur.  I thought that people were either born entrepreneurs or they weren’t.  I didn’t realize one could grow and bloom out of anyone.

Do you think you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?  Here are some qualities that will help you succeed…

A willingness to try and fail. 
If you’re one of those people who avoids any kind of failure at all cost, then starting a business is not for you.  I’ll end the suspense for all of you.  There will be times when you fail.  Spectacularly, sometimes.  There will be ideas that don’t pan out, things that don’t sell and dreams that don’t come true.  But, I’ll default to the wise words of Dory from Nemo.  If you don’t let anything happen to you, then nothing will ever happen to you.

A driven personality.
If you’re lazy and lack motivation, you’re not ever going to get anywhere.  It takes a lot of work to pursue your dreams and goals.  There are also a lot of things you have to take care of in a business that are a drag.  Finances, taxes, insurance, licenses and challenging clients.  If you don’t have the drive, you’ll quit.

A unique idea.
As Ecclesiastes says, there is nothing new under the sun.  That said, there is a way to make your business, product, idea or service unique.  It may be small and subtle differences, but that’s important.  Don’t be a copycat.

When something you were excited about fails spectacularly, you need to get up, dust yourself off and get right back at it.  Adjust, adapt, go back to the drawing board.  Be flexible to follow the path set in front of you.  I started my business as a decorative artist and now I’m a blogger, freelance writer, antique dealer and designer.   How did that happen?  Well, for one thing, I was flexible.

I just mean the common sense kind of smarts.  You don’t have to be good at everything, you just have to recognize your weaknesses and put supports in place to help you succeed.  For example, I don’t get taxes.  I’m convinced that no one understands them 100%, but I do go to an accountant, who hopefully understands them about 80%.  Since my understanding is at about 4%, my chances of success are greatly increased by hiring an accountant.  Be smart with how you run your business.

Good intuition.
You have to make sure your gut feelings are reliable and instincts are sharp.  You’re going to have to make big decisions about who to work with, who to trust, when to invest big, when to walk away.  If you’re someone who makes really bad decisions habitually, starting a business may not be for you.

Above all, you have to want it.  
Passion for your business will take you much further than any other quality.  Without that, don’t even bother.  With it, don’t let all the little details and fears stop you.

If you’re toying with starting your own counter top business and joining the ranks of the mompreneurs, check out some of my other posts on starting your business…

My Story
The Nitty Gritty
Be Worth the Risk

I write all of this in the hopes to be an encouragement to women who long to start a business, but have some fears.  I have been there and I’m here to tell you that you can do it.  Think about it.  Make sure the timing is right.  Make sure your family will encourage you in it.  Get your ducks in a row and get started.

This year has been a whirlwind for my little business.  It’s truly living up to its name.  I can’t wait to share it all with you as things continue to unfold.


  1. Beans and Buttons

    You definitely hit the nail on the head! Nothing worth having is easy…and this is not an easy industry at all….but it is awesome, fun and everchanging! The constant thrill of the hunt and the before-and-afters keep me on my toes!

  2. Cathy

    You have such sage advice for one so young. Thank you for sharing it. I'm more of a "mid-life-preneur!" lol When you reach this stage you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

  3. Just B @ Love Where You Live

    I so appreciated this post! With the support of my family and friends, I've spent the last year and a half researching and organizing a small business I know I have a talent and instinct for. A personal setback a few months ago sidetracked my plans. Your words encourage me to maybe jump back in and still see what I might be able to accomplish. Congrats on your success and thanks for your inspiring words! 🙂

  4. Becky C

    I really needed to hear this…perfect timing. Thanks for the words of encouragement. Maybe a divine appointment visiting here tonight. Appreciate you always looking out for us little guys 🙂
    Becky C

  5. Ann On and On...

    Your words are encouraging….you are inspiring. 😀

  6. Tammy

    Thanks Marian! Such great advice! I've been out fo work for 8 months and haev always been "crafty" so I've been doing more of that to make ends meet. I do have to go back to work full time but will always hope that I can have a small business where I do what I love.
    Tammy 🙂

  7. Karen

    Thank you, this post came right on time for me,just when I was starting to feel anxious because things aren't happening yesterday! You totally helped me put things in perspective. Really good advice, thanks again.

  8. Restyled Vintage

    Awesome post, Marian, I can totally relate to all of it, but could never hope to put it into words as well as you do!

    xx Karen

  9. Simply Bungalow

    Such inspiring and true words. My mom and I just opened a shop and I feel constantly overwhelmed and fulfilled all at the same time. I want to succeed but it's something I have to remind myself of daily. It's so nice to hear others advice and encouraging words. Congratulations on your success!

  10. Time Worn Style

    Words to live by, love it and very helpful to me as I am taking a big leap this and next year starting my own little bricks and mortor shop yay!

  11. Tonia

    I keep saying I'm going to do it, but this year I'm going to give it a go. You are for sure a great inspiration to follow.

  12. SueAnn

    I have lost my passion!! Hope to recharge this month and hit the ground running in January!! Thanks for the encouragement!!

  13. Dixie Sargent Redmond

    I love your generosity in sharing your "secrets" of being an accidental entrepreneur. This kind of sharing is ultimately good for everyone. I don't have an interior design, but I've become an accidental entrepreneur, too. It's deeply fulfilling when I approach it with momentum.


  14. Modern Country Lady

    Can't wait to get started!! All thanks to you by the way!! You're my inspiration .
    Bought my domains THIS WEEKEND !!!… and have ordered a book which I will read from cover to cover first.These are unmissable according to DesignSponge's website :
    Craft Inc "is a great starter books for starting up a creative or freelance business"
    There you go!!
    Thanks as always for your great advice!!

  15. Bonita

    It appears that God's message to me today is, "Don't be afraid to take a risk or to fail." He's sending it to me from every angle. Thanks for being one of those angles and offering such wise advice. I already have the business, but I'm taking a few weeks to pray about everything and upcoming changes.

  16. Heather @ Post Road

    Oh yes! Passion is key! What else will motivate you to continue with enthusiasm when it seems you are the only one enthused?

    Miss Mustard Seed- I love your can do attitude inspiring others.. women especially!

    Now let's rock girls 🙂

  17. Laura @ Just For Love

    Thank you so much for posting this today. You cannot imagine how timely it was for me. God was definitely speaking to my through YOU…just wanted you to know that : ) You're awesome, Marian! Love everything that you do, girl.

  18. Beach House Living

    Thank you so much for this and your previous posts that I just read.
    You are very kind to share help and inspiration. I've so many ideas in a notebook but at times I'm overwhelmed between getting them started and completing the work arriving in. Each purchase from my shop I take as a compliment and I hope I convey that enough to each one.

    Happy Holidays to you.

  19. Marianne@Songbird

    I am not sure if I have it in me to be an entrepreneur but watching you having a go at it sure is inspirational. Thanks for posts like this, It are the ones I keep in my inspiration file for those moments when I need to reread them.

  20. My name is Amee

    Thank you for posting this!!! I needed to hear this at this time in my life. I have actually thought some of the same things that you said is actually things I have thought before!
    Thank you again. You are totally AWESOME!!!!
    I love your BLOG!

  21. Vintage Gal

    Thank you for this post! It is full of inspiration and valuable information. And YES I do want to do it. I just started my blog and I also hope to start up a business soon.
    Awsome information. Thanks Again!

  22. Kelli@Restore Interiors

    Awe! I love DORY! When things get tough I hear her little voice saying "Just keep Swimming. Just keep swimming." Great Advice…thanks!

  23. christmasriver

    thank you so much for your inspiration! And that you won't compromise on your faith while giving this your best shot is awesome! Love your style, blessings to you,

  24. The Salvage Collection

    Do you even need one more comment about how inspiring your post was…or your blog??? A recent member of "club entrepreneurial-mom", I look to your blog every few days to keep me going and it does what I need it to do. Thank you, thank you, thank you! How you have time to do your "work", parent your children AND keep all of us inspired just amazes me. Again…THANK YOU!

  25. edward houghton

    Nice comments about how to become an business person. Needed to hear that today after some dismal sales this year.

  26. Becky

    I know the Lord is working with me always, but today I know because He brought me to this posting. Godspeed.

  27. Denise at PinkPostcard.

    Every time I need to read something like this, you seem to post it, or I seem to read it just when I need it.
    I am feeling a bit discouraged, and this was the 'chin up' that I needed. thank you.

  28. Wendy Sharpe

    Thank you so very much for taking the time and energy to share your experience and advice with us. Your honesty about the realities of starting a business is refreshing. I have been a follower of your blog for sometime and I have enjoyed every moment! You are an amazing woman! I wish you all the best!

  29. Trish

    Marian, you *are* a Godsend! I've been renting a space in an antique mall, where I paint all my vintage pieces a beautiful blue, and what I call, Romantic French. I compete with *real* antiques as well as shabby chic. To my surprise, i've attracted a few 'followers'! I have an opportunity to lease a space and am definitely passionate about what I do as well as a risk taker. Reading your blog couldn't have come at a better time~~bless you! ;


  30. Angelin

    I have read all of your “starting a business” posts as I set here today at my computer working on setting up my blog. I have teared up several times reading your posts and it is like everything I have ever felt, you have been writing. I have two boys also, ages 4 & 5, and I love being a SAHM but I too have felt “lost” many times. Thanks for your inspiration & encouragement. You have helped me with your posts and I am ready to make my dreams a reality. Looking forward to sending you a link to my blog soon for the furniture Friday.

  31. Viola

    Whether you’re a fashionista, a fashion blogger, or a fashion photographer, everyone can benefit from fashion photography blogs.
    The concept is simple: You include advertisements to the products or services
    offered by a business in a subtle yet conspicuous way somewhere on your blog.


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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