New on the A Dot scene, I’m very excited to introduce myself, Rachael, as one half of the new partnership that is Plan A Nipissing; operating out of North Bay as of exactly 15 days ago. You may remember my business partner, Sarah Hargan, for her blog contribution to the A Dot back in May. Sarah has been working for Plan A in various designations since 2012, and as you can read in her post, has loved every moment of her Plan A career.
With my background in business and communication, and Sarah’s practical knowledge as both an RPN and RN, I like to think we make a pretty perfect team. While this business partnership may be new for Sarah and I, the truth is that we’ve been in cahoots for give-or-take 23 years. Babies in business suits? Not exactly…We’re sisters!
While Sarah and I navigate the months and years to come, we know there will be unique challenges. We anticipate growing pains, learning curves, and valuable lessons learned along the way. We hope that by sharing our journey with you, we might be a catalyst for others, making the path into franchising and business ownership a transparent one.
As we settle in for our third Monday on the job, we thought we would share with you two realizations from our first two weeks:
- You’re your best as yourself, don’t fight it. One becomes an entrepreneur first and foremost because they trust themselves, in who they are and what they are capable of. While our doors may have opened on November 7th, our Plan A journey first hatched in early August. Before this, Sarah and I had both spent months backpacking; unsure of what our next steps would be. Looking back on the last four months we have experienced an identity shift like never before. As young professionals it can be a challenge to merge personal and professional roles, feeling like we’re wearing someone else’s shoes. Already, we have realized that there is no benefit to wearing shoes that don’t fit. Am I stretching this shoe imagery? – Stay with me – We’ve found that in community interactions, interviews, and client negotiations, being ourselves serves us best. For us, this means being honest about our strengths and weaknesses, asking lots of questions – and most important to us, making a point to enjoy it all. While we’re not claiming to have become experts at this overnight, we are claiming that we’ve discovered the importance of authenticity as a practice in both personal and professional sustainability.
- Knowing and appreciating the strength of your network. If it takes a village to raise a child, we’re certain it takes at least that to launch a business. While Sarah and I may be the face of Plan A in North Bay, it is more than our strengths, wisdom and hard work that contribute to its’ success. Being a franchise, we have inherited a team of unbelievably passionate, dedicated, and smart women. On a daily basis these ladies have provided answers, encouragement, and an embodiment of what it takes to be A-Team quality. As if this weren’t enough, we have seen a tribe of family, friends, and new community contacts who have gone above and beyond to prepare, support, and empower us. The lesson here is recognizing that we are not alone, and humbly acknowledging that all of our future accomplishments will rest on an array of external contributions.
That’s all for now, but every month or so we will be dropping back in to share highlights from North Bay, the N-Dot… Not quite as smooth, but we’ll work on it!
Until next time…