Dirty Confessions of an Entrepreneur: What I Never Told You

IN: Business 101

I have a confession to make.

Not about the time I was a cold, unfeeling bitch.

Or the time I fell in uncontrollably in love with an illegal Mexican immigrant who lied to me for 7 months about his real name.

Nor about the time I mixed oatmeal and hot sauce and secretly liked it.

(Just kidding–what kind of a sicko would actually do that?)

No, no. This confession has to do with my business.  And with you.  In a roundabout sort of way.

It’s a dirty confession. And you might question my morals as a result. And think less of me. And fly to Chile to egg my house. Or send someone else to do it. (Please pick someone attractive so at least we can make out afterward.)

Are you ready for it?

I’m gonna take a deep breath and then just blurt it out.

Errr….type it out.

Here it goes.


The confession is this: For the past seven months, I’ve been running my business on an old, used Acer netbook.

There, I said it.  And don’t you dare laugh at those stickers.  I’ll get to them in a minute.

But first, have you ever worked on a netbook? If so, you’d know that the processor is incredibly slow (oftentimes you type and the words don’t show up right away), the keyboard is more than cramped (helllllo, carpal tunnel), there’s virtually no memory, and unicorns don’t come flying out of the screen like they did on my old Macbook. (Whatever, you didn’t work on my Macbook so you can’t prove that I’m lying.)

To top things off, this particular netbook did not run on a typical operating system, i.e. Windows or Mac, but rather, it ran on Linux. And Jolicloud. And don’t even ask me how they fit together. And don’t even ask me how I figured it all out.

So I guess the real question that remains to be answered is…why?

Well, aside from any theories relating to masochism, there’s a few reasons.  But I do believe a story is in order.  So gather ’round, ya’ll.

Once upon a time, there was an entrepreneur.

A sassy entrepreneur.

And once upon a time, that entrepreneur decided to actually spend some time cleaning her house.

As she dusted and danced, swept and mopped, she was overwhelmed with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.

Until it happened.

Right as she was about to finish, she did one last twirl with broom in hand, belting the lyrics to Britney Spears’ One More Time, and at that very moment, before she could realize what was happening, her broomstick made contact with the glass of water sitting atop her dresser, and SPLASH went the water all over the place.

Including all over her desk, where her Macbook patiently lie awaiting her return.

She ran to it, grasping the Macbook in her arms, pleading with it to hold on, as a tear silently fell down her cheek. It was approximately as dramatic as the final scenes in Titanic.  “I’ll never let go, Mac, I’ll never let go!” she cried.

But unfortunately, it was too late.

A few days later, a funeral was held. It was a sad, sad day.

Even more unfortunately, the time her Macbook died was right around the same time she had hit an all-time low; work wasn’t flowing in freely, and she was struggling to make ends meet. She even had to take one of those scammy pay-day loans in order to make it through. (That’s a lie–she actually had to take two.)

She certainly couldn’t swing $2,000 for a new one.

Enter:  Andrew Norcross.

Him:  “Ash – To tide you over, I’ll sell you a netbook that I never use for $50.”

Me:  “Done and done.  Here’s my address.”

And that, friends, explains the stickers. Which, by the way, always got me strange looks when I was in Starbucks, dressed up in pearls and high heels. Which always made me giggle. (Love you, Norcross!)

Shortly thereafter, business got a whole lot better again.

Mostly because instead of just producing witty copy for clients (still my favorite thing to do) and relying on feast or famine, I launched an ebook began taking on web strategy clients again, and made a goal to hit $97K this year–a lot of which I’m doing through the creation of systems.

  • Do you know I wrote and published my entire eBook with severe cramps in my hands while using a $50 netbook adorned with heavy metal stickers?
  • Do you know I spoke with clients via a buggy, beta version of Skype for Linux that sometimes worked, and sometimes didn’t?
  • Do you know how embarrassing it was to be on a recorded interview with someone, and have it constantly break up?
  • Do you know that I actually cried over it more than once?-

Yet, even though business picked up, I was still terrified–absofuckinglutely terrified–of being back in a situation like I had been in the past, with $26 in my bank account, sleeping in my car.

So I vowed to make due.

I vowed to wait it out.

I vowed to make the best of what I had.


I told myself that once I pulled in $5K for the month, I would reward myself with a new Macbook.  That, or once the heavy metal netbook eventually bit the dust.

Ironically enough, both happened just this past month.

For the month of March, I generated $5,742.42 in revenue as a blogger and digital entrepreneur–2.5 times what I was making at my last job in corporate America. Then, just last week, the heavy metal netbook–my lifeline and savior for the past 7 months–saw it’s very last browser window, before refusing to turn on ever again.

The time had arrived.

I marched down to the Apple store, and am now proudly typing on a shiny new Mac. To my dismay, the price was about $200 more than it is in the states; here in Chile, electronics are rather pricey. But I didn’t care. I deserved it.  Hooray, margaritas for everyone.

The reason why I’m telling you this story is this:

If you want to start a business, you’ve got no excuse as to why you can’t make it work.

If you want to start a business, you’ve got to be scrappy, hustle, and charge forward regardless.

If you want to start a business, you’ve got to make the best of what you’ve got, and have faith that the best of what you’ve got will get better.

If you want to start a business, you’ve got to find opportunity in the gloomiest of situations, and leverage it with every ounce of energy you can muster, until you’re absolutely exhausted–and then wake up and do it all over again.

If you want to start a business, you’ve got to forget your pride, be humble, and DO WHAT IT TAKES.

But most of all, if you want to start a business, you’ve got to start thinking like someone in business.

Sometimes this means working smart. Sometimes it means working hard. Sometimes it means knowing when to cut your losses. And sometimes it means knowing when to celebrate them.

But no matter what, being successful in business always means having the relentless perseverance to overcome hurdles, not just by jumping over them, but by smashing through them with all your might.

Because even though it may hurt a little at first, eventually the path will be clear up ahead.

As long as no one flies to Chile to egg your house, that is.