A follow-up to starting slow

In yesterday’s post I encouraged people to move slowly if they are considering leaving a current job to begin something new and to move slowly once they begin a new business or career. My own experience has proven this to be good advice.

For the past 14 years I have served in a ministry position within our denomination. One of the things I enjoy doing is attending auctions, buying items and reselling them in booths I have at an antique mall and flea market. As I thought about my upcoming retirement and was considering what I might do in retirement, I decided to get my auctioneer’s license and start an auction company.

Three years ago I took the courses Indiana requires and passed the test to become a licensed auctioneer. I began to advertise, but nothing was happening. People continued to go to the established auctioneers in the area so I began to work for them. I often worked the ring, and the auctioneers would allow me to sell some of the lower end items while they took a break. Much of this work was unpaid. I did earn a few paychecks when I worked a big auction, but most of what I did was for experience. I was also introduced at each auction so people began to connect me with the auction business.

I earned my auctioneer’s license in January and never had my own auction that entire year. In November of that year I rented a building for an auction in January of the next year. My wife asked if I had anything to auction, and I reminded her I had an entire garage full of things I’ve bought over the years. I had plenty to sell even if no one else wanted me to sell for them. Interestingly enough, when I advertised a date when I would have an auction, people started consigning items to sell. I ended up selling very few of my own items. That year I had seven auctions and continued to work for other auctioneers (only this time I was being paid). I was still getting experience and getting before the public.

The auctions I could do was limited by the fact that I was still working full-time in my ministry position. But, that was OK because it allowed me to grow the auction business slowly and not move so fast that I became overwhelmed.

On December 31, 2015 I retired from my ministry position, and I plan on having many more auctions in 2016. My business is set up, I have three years experience in the industry, I have a great staff who help me, and I am becoming better known as an auctioneer in this area.

Moving slowly when you are ready to shift from a job to begin something new isn’t always easy for an entrepreneur. Too often, we take the ready-fire-aim approach, and that can get you in trouble. Take your time. Build relationships with people already doing what you want to do. Learn, learn, learn everything you can before you jump into a new career. Much of what I needed to know about the auction business was not taught in the classes I took. Classes in any field of work cannot  teach you all the practical things you need to know about anything, so you need to learn as much as you can from those who are already in the field.

Moving slowly won’t guarantee your success, but it will make it more likely that you will succeed.


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