Startup Diaries: Business Ownership Comes With a Price

[Startup Diaries is a new original series of articles from Yahoo! Small Business Advisor that chronicles the day-to-day and week-to-week struggles of a variety of startup and new small businesses.]

Art Cardenas owns The Fit Pit, a fully equipped professional boxing gym in Austin, Texas. The gym, which opened in January 2011, is still growing and now has plans for expansion. 

This evening, while doing a stretching routine, I felt a familiar twinge of pain around my right knee. The pain, though unpleasant at times, is a reminder of the challenges that I have had to face since opening my boxing gym.

In early November 2010, I began the process of ordering equipment for the facility. This included heavy bags, speed bags, jump ropes, and a 16-foot boxing ring. The ring was handcrafted to my specifications by a company located in Kansas and was scheduled for delivery in the latter part of November. I was advised by the delivery company that their policy was to only move the components of the ring to the lip of the truck. I would be responsible for unloading it off of the truck. I was also told that it would be wise, due to the large amount of materials and hardware, to have other individuals on hand to assist me.

The weather conditions on the scheduled delivery date consisted of freezing rain and sleet. I had three friends on standby to help unload the truck. As sunset approached, the delivery truck had yet to arrive. I contacted the company to inquire and was informed that the delivery had been delayed to the following day due to the weather.

Unfortunately, my friends were unable to assist me the next day. I was left with unloading the ring on my own -- this was no easy task. The ring consisted of more than 3,000 pounds of wood, steel, ropes, and other hardware. It took over an hour to unload.

As the delivery truck pulled away, I celebrated my success with what could best be described as a victory dance. It was during my celebration that I began to feel a sharp pain around my right knee. The pain persisted for several weeks and I was eventually diagnosed with a slightly torn meniscus. I have been able to manage the pain with an occasional dose of ibuprofen and exercise. Every now and then, usually while stretching, I feel the pain. It is a reminder of the challenges I have faced since opening my business.

Other colleagues have said that business ownership is rewarding but comes with a price. The rewards for me have been the ability to build a business from the ground up, doing something I love to do, and continued learning and growth. The price has been long hours, sometimes-tedious work (bookkeeping), and the occasional sore muscles and ligaments.

Would I do it all over again if I had the chance? Yes, I would.

Lesson learned: Small business ownership does have its challenges. Overcoming the challenges can lead to learning and growth.

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