When my company's president announced that the satellite office where I worked was closing down, it came as a shock. To make things worse, it was a week after my mother died and two weeks before Christmas.
But it also became an opportunity for me. For 10 years I'd dreamed of starting a greeting card company with a focus on kids with special needs. There was nothing like it in the marketplace and my goal was to change that. I had the experience, the passion, the creativity and the work ethic.
The only thing I didn't have was a product line, but that didn't stop me. I signed up for a trade show scheduled to take place three months later. I worked day and night to create a line of 24 greeting cards that I knew people with disabilities their families, friends and caregivers would embrace. And while I knew nothing about business, I researched, read and implemented a "how to start your own business 101" action plan.
We introduced Fishbowl Cards in 2009 at the MedTrade show in Las Vegas. The response was amazing and I was proud of what I had accomplished. I was 58 years old when I started my company. Most of my friends were talking about retiring, and I was talking about starting my own business in a scary economy. Yes, I will never forget that moment.
The decision to close our office was the fire I needed to start my own business. I never looked back and kept focusing on the future. I was excited and terrified at the same time, and I truly believe both were necessary for me to carry on.
I realized that I can do anything I put my mind to, at any age. All I needed was the passion, the commitment, the drive and the absolute love of what I do. I have all of those. My 29-year-old daughter has been right by my side throughout this incredible journey and I have been humbled by how proud she is of what I accomplished. Through this, I know she learned that she, too, can accomplish anything she's passionate about. That might just be my favorite accomplishment of all.