Originally published March 2015

I’m now counting the time of the Self-Employment Experiment in months and years instead of weeks, and am praying I will survive what will forever be referred to as “The Gauntlet Year.” At two years, eight months, I have hit the inevitable period where most new businesses have blown through the initial excitement and optimism, start-up capital is gone and stuff starts to get really rocky. Equipment breaks, there are slowdowns and miscommunications because there are still soooo many things you didn’t anticipate. There’s just enough business to keep you working ridiculous hours but not enough cash flow to fix anything or hire help. The prize in in sight, but the legs are giving out.

And then I found this awesome video of something called The Gauntlet Games in England, and it reminded me a lot of what business is like during “The Gauntlet Year.” Taking certain things too seriously and never stopping to remember little victories can blow start-ups off the obstacle course just as they turn the corner for home. You must run “The Gauntlet” with a sense of humor, flexibility and always with use the little victories as guideposts. Those who don’t get leveled.

So deep breath and a glance over my shoulder at how far I’ve come. KLCreative has served more than 45 businesses, non-profits and creative entrepreneurs in less than three years. Some have stayed with me since the beginning, others have taken the reins and ridden the plans we made to great success. There are many little victories and I know there are bigger ones to come.

Yes running the gauntlet year has been difficult. But this is where things really get interesting.