Flashback! Where Lynn Terry Was 10 Years Ago

You see that cute baby girl sitting in my lap? She is about to turn 11 years old, and she is almost as tall as me now. But back then, she was my lap buddy, and sat in my lap and wreaked havoc on my desk space while I worked from home...

I was 24 when that picture was taken, she was somewhere around the age of 1. It was 1997.

Most of you are familiar with my start-up story, and the crazy risks I took to leave my job as a Unix Sys Admin in a small town to start my first business.

Everyone I mentioned it to, including my husband who was involved, thought it was nuts - to which I replied "Ahhh pfft - we can always go out and get another job if this doesnt pan out. It's no big deal."

True enough ;) And fortunately I've never had to.

My first business was an electronic repair shop. I was married at the time and my husband was the best damn technician around. There wasnt anything he couldnt fix, and I always joked that man would build me a time machine one day.

While I didnt have any formal education, I figured I could manage a business and run an office as good as any girl could - and was motivated enough to learn as I went. I had not had much luck in the local job market, usually holding a job but never anything fulfilling or that paid enough to even get by. My husband wasnt even as lucky as that, and was out of work more often than not.

We had four children between us - 2 his, 1 mine, and 1 ours - to raise on my one check that was usually not much more than minimum wage. Well, that and all the overtime I could get.

So call it crazy if you will, but crazier would have been to do nothing at all.

We had nothing to start on. We didnt even have business cards or phone lines, mind you - and we started "the shop" out of our home. My husband had an awesome skill though, and as naive and in love with him as I was, I was 100% confident that he could out-fix any technician in the state.

So that's what I sent him out to do. He visited every "competitor" within range, and offered to fix their "dogs" (the electronics they deemed "NWR" - not worth repair). Day after day he came home with the worst repair jobs imaginable, and fixed almost all of them.

It wasnt long before our reputation afforded us a phone line and yellow page ads, a small sign out front and a few luxuries - like a desk and a workbench.

And within 6 months I was writing a new business plan, and scouting professional shop space. The picture you see to the left is the building we moved the business into that same year - with over 5,000 sq ft of showroom, 8 offices and a warehouse.

We had a HUGE sign painted to go out front, which is what you see drying there in that picture. It didnt meet "codes" - but hey, I was learning as I went. And we did hang that sign, and nobody ever made a fuss over it. We were "in business"!

The kids were almost 1, 6, 6 and 9 years old... and they loved every minute of it. We were both home full time for them, and even when we moved the business into the shop they were there anytime we were.

It was hectic some days, but for the most part the kids found ways to enterain themselves. Just look how many kids you can fit into computer speaker boxes! -->

That first year in the shop, I had taken a major interest in computers and so I bought the parts for 6 full systems and we put them together and set them up.

I had already gotten into web development by then, and expanded into computer training classes and network gaming tournaments (we played Quake II and my screen name was "Queen"). We did custom builds for gamers, I had classes in the evenings, all on top of our usual daily business of electronic repair.

My son was somewhere between kindergarten and 1st grade at that point, and he took a genuine interest in computers and gaming.

He's almost 16 now, and more interested in a dedicated server than a drivers license.

He is about to release his first game into beta version :D

The shop was running great, complete with plenty of customers and employees. Days were filled with ringing phones, walk-ins, repairs and insurance claims. Evenings were taken up with computer training classes or network game tournaments. The kids were present and involved in almost every aspect of our business... and life was good.

As if I wasnt already busy enough, I launched Web Service Network that same year, and put together an international web development team. What can I say - I like a challenge (as long as I have enough caffiene to keep up lol).

A year or so later my husband walked out on our marriage. A sad time for sure, but all turned out fine in the end. I gave him the shop in the divorce, and I took the web dev business. And that, my friends, is how it all started... :D

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 15 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»

Discussion

  1. Lynn, how interesting to hear your story! You are for sure a go-getter!!! Wow.

    Thanks for sharing. I feel inspired!

    Lynn

  2. What great can be said about Lynn Terry that hasn't been published on the World Wide Web already?

    You are an impressive woman andhave my admiration and respect.

  3. Wow. I really enjoyed reading your story. I'll have to add your blog to mine. :)

  4. ATTA Girl, Lynn!

    You're definitely an inspiration for anyone that wants to succeed online (and even offline).

    I know I've learned alot from you, not just about marketing online, but in dealing with people in general.

    Thanx!

    Rick Wilson aka CorpRebel 8)

  5. Rob Sellen says:

    Great stuff Lynn.

    Your duaghter has sure grown up fast!

    Where as yourself...
    Like fine wine.. better with age ;)

    Great to see your story and did you ever get that time machine made? :)

    Rob

  6. Uh - no - LOL, but that's another story all in itself ;)

    Thank you for the kind words! I ran across these pics the other day and thought you guys might enjoy them too :)

  7. Lynn, your story reminds me so much of my own. I have a picture of every business location we had, staff, and I have a ton of kids in the store pics too. I wish I could say it brought back wonderful memories but it didn't. When I see your pictures, I see the hard work that goes into all of that. I used to say, blood, sweat, and tears, literally. Your story is truly inspiring, and glad to learn more about you Lynn. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Angela Wills says:

    Wow Lynn what an awesome story! Thank you for sharing and what an amazing example you set for others who want to do what you did :)

    Angela

  9. I think you should be commended for taking a bad situation and making it work in your favor. You go, girl!

  10. Wow Lynn... I had never read your story before. That is awesome and thanks for sharing! Just goes to show you we don't need any man lol to get us anywhere ;) hehe

  11. Thank you all for your kind comments :) Glad you enjoyed this little 'blast from the past'!

    RE: Men, To be fair my husband was a great father at the time, and very supportive of my (crazy) goals. While the majority of my business success has happened since the divorce, I look back on my marriage as a great starting point for it all.

  12. It's great to hear how it all got started for you, Lynn! I'm so glad you shared!

  13. Hi Lynn,

    It was a nice read.

    Thanks for sharing. I admire your never-day-die spirit.

    I'm on my own journey as well. Things are moving just as I want it. Could have been better though. And I'm always striving ahead.

    Best of luck to you! I'll be checking back here again!

    Warmly,
    Jag

  14. Wonderful story Lynn. Wow I am just intrigued and inspired by you. You are truly awesome!

  15. Dear Lynn,

    U r a gr8 inspiration for us !!!!!

  16. Thank you :)

  17. Margaret Hampton says:

    Thanks, Lynn, for sharing your story. It's very moving, but so awesome that you could have your children around. Nothing is more special!

    Seems a lot of us have had some incredibly tough times, but I'm so happy your husband was supportive during those early years - allowing you to spread your wings and grow.

    And I'm glad you chose this industry. That gave you an incredible advantage over so many of us who were striving in other arenas. So thank you for being our friend and helping us "catch up."

    The children... I keep coming back to the children... I blinked twice and turned around, and my "baby" is in Law School! It happens so fast! And thankfully we've been so close always, especially needing each other when my husband died in 1993. I only have one child, but I understand single parenthood and no one to back you up.

    But Hey! Your incredible 16-year-old is someone I could surely use on my team! I can tell you've been an awesome mother and teacher - the biggest compliment and the toughest job - in addition to being a great professional and person we all admire! God bless you!

  18. Its amazing how time passes, isnt it? I look at the pictures and it seems like another lifetime... I try VERY hard to live every day with them to its absolute fullest, knowing it wont be long know before they move out and move on.

    It was great to meet you in Atlanta, Margaret :D Thanks for the kind words and the heartfelt comment!

  19. Thank you for sharing your story-- it's very inspirational!

  20. You are a great inspiration. And that is what I need right now.

  21. Peter Trapanese says:

    My God it never moves me one way or the other when I hear how foolish humans can be. Your husband had a dedicated, smart, hard working, wonderful family, and may I respectfully point out a quite beautiful wife! I think you are not sharing the part where he was drinking heavily, and on drugs when he made the decisions to leave, lol... I learned a long time ago just how much and often humans can be a constant source of disappointment... My senses tell me that you like myself have learned that the only one that can make me truly happy, and secure in life is myself. It took some time but eventually after enough disappointment I realized that Until I was able to first make myself happy I wasn't going to be able to find it through or with another.

    Up here where I am from there are those we refer to as "Good People, Kind Souls", although I have not met you face to face you are apparently fit quite well into that category. Thanks for the glimpse inside...

    Peter Trapanese

  22. Thank you Peter. A very high compliment and very much appreciated. And yes, a lesson learned the hard way for sure... but with true happiness as the prize, no complaints!

  23. :) Really admire what you have achieved!

  24. Very inspiring

  25. you're an inspiration, lynn. thank you for sharing your story. adding you to my blogroll. cheers!

  26. Hakan The Mindset Man says:

    Lynn,
    loved reading your personal story on how you started out in business.
    It reminded me of one of my mentors taught me, if you have a dream or goal, start from wherever you are right now.
    So often I come across people who say, I'll start when I ...
    Find right opportunity ... Find the money ... Have a office/desk .... Get business cards ... etc...
    My motto is if your not prepared to take action today move you to where you want to go, chances are your not going to tomorrow.

  27. Sophie Rey says:

    Great stories...wishing you a great success ahead.

    As a newbie to internet marketing for the last 4 months, how should I start with?

    I launched my first webpage selling my first ebook and haven't got any subscribers to my mailing lists, not to mention zero buyers.

    Thanks...

  28. Thanks for sharing your story. Very inspiring and motivating......

Trackbacks

  1. [...] my sources of online income have changed a lot over the years, actually. I am approaching 11 full years in business, and about to begin my 12th year. When I [...]

  2. [...] I started my first business, my initial goals were to be home with and for my children. I had been working long hours [...]

  3. [...] a lot of quality time with my children. I’ve been a full-time “stay at home mom” since they were 5 months old and 5 years [...]

  4. [...] held weekly training classes at my shop, I offered on-site training to local merchants that wanted to integrate the internet into their [...]

  5. [...] did have a plan, which was just some scribbled out notes and ideas on a legal pad. This was for my first business, which was an offline partnership with my husband. My second business was also an offline venture, [...]

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