I have never considered myself to be a risk-taker. As a mom, I have always tried to save a little extra here and there, and I am not one that would jump out of a plane, even for a million dollars. But I remember growing up and being told that I could be whatever I wanted to be, and I knew that ultimately, I wanted to be my own boss. Looking back, it’s hysterical, really. I mean, what does that even mean… “Be your own boss”?
With the love and support of those who are closest to me, I run a successful business, and in that, I am part of the greatest love stories on earth. The team at Let’s Elope Coeur d’Alene has helped couples make their wedding daydreams a reality, and we do it with flair. You dream your wedding day, and we make it happen, no matter how little or large the guest list.
And what most people don’t know when they look at my business now is that this is my third (maybe fourth, I stopped counting) business attempt in my life. Knowing you want to be your own boss doesn’t exactly come with an instruction manual, and I have experienced more than my share of failures in business over the last decade. I would choose something I thought I would be good at, and I would go for it only to find that I didn’t love the job I was creating. My family supported me, and I would find the courage to try something new. Sometimes it took weeks, and sometimes it took years. All the while, I worked in various leadership positions within huge companies, and I was never happy. I just needed more! If you have a great idea, or you own a business, you know what I am talking about! There must be more in life than just ‘this’ job! Please don’t get me wrong. I worked hard, and I am incredibly thankful for all the opportunities that I have had throughout my corporate career. I worked for some of the most incredible leaders in education, finance, and coaching. Those mentors helped bring me to where I am today, and for that, I am forever grateful.
In 2019, I obtained a business license for Let’s Elope Coeur d’Alene, not knowing exactly what it would turn out to be. We had a team, a social media, an office, and we were going to give it a go. In 2020, the entire world changed. My business was a tiny blip during the largest pandemic our generation has ever seen. And during the chaos, Let’s Elope provided a beacon of hope for over 250 couples, and I found my passion. As a new company, we built our world around COVID, and the safety of our clients and our families became our top priority. We cleaned more and worried a ton, but we pushed through. Our team was on fire, and we were having a great time! We were booking into the following year, and everything was coming together despite all the challenges we faced.
Little did anyone know - I was harboring a secret, and I was terrified of the next step in my business career. See, the biggest risk in ‘being your own boss’ is you actually have to take the steps to be your own boss. The truth was, I needed to quit my actual job. Most people would find this step exciting, and I found it to be incredibly difficult. With multiple failed business attempts under my belt, I wasn’t sure I was ready to make the leap. That’s right, folks. The entire time I was working to build a business, I was also working a full-time corporate job. Did I sleep? No! I was working so hard that my family was tired for me. I had to believe in myself; I had to know that I could do this on my own. I had to jump out of the plane, and when I looked around, there wasn’t a single person offering up a million dollars! But I knew that I had found my passion. This decision wasn’t about being my own boss anymore; it was about following my dream.
May 31, 2021, was the last day I worked at my corporate job. This was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made in my life and the biggest risk I have ever taken. I am now my own boss. I own my own path, and I am free to follow my passion each day. I still have bad days and good days, just like in any other job, but I am finally here. My team is amazing, and the company is growing each day.
Sharing my failed business attempts with all of you isn’t something I would normally do. But failure builds success, and it’s part of who I am today. Having the courage to close businesses that didn’t bring me joy and leaving my corporate job was ultimately the right choice for me. In finding my passion, I also realized that my dream wasn’t just about being my own boss; it was about being part of something bigger than me. So here is what I have learned: Always bet on yourself, surround yourself with motivated people, it’s totally okay to cry when you are overwhelmed, lean on your family, find a strong mentor, and when you finally find your passion… A balanced risk will yield the most successful outcomes!
“If you don’t take risks, you’ll always work for someone that does.” – Nora Denzel
Marissa Mitchell is an entrepreneur and business owner in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Over the last decade, Marissa has spent her professional career leading and coaching those around her. As an award winning event planner, she prides herself on always doing the right thing for her clients. Marissa coaches other small business owners to success and loves to cheer others on!