Are You Ready To Expand Your Business? Entrepreneurial Adventures in Austin

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welcome to texas

“Everybody has to leave, everybody has to leave their home and come back

so they can love it again for all new reasons.”  

Donald Miller

Growing my business has been a whirlwind experience. Four years after starting Ali Specialties, I began to see the hard work pay off in a big way. In 2013, our team achieved our goal in sales and I opened up my first office in Ybor City. My single-minded focus and determination to execute the vision had come true and the company’s rapid growth caught the attention of the local business community, earning us the #7 spot on the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s “Fast 50” list. We were recognized as a finalist for Small Business  of the Year and I was a finalist for Business Woman of the Year (Young Category).

But what does one do after hitting their far-fetched  goals? For me, it was time to start working towards the bigger vision and long-term goals of the company, which was to grow additional sales territories and expand our Tampa office. I wanted to begin planting the seeds for expansion in Austin, Texas. However, it wasn’t quite as spontaneous as it sounds. In fact, I talked and talked and talked about this goal for an entire year before I pulled the trigger.

Why the delay? The usual suspects: fear, anxiety, doubt. What if I fail? Will I make friends? What if I’m homesick? I have a good thing going here. Why on Earth would I want to start all over again? Regardless of whether my plan was sound or logical, I found myself longing to implement it more and more as time went on. I couldn’t fight it. It felt bigger than me, almost as if the whole thing was predetermined long ago and I was  just delaying the inevitable.

I flew to Austin, TX for the first time in May 2013 and it was everything that I had envisioned and more. How many things in life can you say that about? When I returned home, I continued to daydream about spending time out West and expanding the business, but then the reality of being  away from everything and everyone I knew would start to creep in and I’d waver.

Why did I ultimately decide  to take the plunge? While not a particularly dramatic climax, I can point to the exact moment when I made up my mind. I even remember the date – August 22nd, 2014. As a past recipient, I was asked to attend the Business Woman of the Year Conference as a mentor. I woke up and I just could not get motivated anymore. I knew I needed a change. I attended the event, but I felt complacent. I didn’t have refreshing new ideas to discuss, I was lacking passion, and I instinctively knew that if I did not make a change soon, this attitude would begin to manifest itself and have a detrimental impact on my life, my company, and my brand.

I left the event early and packed one suitcase full of clothes. I loaded my three dogs in the car and set out on the 16-hour drive to Austin for a 10-day trial run. Ten days later I signed a lease and have been splitting my time between Tampa and Austin ever since. It proved to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. I will continue to share my journey as a young entrepreneur in a new city – stay tuned for updates on my latest adventures.

Today I challenge you to do something that will inspire you. Go for the dream job you have been eyeing. Move to a city you dreamed of living in, go skydiving. Regret is far scarier than making the wrong decision.  Go out there and do it!


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