From the October 1999 issue of Startups

We know how Scott Fiore deals with red tape. His views on customer service have been spread nationwide. But what kind of heart and mind rest within this familiar stranger whom you've come to know these past nine months simply as "owner of Littleton, Colorado, natural pharmacy The Herbal Remedy"? Do the stresses of small business make him weep at night? Does transcendental meditation ease his transition to post-work downtime? No . . . but our dear Fiore is one driven being. Read on, and get to know how your new friend, Scott, deals with the psychological side effects of entrepreneurship.

Half of being an entrepreneur means realizing there are inherent risks. In realizing the risks, you accept failure as a possibility. But if you're Fiore, 32, you just don't fail. "I don't fail well," he says. "I haven't [failed well] my whole life--at sports or anything else."

Just because he refuses to become a small-business statistic, however, doesn't mean Fiore's never felt the pain of days when the only thing to do is rearrange bottles on the shelves. Take, for instance, the scene at The Herbal Remedy in its first month: "You get everything ready, do your marketing, have your grand opening, and the customers are just trickling in," he says. "You're talking to half a dozen people a day, and going `Oh my God, this is not going to be good.' "

In times of doubt, Fiore prefers to look inward and muster every last shred of optimism, rather than vent his issues to friends and family. "You can drag everybody into it and get them worried, or just work your way through it," he says. "I'm not a person who reaches out for a lot of help. If it gets to the point where things are significantly wrong, then I'll be waving the flag. But up to that point, if there's a bit of doubt, you sort of just play it off."

Although Fiore attempts to "flip the switch" of his workday downward upon returning home, it's difficult for him to avoid dwelling on the business, knowing how close he came to putting up everything he owned to start The Herbal Remedy. The numbers game (as in, "Was it a break-even day?") tends to be a major concern.

The work schedule of a start-up entrepreneur may also instigate anguish, but Fiore describes his level of familial stress as "some, but not significant." His schedule of four days a week and every other weekend doesn't really demand any more time than his former job at Rosemont Pharmaceutical Corp. in Denver, leaving plenty of quality time for a life outside of work.

Fiore believes the key to maintaining a healthy work/home balance (especially during start-up) is to discuss worst-case scenarios, money management and schedule possibilities before starting the venture. "If you know little things get [your family] riled, it's probably not the right thing for you," he says. "Inevitably, you're going to spend more time [on your start-up], and even when you're home, you're going to have some focus [on the business]."

Fiore figured working one day a week at Walgreens, taking home a pharmacist's hefty pay, would make up for the pay cut he endures running the store. He could work additional hours for even more spending cash, but, he says, "It's more important to have my presence here at the store."

We all know bare-bones living is pure hell. Those who do it do so only because they have to. You have to give Fiore (or anyone else who leaves corporate cushy-ness to explore the wild side of entrepreneurship) a hand for not being a complainer and for refusing to dwell on the "What if?" factor. "People were supportive in general," says Fiore of the decision to start his herbal pharmacy, "but it's a tough nut to crack when you're in a great 9-to-5 job that makes really good money, and then you're [faced with] mortgaging everything for the business. You create a situation that's not necessarily going to be all rosy. But you get through it."

Now make "You'll get through it" your mantra, and get on with it already.

Contact Source

The Herbal Remedy, (303) 795-8600, http://www.theherbalremedy.com