The co-founder of Fieldworks Supply Company still loses sleep occasionally – just as she did, much more often, a few years back. But these days, it's for a better, more hopeful reason. "When you're successful, all of a sudden you have employees, and you need to protect their livelihoods," Lisa Dolezal said. "Success brings greater responsibility – to make payroll, to be able to innovate. So sometimes there's a sleepless night, but every morning you get up, and you read another Amazon review and see how much more you've sold, and you get to keep on going."
The single mother of two revels in the chance to keep on going. Her business almost didn't happen.
She'd barely started selling her line of men's grooming supplies when her marriage ended. Divorce made everything uncertain. "All of a sudden I found myself not having a second income," Dolezal said. "So I had to go to my heart and say, 'OK. Do I go back to working for somebody else so I can make my mortgage payment? Or do I bet on myself and go into some of my retirement money and really bank on building this small business that I know has so much potential?'"
She decided to go for it. "I wanted to keep running the business from home and be there for my kids and also show them that you can persevere through the hardest of times. You can continue to follow your passions and make your dreams come true."
Customers have rewarded Dolezal's faith in herself and her products. In the words of one reviewer who bought Another Close Shave, a shaving gel for sensitive skin: "This product was bought with a healthy dose of skepticism. I have tried a number of shaving products that claim to reduce or even completely prevent razor burn but have ultimately been disappointed with the lack of results. I am glad I gave this one a try!!"
"I just want to send a thank-you card to Amazon customers because they're the reason that Fieldworks Supply Company is still here and is successful," Dolezal said. "I get a little choked up, honestly. The dream of having this business could have been over. But we turned the corner. Our Amazon sales are the reason we're able to launch new products and hire people."
I wanted to keep running the business from home and be there for my kids and also show them that you can persevere through the hardest of times.
Dolezal expects to have eight employees by the end of 2017 and support jobs for even more people – thanks to the orders that Fieldworks places with manufacturers in Utah and in its hometown of Portland, Oregon. For warehouse support, Fieldworks relies on Portland Habilitation Center Northwest, a non-profit that trains and hires people with mental, physical, and developmental disabilities.
And Dolezal's 10-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter are getting to grow up seeing exactly what she hoped they would when she decided to bet on herself and build a life with time for both hard work and family togetherness. "They're very proud to say what their mom does," she said.