For all the small business owners and creatives in the house

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September 30, 2022
Maddie Lemay
September 23, 2022
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A Campfire Story about the middle school years...

When I was in middle school, I wore basketball shorts every day and rarely combed my hair because it took too much time. When I did, it was pulled straight back into a ponytail and contained by a thick headband. And I wore the same fire-red T-shirt that said MadDog on the back.

Because of that shirt, a friend in my Intro to Algebra class named Matt Lemay would smile and chant "Mad Dog" as I whisked past him, like he was cheering me on as part of the starting lineup for the Minnesota Timberwolves every time I walked through the door.

A dozen years later, I married that boy (hence "Lemay Story Studio"), and he still cheers me on, but in a different way.

Together we work through business decisions, work on house projects, and mentor middle-schoolers through our church.

It's through the process of mentoring that we're reminiscing on what it felt like to be middle-school kids.

My seventh-grade girls are chatty and giggly and huggy, and I don't text them often, but when I do, there are always, like, 18 emojis in every response.

When I'm with my girls, I see a reflection of my own seventh-grade self: a little insecure, not quite sure of who I wanted to be, with a crush on, like, three different boys.

I also see parts of myself that I miss from middle school: The girl who didn't care if her tongue turned blue after eating a giant sucker; who read more than she scrolled; who giggled until she couldn't speak.

*Record scratch*

Did you just get pulled into this story?

Why do you care about my middle school experience (or yours, for that matter)?

Because all of our businesses started somewhere.

And I'm not talking about the date you filed your LLC.

Those roots go as deep as your hometown ice cream shop and as far back as your middle school days, when you decided you wanted to become a photographer, or a designer, or a shop owner.

I knew I wanted to be a writer the second I learned how to read chapter books. I knew it, even when I'd let my mouth turn blue from gas station slushies.

And that's what you should be thinking about when you plan your next Instagram intro, or "About Me" bio, or blog post about your "humble beginnings." Not the date you were founded, or how many employees you have.

What were you like in middle school? How have those little-kid dreams morphed into what you've built today?

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