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Entrepreneurship: The Dreaded 16 Letter Word!
Entrepreneurship! This 16 letter word has so much power and yet projects so much fear. It’s a dreaded word for some and a liberating journey for others. For me, it’s a liberating journey. Yes it is difficult. It certainly gets difficult at times. There are days when you are going to feel like you are on your last hopeful step and then there are days when you are sliding on clouds. It is indeed a roller coaster of emotions. But these different cycles of emotions that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. Sometimes I have to remember my faith, my hope and where I belong, but even those days are counted as joy.
My entrepreneurial journey began a little over two years ago. I had spent over 13 years in corporate America in the hospitality industry and over nine years in academia. When I decided it was time to dive into the deep waters of entrepreneurship, I was finishing my first year as the Associate Dean of Online Learning for a local university. It was a dream job. I was progressing rapidly towards my dream of becoming a university president. And just like that, my heart started to change. And although I certainly felt like I was making a difference in the world of education. My legacy, my legacy, my footprints in the sand were calling me. I knew I was born to do more, to be more, and to have a different impact on the world. I’ve never been good with the status quo. I’ve never been one to blindly accept what someone says. I was a born leader. This leadership ability had been proven in all the administrative and management positions I had held up to that point. Looking back, if there was one thing I wish I had done a little differently, it would be to prepare myself a little more financially. But again, I don’t know if I would have ever felt really prepared for the jump.
That’s what I know. Everything is going as it should. There is a purpose for all things under the sun. Even the fact that I was not prepared financially went perfectly.
What is entrepreneurship?
So this is how I define entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is when you go out on your own, completely trusting your faith and your own abilities to generate income. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not working for someone, because we’re always going to be working for someone. Maybe not in the conventional 9 to 5 sense, but someone will always demand something. You can be an entrepreneur. For example, one of my jobs is as an online teacher for a few schools. I work under contract. But there are deadlines and schedules that I have to respect. And keep in mind that you are always working for your clients, clients are very demanding and rightly so. As a consumer myself, when I spend my money, I expect to receive value for that money. I also own an online fashion store for women. I am also a career coach. The thing is, you’re still working for someone, even if they’re your clients.
But here is the kicker. Entrepreneurship means that you are the creator, distributor and promoter of your business or businesses. Whether you succeed or fail is really in your hands. When we work for an organization, we leave the overall responsibility for profitability and success to the CEO, owners and head office. They make the decisions that will affect the company’s bottom line.
When you’re an entrepreneur, you’re all of those things. The CEO, owner and head office. Your daily decision affects your bottom line. I guess that’s probably why it might be a bit scary.
So why do we do it? Why do some of us take this leap?
Why should you take the leap?
It is certainly an individual decision. It’s not something that should be done lightly and on a whim, but I still say it’s worth a try. The experience and lessons learned on this journey are more powerful than you can imagine. If you are a student of life, this is one of the greatest lessons to learn. Thanks to this trip, I learned a lot about myself. I found strengths and weaknesses that had not been discovered. I found lost courage and determination like no other. I even found a hidden stubbornness that evolved and continues to grow.
There are definitely pros and cons to getting started. I think it might be a little different for some, but for most the same basic pros and cons apply. Here is my list:
I am self-employed
My income depends on the efforts made in the company
My time belongs to me. It doesn’t belong to anyone else. Nobody dictates my time. I don’t have to punch in or out or report to anyone. I can work until 3am and have my days off or I can work all day and all night. It really depends on how successful I want to be.
My success depends entirely on my actions.
I work for me. No one to tell me what to do or guide me or give me a job description.
My income depends on the effort I put into my business.
Long days and long nights
At first, holidays are hard to find
It can be a lonely journey
Can lose unstable friendships and relationships
I think the pros and cons are pretty self explanatory. Many of the great things about entrepreneurship are also the things that make it less so. It’s definitely not a cakewalk. I discovered that if you have the courage to step out into this world, you already know it.
Some of my clients ask me how do you know if you are ready or what are the qualities and traits of an entrepreneur? I’m sure these qualities and traits will evolve over time, but I think these are definitely the very basics.
Qualifications and characteristics of contractors
Confidence in your abilities
Determination to win and not let failure discourage you
Willingness to try until you succeed
I think these fundamental traits will take you far. If I had to offer any suggestions to budding entrepreneurs, I would suggest the following:
Prepare yourself mentally, spiritually, emotionally and financially
Take the time to prepare for this trip. Do your research on the market that interests you. Do your research on successful entrepreneurs as well as unsuccessful ones. Most of the time they are one. To ask questions. Mentally prepare for the trip and don’t expect an easy payday. As much as possible, save money for the first year. Imagine that you will be unemployed in the first year and that you will save enough to cover yourself. However, it can also backfire on you. I think not having enough puts you in third gear.
Prepare, but don’t procrastinate. Fear operates when you’re just waiting for that perfect moment. There is no perfect time. Entrepreneurship is risky. If there was a perfect moment, it would be called something else. Understand that you will never feel completely prepared. It is this emotion, this uncertainty that will make you smile.
Be ready to ask questions
Don’t reinvent the wheel. Know that someone somewhere has already tried what you are trying. Google is a great resource, use it often. People are a great resource. Never underestimate their experiences. Keep in mind that you can actually learn the most from those who fail. They can definitely tell you what not to do.
Never envy your seemingly successful colleagues
Taking the time to watch others stops your progress. Always support and help as much as you can. You never know when that hand will come back to you.
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