The Life of an Entrepreneur
Updated: Dec 10, 2019
Something has been on my mind a lot lately, and I wanted to start sharing. Many months ago, I took a leap and started my own company – went out on my own. It has been quite a ride, and quite an adventure. Now that I am fully ingrained in the process (no turning back now!!), I thought it might be time to talk about my adventure up to this point.
There have been so many times that I have thought back to the years I spent in corporate America – spinning my wheels in my search for happiness. I remember hearing the word “entrepreneur” time and time again, and it never once resonated with me. At no point did I consider that starting my own thing might be the answer for me. I stared down the corporate tunnel and continued searching for my light somewhere in that tunnel. There were so many wonderful and caring people in that part of my life who tried to help me find my way – bringing new opportunities to my attention, making suggestions of roles where they thought I would excel. I felt bad at the time, but I couldn’t help it – every time someone would bring one of these suggestions up to me, my lip would do this weird involuntary curl up to one side – like someone had just asked me if I wanted to taste really stinky cheese. I have no idea, to this day, if anyone else could actually see this lip curl, but I could always feel it. I kept asking myself “Why doesn’t ANYTHING sound appealing to me?? Is there something wrong with me?” I was so appreciative of these people for trying to help me, but there weren’t any answers for me in their efforts.
I have recently started to settle in to owning my own business, and there continue to be learning opportunities around every corner. I have learned that owning my own business was the answer for me all along. I know that the experience I gained in the corporate world was invaluable, and provided me the skill set I needed to do what I am doing now, but I sometimes wonder – why did it have to take me so long to get here?? This brings me to what I would consider to be my biggest struggle in this process (and something I am definitely still learning). In the words of good old Guns N’ Roses - Patience. Patience is something I admittedly don’t have and something I DEFINITELY didn’t get in corporate America. Patience is essential to starting your own business. You can only control so much, and there is a certain amount of patience required to let things unfold and your efforts produce results. It doesn’t matter how hard I work, how much I build my network, how much marketing I do – it still takes time. Like I said, this is still a major struggle for me.
Another thing that has been an interesting revelation for me on this journey is how isolated and unsupported you sometimes feel. Starting your own business is just that – your own business. No one cares about your business nearly as much as you do, which is a bit of a strange epiphany (I realize it seems perfectly logical when I phrase it like this). When you go into it, you think to yourself that you have a solid network of family and friends who will be super gung-ho to help you, but the reality of it is that it is not their business. I have struggled with having to ask people to support me in ways that will have the most impact, despite my natural tendency to avoid imposing on people at all costs. Putting yourself out there is the name of the game in entrepreneurship, and this is no exception. I have been working to develop support networks of people who are (or have been) in the same position I am, and you have to ask people to support you (many people who care about you don’t really know what they can do to support you and your new business).
My advice to any new entrepreneurs out there is simple. First, make sure you realize when you start to feel bogged down by the process, and take proactive steps to handle it, because it won’t just go away – seek out that support network and ask for help. Second, when you start to feel frustrated, channel your inner Axl Rose and remember Patience – everything takes time.