I’m convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the unsuccessful ones is pure perseverance.Steve Jobs
Instead of featuring one individual this month I decided to ask seven different entrepreneurs for feedback on their journey. My inspiration for this post originated from various social media posts concerning starting a business. The main theme was that entrepreneurship isn’t as simple as it seems. Most times people are encouraged to work for themselves and not for others, to quit their 9-5 for independence, to follow their dreams etc. However, I don’t believe entrepreneurship is that simple nor is it black and white i.e. everyone’s journey is different. This post isn’t to deter you from following your dreams of owning your own business or anything, but simply to show you a piece of the bigger picture.
As I mentioned before, I decided to ask these entrepreneurs ONE question and left the rest up to them (given a word limit).
What is one thing that no one told you about entrepreneurship?
1/ Ashante Lindsay
First off, no one told me anything about entrepreneurship, I literally walked into the lion’s den! Before I made the decision to take this journey I knew nothing, I didn’t even know any entrepreneurs so I was pretty much in the dark and on my own. I was very determined to learn whatever I needed to learn and I’m currently still going at it. Just like life we have to keep failing and learning from it, that is straight up what being an entrepreneur is all about. Showing up and showing out not just for the good times but for the bad times too and celebrating regardless!!
*p.s the Baileys Cheesecake is awesome!
2/ Chaneil Imhoff
When it comes to Entrepreneurship, I wish I would have been told that Execution trumps Idea. I’ve learned that the more you share your ideas and gain feedback from potential customers and stakeholders. Most times, the initial idea will be 90% different from the end product that is successful. Additionally, the testing phase allows you to measure if your solution is needed by anybody and what potential customers want you to build. This saves time, energy and of course, money in the long run. There is nothing worse than creating a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.
3/ Kendel Harrigan
Personal branding is everything, and then some! You become more than just a person once society affiliates you and your actions with your business. This can be a pro yet still a con when their support is administered based on your personality and not just what your business has to offer. Yes, you can try to put out the best quality goods and services for the best prices but always remember that your ability to connect personally with your market is what will set you apart from the rest.
4/ Zoe Teague
I pondered this question for a while and I always came back to this, entrepreneurship is hard but it’s doable and you have to find what works so you can be consistent. It’s one of those circumstances where you are “chief cook and bottle washer” and there will be good times and bad times and you really have to figure out how to navigate that space. It is essential to set realistic goals and gauge your expectations. What I’ve resolved to doing is deciding that there is a minimum amount of time I must work on my businesses daily and that means things can get done and I don’t feel overworked or guilty for not putting in enough effort.
5/ Gerena Gregory
You cannot only be about the money (yes, I know what Alkaline said ,lol). Making money is very exciting; but, did you make a profit or loss at the end of the day? If you made a profit, then congratulations! If you encountered a loss, did you think of giving up or trying again? When your objective is to only make money you will more than likely find yourself feeling unfulfilled, stressed, and burned out while constantly chasing the next dollar. Instead, find a problem to solve, serve the people who have that problem, AND get that money!
6/ Chas Clarke
Being an entrepreneur isn’t necessarily easy but it also isn’t extremely hard – it just takes alot of discipline. The one thing nobody ever told me was that you have to sometimes take some serious risks and most times it’s by yourself. However, an even bigger reward can come with a big risk so most times, if not all the time, it’s about taking a chance and hoping things work out. Another thing that no one told me but I learned was not to listen to the negative feedback from others because most times they are just trying to hold you back or afraid to take risks themselves.
7/ N’Kenge Drew
Entrepreneurship has caused me to develop a theory I call the Time/Capital Equilibrium. Imagine a scale where on one side you put your business’ goals, and on the other side you balance it with time and capital. As your goals increase/expand, you have to balance the scale with more time/capital. What you lack in time you have to make up for with capital, and what you lack in capital you have to make up for with time.
As a new entrepreneur with access to little or no capital, time becomes a precious commodity. Those divorced from your reality often lead themselves to believe it is one you can “miracle” into existence at will. An inability to do so can strain your interpersonal relationships and lead you to feel like you either need to essentially scale your goals back a bit or keep pressing on. No one ever tells you about that.
To be honest, I don’t believe entrepreneurship is for everyone. Hey, if it was easy everybody would be doing it, right? However, I just wanted to give you a little insight into how the process could be. No two people are alike, but at least you won’t be going in unprepared.