While the idea of entrepreneurship has been an elusive concept for a long time, it is a goal that has recently become more attainable. Everyone has their own reasons for starting a business, but there are certain desires that we all have in common. We want our freedom. We want our recognition. We want a legacy.
It took a while for society to accept Entrepreneur as a job title, but it’s been a long time coming. Of course, everyone wants to pave the way, give advice, help someone else out.
But, they don’t tell you everything.
In fact, they leave out all the good stuff.
There is no uniform.
It is impossible to look at someone and say, “They own their own business.” And that makes us uncomfortable. We like labels, structure, categories, and… stereotypes.
We have a general mental image when we think of librarians, construction workers, lawyers, bankers, and techies.
We deserve to have whatever we want, don’t listen to the people that tell you otherwise.
— NiaSweetz @ SIPBLACK (@SipBlackdotNET) March 27, 2016
But, what does an entrepreneur look like?
The answer is, we look however we want to look. There is no dress code, no uniform that we must wear.
Every entrepreneur you meet won’t be in a suit. They won’t be in a sweater and leggings. There is no “look.”
Our outfit choices reflect our brand, not our occupation (yes, there’s a difference). My occupation is a branding specialist, but my brand is built around striving for luxurious living and embracing your originality. Two completely different wardrobes.
The lives you change will follow you forever.
Entrepreneurship is kind of like a secret society. When you join the club, you pledge to take on the responsibility of enhancing people’s lives.
That feeling of being passionate to help, to change, to influence – it never goes away. Every email of gratitude that you get from your customers will touch you like the first one did.
You won’t be able to give up.
Those people that you’ve helped will always haunt you. You’ll remember their happiness, their frustration, and their tears. You’ll remember their excitement when you launched and their disappointment when things didn’t work out.
Your customers, scratch that; your supporters will be the reason behind everything that you do. They’ll be the reason you make the biggest deals of your life and the reason you turn down the biggest deals of your life.
Do all the good you can, to as many people as you can, as often as you can.
Everything is your fault.
When things go south, there is absolutely no one else to point that finger at.
If someone doesn’t deliver on time, it’s because you didn’t provide the right incentive.
If someone doesn’t do what you expected, then you didn’t give them clear enough instructions.
If a customer is pissed about their product arriving damaged or late, then you trusted the wrong companies.
Everything that goes wrong falls on you. It’s motivating and wildly satisfying to know that you’re in complete control. But, no one ever talks about the downside of that.
You take all the risk, all the blame, all the liability.
Your entrepreneur friends will want something for something.
When you’re a regular ole employee, sometimes you do favors for your regular ole employee coworkers. Not because you’re looking for something in return, but just because.
As an entrepreneur, things don’t quite work like that. Anyone that does you a favor wants something from you. Ok, that sounded cynical.
Sometimes, their reason is relatively harmless. They may want to simply build a relationship with you. They may want some advice from you. They may even want to keep that favor in reserve for later.
Whatever the reason, just know that there is one. Nothing is ever “no strings attached.”
When we make entrepreneurial friends, we’re making friends with the most strategic thinkers on this planet.
That side of our brain never stops working. Especially when we’re doing favors or inviting new people into our circle.
Your people don’t know what they want.
Get used to a lot of guesswork.
Customer surveys, feedback/suggestion boxes, personal phone calls, and A/B testing are all great methods for understanding your customers.
But, they don’t give you the full picture.
They won’t tell you what your customers want, they’ll simply tell you what they prefer. What they think they want.
And sometimes what they want isn’t always what they’ll pay for. It’s hard to tell because people have no idea what they’re willing to spend money on until it’s already in their cart.
They won’t truly know what they want until you give it to them.So you’ll have to guess. Create something and put it out there.
And you might be wrong. It’s all risk in entrepreneurship.
If you keep stressing out about what people will think, you’ll never get anything done. Just do it and make adjustments as you see fit later
— NiaSweetz @ SIPBLACK (@SipBlackdotNET) March 20, 2016
No single action will teach you more than traveling does.
One of the best perks about starting your own business is that you get to be home more. Your office is at home, your family is at home, and your bed is at home (I couldn’t resist).
But, what no one ever tells you is that the lessons you need to strengthen your business are not at home. They’re in the journey of traveling. They’re in other cultures, other sceneries, other lifestyles.
The experience of traveling is unique in that you’ll be able to learn things no one can ever teach you. You’ll come back every time with new and innovative ideas for your business. You’ll re-prioritize your life and have a stronger brand mission. You’ll work smarter, and not harder.
To travel is to live.
Just imagine that there’s an entire world out there you haven’t seen. Beautiful places you’ve never been. Incredible languages you’ve never heard. In the words of the late, great Albert Einstein, “The only source of knowledge is experience.”
One day, you won’t be able to recognize yourself.
You know how entrepreneurs last for 50 years? They get a severe case of tunnel-vision.
We forget to stop, look around and see how we’ve grown. We don’t notice the little changes. Time seems to fly by and we’re on a constant race to compete with ourselves.
One day you pull your head out the sand and the person you see in the mirror is more confident, wiser, taller, stronger than you remember.
You look around and realize that life is better, the people around you are happier. You’ll question at times if you deserve it all. You’ll see other entrepreneurs struggling to catch a break and wonder what made you different.
Entrepreneurship changes you. It forces you to be the best version of yourself.
Taking on the title, “entrepreneur” means that you’re taking on a lot of other titles along with it. You’ll also be a leader, an innovator, a creator, a role model, an expert.
People will love you, they’ll hate you, and they’ll want to be just like you. It’s a journey like no other.
You can prepare for it your whole life, and you still won’t ever be ready. It’s an amazing feeling to look back one day and see that it was all worth it. That the risks have paid off. That you met every goal. That you changed the world in your own way.
Allow yourself to be a beginner. No one starts off being excellent.