Tuesday, June 30, 2015

From the Hamster Wheel to the Roulette Wheel

As a child I was always finding ways to make money. Lemonade stands, a neighborhood newspaper, a cleaning business... As soon as I was old enough, I started a paper route and detasseled over the summers. On my 16th birthday I went down to the nearby grocery store and submitted a job application.

Owning my own business was always at the top of my bucket list. It was always something I would do "someday." 

Climbing the corporate ladder was never something that completely clicked with me. I knew that I wanted to be successful, but no matter how high up in a company I was, I would still want to own my own business someday.

8 months ago that "someday" finally came. I made the decision that I was going to go for it and I did.

In today's blog, I'll share 8 things I've discovered so far on this journey.

1. It's Going to Be Scary
Starting your own business is scary, but in order to have opportunity you have to feel the fear and do it anyway. At first, I would lie awake at night and think "am I really doing this? Am I crazy?"

A few of my favorite quotes are:

"Everything you want is on the other side of fear."
"Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone."
"You have to jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down."

2. Building from the Ground Up
So far, the journey has been like building a house. First, there is the design of the business plan and vision. Then, you start with the foundation and build from the ground up. There are many different components that require different expertise. You decide which parts in the process you need to hire an expert for and which you can figure out yourself. It takes time and patience to build a solid structure.

3. Your Priorities vs. Your Boss' Priorities
When you're running on the corporate hamster wheel, you can find that you are a prisoner to the company objectives or your boss' priorities. When you are a business owner, you make your own priorities and the rest is negotiable. There are no reports that need to be completed that no one looks at anyway. Your time is spent on your mission and you are able to be more productive in less time.

4. It's a Lifestyle
Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle. Your professional life overlaps greatly with your home life. You work nights and you work weekends. When you work for someone else, you have scheduled hours and are working on their timeline. When you are an entrepreneur, you get to determine what works best for you and how your day should flow. Will you wake up early or burn the midnight oil? When will you fit in exercise? I still haven't quite decided what the most productive schedule for me is.

5. Paying Yourself Isn't As Fun As You'd Think
I always thought that when I paid myself it would be so exciting. But... it's not. When you own a business, you want to invest in the business and build up as much capital as you can. A paycheck for yourself is an expense for your business. It's exciting to be profitable, but payday doesn't have the same appeal.

6. Some Will Be Supportive, Some Will Be Standoffish
I have been blessed to have support from many wonderful people. Former colleagues or clients have went out of their way to send me encouraging messages. Friends have complimented me for taking the plunge. Acquaintances are genuinely interested in how the business is going and "jealous" that they would love to own a business someday.

But, some people who you thought might be supportive may be standoffish. Rather than being unsupportive or skeptical, some will not even acknowledge your endeavor. Some advice from some other entrepreneurs has helped me to not be so sensitive about this behavior. Some people may feel uncomfortable about your endeavor or be dealing with their own personal issues. Surround yourself with supporters.

7. So. Many. Coffee. Shops.
When you work from home, your conference room is a coffee shop. I never thought I'd get tired of meeting for lunch or coffee. Of coarse, I still love coffee, but I had to start getting into tea. Sometimes I have coffee shop meetings and I get a water. Sometimes I feel like I live at Panera Bread.
8. The Entrepreneur Community
When you're out and about during the day, you realize how many other people in the community have flexible schedules. I was amazed when I realized how many networking and community events there are. It was a huge boost for me to get involved in some local entrepreneurial groups. I've made some very meaningful relationships and formed some beneficial partnerships.

The entrepreneurial journey so far has felt... right. More and more, I feel like I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. I look forward to seeing what the next months and year will bring.

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