Truth be known, on this blog I’ve been neglecting one of my main career traits – that is that I am a serial entrepreneur.
The fact is that I am an entrepreneur before I am a job hopper. At the age of five, before I could write my name properly, I was selling mangoes from my grandma’s garden. And it’s because I am entrepreneur, with risk running through my veins, that I became a strategic job hopper. In this post I’d like to introduce myself to you as a serial entrepreneur – and begin our conversation about entrepreneurship.
Why did I choose to do this now – after I’ve been blogging almost entirely about strategic job hopping? Because I am living one of the most entrepreneurial moments in my career – working as the commercial director of my family’s business. As such, I’ve come across many lessons I’d like to share – to inspire you and empower you to create, follow and succeed on your own path. I suggest that you apply them with care – and above all, with lots of passion.
Lessons from an entrepreneurial life:
- Avoid paralysis by (over) analysis. It’s physically and virtually impossible to have all the answers and all the information before going into a venture. Just as questions and challenges will arise along the way, so will answers and new possibilities. The same goes for accepting a new role as an employee.
- Rely on advisers. I’m sure you’ve heard this one before. It’s so vital to your success that you surround yourself with better-than-good advisers (a.k.a. great), that it’s worth adding to this list. Your relationship with advisers need not be formal – all you need is a mental list (and email addresses) of people willing and able to answer your questions and give you guidance. The best ones usually are averse to structure and focused on getting you results. So who’s on your success panel?
- Know that you’re entitled to success – act accordingly. Think about it, it’s in the best interest of the universe that we all succeed. When we all win, great things happen. (think about what a world packed with loosers and failures would look like..) Recently I’ve been taking loads of cabs. That means I’ve had a chance to listen to one cab driver’s story too many. And my heart’s broken from the amount of drivers I’ve met who go on to name the people they’ve met who’ve succeeded. They ramble off names as if these people where superhuman. In my search to empower them – and you – I say: succesful people are HUMAN – just like you. If they could succeed, so can you. One of the most differentiating traits of succesful people is a sense that they know that they will succeed. They know this as they know what their names are. Driven by this knowledge, they are able to push through the hard times, knowing that there’s light at the end. Think about it, how else can someone endure the long hours, the challenges and whatever else comes with an entrepreneurial life?
- Expect work to not feel like work. Don’t be fooled – entrepreneurship is much more challenging than employeehood. If you think you can’t stand your boss or your colleagues, think about what it can feel like to have all your savings invested into a business – and not have enough money to pay your bills (out of pure love, I’ve come to call it the ‘rice and beans’ life…). And next time you feel like quitting your job to open your own business so you can have more ‘me’ time. Think again. Most entrepreneurs, especially those associated with start-ups, barely have time to brush their teeth – let alone have ‘me’ time. Even in light of some of the harsh realities entrepreneurs face, nothing matches the rush of working towards your own vision. It’s that rush which makes long days and the steep climb, a joy ride.
- Keep learning. As little time as you think you might have, it’s vital that you make time to stay current on trends in and out of your business. You never know where answers to your challenges will come from. And part of what will keep you going is your ability to find solutions. One of the best sources is the experience of those who have been through what you’re experiencing. Seek out inspiring reading material – that which complements your path.
- Be greedy with your time. It’s not a cliché that time is money. Learn to say ‘no’ to those things which do not contribute to your vision – and seek out those experiences which enrich you. What’s enriching? That will depend on your needs. At times you may need some brain candy. So those activities that you may label distractions when you’re working on a project, (and avoid at all costs) you will welcome when in need of a break. Like watching one of those brainless Hollywood movies.
I will seek to add to this list. For now, I look forward to continuing the conversation with you. Namaste!