When were you “bitten” by the entrepreneurial bug?
Great question. To be honest, I didn’t wake up one morning and ever think, “I want to run my own business.” Instead, I think my entrepreneurial spirit blossomed when I realized I wasn’t completely happy with how my career was progressing. I took time to reflect on the things that I didn’t like about being an in-house employee. I literally made a list. Then, I thoughtfully considered what my day-to-day life would look like if I was completely happy? What sort of projects would I work on? Which talents and disciplines would I invest in and want to get even better at? Who would I be and how would I work?
While sitting out in my backyard with a cup of coffee, I contemplated my life and my aspirations for myself personally and professionally. It was while sitting in my backyard with a cup of coffee morning after morning that I came to realize that I didn’t need to wait for someone else to create the life I wanted for myself. While staring out and looking inward, I realized that I was fully capable to build the life and the career I wanted. I knew it was a risk. I knew I could fail. I knew it would be the hardest thing I ever did…. But I also knew in those moments in my backyard that I could do it. I could succeed. I could overcome any challenges that came my way.
And I knew I would regret not believing in myself enough to make a living on my own dreams, purpose and passion.
What’s been the hardest part about starting your own business as a millennial entrepreneur?
The hardest part for me has been the valleys. Inevitably, when I first started out I was confronted with of host of things I just didn’t know, but as a Millennial I knew I could find out. Figuring it out wasn’t the hardest part. The hardest part is stumbling along and making mistakes that cost me in time, money and consequentially: confidence.
Failure is an entrepreneur’s best friend, because it is in those moments of failure that one really learns and grow in ways that lead to success. But a path to success that is riddled with some failures is uncomfortable and it was particularly tough on my confidence. Getting over my own insecurities and summoning intrinsic motivation to adjust, adapt and overcome has been both the hardest, but most valuable part about starting my own business.
I think it’s true that you can’t really know what you’re made of, how strong you really are until you’re willing to fail.
What resources have you found helpful in blazing your own trail?
Relationships. I’m not ashamed to ask for directions and I definitely leaned on others who were miles ahead, steps in front, and footholds behind me. Other people’s experiences have been the best resources for me in terms of figuring out how to turn my purpose and passion into a sustainable business.
Reading. In addition to learning directly from people I knew and/or admired, I was very deliberate to learn what I didn’t know by reading. Blogs, books, e-courses, everything. I scoured with world wide web and gathered knowledge as if I was a squirrel collecting acorns. I was so hungry for knowledge and wisdom. My thirst was insatiable, really, and still is.
Social. Twitter has been such an awesome place building connections with like-minded peers and professionals. People have really been the ultimate resource to me as I have been figuring out how to blaze my own trail. Conversations, thought leadership, showing up and be present in discussions that mattered to me has been an amazing asset to me as I established and continue to grow my brand.
Who’s your entrepreneurial hero?
Walt Disney. “If you can dream it, you can do it.” He is, hands down, the ultimate muse for my entrepreneurial journey. Mr. Disney created an entire world with a vision that started with one little mouse. His vision and the realization of his vision that remains so powerful, magical and relevant today is proof that anything is possible if you just believe.
What advice do you have for today’s aspiring entrepreneurs?
DO IT ANYWAY! Anyone who is thinking about being an entrepreneur is first going to think about all the reasons why they shouldn’t. Do it anyway! If you have a great idea that translates into meeting a real need in the marketplace, go for it. If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, get clear on what you are going to do, how you are going to do it, who is going to benefit and buy your product/service, and how you’re going to make a profit. If you want to make it as an entrepreneur, get ready to work harder than you ever have before in your life …. And remember, do it anyway.
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