Decision Point: Reflections Of An Aspiring Entrepreneur
Entrepreneur's New Year’s Guide
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In the world of employment, there are two types of employees: those who love having all the benefits of employment and wouldn’t have it any other way; and those who, while they do enjoy the perks, aspire to do something else- like start their own company.
Having an entrepreneurial spirit doesn’t mean you’re somehow superior to the people that are happy being “regular” employees- at the end of the day, it’s a character trait and not something you’re supposed to get to in your professional career. You either have it or you don’t. I think I have it… but I’m not really sure.
I come from a family of self-made parents, who have worked harder and harder with each passing year, who thrive on a personal level as their businesses expand. My father and his siblings are all over 50, and they’re still looking for new business ventures, always with excitement. Most of the family’s descents, myself included, have that desire to create something, work on their own, and truly be businesspeople.
I have met and befriended like-minded people with whom I would always discuss our shared desires to be our own boss. They seemed so driven and passionate, I was certain that within a couple of years, they would be entrepreneurs. We would talk for hours, creating a fantasy company where all employees would be happy, where there would be a CSR department because we care, and the world would thus become a better place. I would daydream about my startup and how it would grow and spread across the globe. Even more attractive than the financial benefit was how I would be known and recognized for my professional achievements- a woman from the Middle East, who was never into business and numbers, having the greatest idea of the century and succeeding at implementing it.
Years after these conversations, very few of my acquaintances have taken the plunge. I haven’t either.
I have a list of ideas that is getting longer and longer, and I still haven’t taken the first step- the market study. There is no valid reason for my “fearful laziness”- I don’t have children or familial responsibilities that would make me hesitant about taking financial risks, I do know investors who would be ready to play along if one of my ideas speaks to them, and I have a partner who can financially and emotionally support me on this journey. All of these factors are deal breakers for first-time entrepreneurs, and I do not take them for granted; I just can’t face failure.
Most of the entrepreneurs I have met have failed at some point in their career. The successful ones seem to have learned and changed something in their approach to business ventures, and have kept the same excitement when pitching a new idea, whereas one-time entrepreneurs with one unsuccessful venture in their portfolio are the ones that clearly did something wrong but can’t fathom the fact that they might fail again before they succeed.
I am not sure where I stand. I want it so bad, but do I want it that bad? I have come to understand that being an entrepreneur is not just having a great idea and finding investors, and working all day and all night (at the very least at the beginning of your journey)- that, I am ready for. But acknowledging the risks you’re taking and being at peace with the fact that you might fail, that’s another story.