Entrepreneurship is just sexy, in general. You work for yourself! Set your own schedule. Do life on your own terms. You are living out your dreams and making stuff happen. Innovating. Solving problems and creating products and services that change the world and help people.
When thinking about entrepreneurs, who comes to mind? Bill Gates, Mark Cuban, and Mark Zuckerberg are the first to pop up in my head. You know, the people who made it and made it big.
These are some of the most amazing entrepreneurs of our time, starting billion dollar, unicorn companies from their parents’ garage with some startup cash donated by friends and family. Their stories are awe-inspiring, motivating, and absolutely amazing.
The issue? The narratives we most commonly hear don’t always reveal the nitty-gritty, ugly parts of being an entrepreneur. They don’t talk about the long nights, the disappointments, and the struggles you have to deal with when you’re actually in the thick of it. They showcase quick rags to riches stories and then emphasize how dope everything is after you make it. After.
Not to mention, most of these stories highlight a very particular narrative to success that doesn’t work for everyone. It isn’t representative of what entrepreneurship is, or what (or who) it can look like. Entrepreneurship and success are not one size fits all and it’s time to be real about the journey in a very practical and tangible way.
After graduating from the USC Marshall School of Business with my MBA this past May (obligatory Fight On!) I decided to take a less traditional path and build my own thing. The problem? I had a vision, but didn’t have the resources that match my vision. Deciding to work for myself when logistically, financially, and heck, even logically – it wasn’t the smartest decision was a major leap of faith. I have two degrees and common sense, all of which were giving me a major side eye as I took that leap with a dollar (maybe 5) and a dream. But my heart and my spirit knew it was right. It has been a struggle, but a beautiful, fun, exhilarating struggle. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
On this journey, I’ve seen both the amazing and the terrifying parts of starting your own thing. None of my days are “typical,” and I like it like that. Doing yoga in the mornings and dancing around my kitchen as I meal prep my food a little later in the day – is EV-ER-Y-THING! Having the flexibility to coach middle school volleyball, network, and volunteer has truly been the icing on top of my cake… but these perks don’t go without their downsides. I would be homeless if I wasn’t blessed with friends who believe in me and my dreams. There have been months where ends simply did not and could not meet, no matter how many personal training clients or side hustles I picked up. (I have 6 consistent hustles by the way.) I get the wind knocked out of me, often, and days where I hear so many “no’s” and “are you crazy’s” that I want to quit. But I’m not giving up.
I don’t have my billion-dollar success story to share with you (yet), or any get-rich-quick schemes. What I do have, however, are a couple of insights and lessons I’m learning while dream chasing. The less sexy side of entrepreneurship… the stuff nobody tells you, but you should probably know when you start chasing your dreams – tidbits that might help you along the way.
The first and most unexpected thing that I struggled with, and am still struggling through is:
IT GETS LONELY.
It’s hard for people to understand your vision, because it isn’t meant for them. It’s for you. Be prepared for a lot of funny looks, concern from loved ones, and questions… questions… and more questions…. Sometimes, there will be so many questions that you start to question yourself. Don’t! When you are in alignment with your purpose and have the conviction to chase your dreams – Keep Going!!! Even though it’s lonely, you don’t have to do it alone. Matter of fact,
YOU CAN’T DO EVERYTHING ALONE.
Just because you are lonely, doesn’t mean you will be alone. Make sure that you have a strong team, or a “life board of advisors” as I like to call them. People that people can go to for questions, inspiration, love, or just to fall apart to. People who will challenge you, keep you in line, and build you up when you are overcome with fear or doubt. I challenge you to ask the people who come to mind. Your heart and spirit know.You may be nervous, but more than likely they will be honored that you care and value their opinion and presence. Which leads me to:
ASK FOR HELP.
Eat humble pie. Even though you have friends, or have established your “life board of advisors,” you will still have to swallow your pride and ask for help. It’s not easy, but it is absolutely, positively imperative for your success. You must learn to ask for what you need or want. Keep in mind they could say no – which is their right, but you have the right to ask.
TUNE OUT THE NONSENSE
Most likely, you will have someone (if not more than 1 person a day) try to talk you out of your dreams or tell you why it won’t work. In some cases – they are right. In most cases though, they need to stuff it and keep it moving. Be careful of who you let speak over your life and your dreams.
JUST KEEP GOING.
Some days it’s hard to get out of bed. Some days you won’t… But then there are the days that you will. Sometimes people say no and you will get denied, turned down, or even ignored. Remember why you started. Know that your purpose is bigger than you and that if God gave you the vision, then He will provide the provision. It’s okay to be different. You can do this. It’s not easy, but it is worth it! Just keep showing up.
Lastly and most importantly:
TAKE CARE OF YOU!!!!
SELF CARE. SELF CARE. SELF CARE… Did I mention self-care? You can’t pour from an empty cup. Make sure that you are constantly pouring back into you – mind, body, and soul. You can’t do anything well if you are not taking care of yourself first. Find out what makes you tick and keeps you going. Do that. Invest in you. It will be the best decision you ever make!
All that being said, I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else. If you are on this journey, or thinking about taking this leap, know that you are not alone. Please drop me a line below and let me know what you are working through in your own leap of faith! Hugs and so much love to you on your journey.