When people ask me how long have I been an entrepreneur, I tell them I have been an “entrepreneur” for the last 8 years. Notice I put quotation marks around entrepreneur. I will explain the reason for this later in the post.
I graduated from high school in 2007. I had been working at Wendy’s since 2005 and left there after I graduated to go work at UPS. UPS only lasted a couple of months. I just couldn’t see myself continuing down the path of being a highly praised but underpaid worker.
While at UPS I created my entertainment company. Man was that an eye-opening experience. The creation of this entertainment company was my main reason for leaving UPS. I was going to take the entertainment industry by storm. So I thought.
When I left UPS I needed another job asap. My plan was to go apply at Family Dollar. Instead my mom asked me to come work with her since she was opening a new office in downtown Atlanta.
So I was going into 2008 set and ready to make things happen, so I thought again. I had my new entertainment company and I was the “COO” of my mom’s tax business.
To cut a long story short, things started off “great” and ended terribly. My attempt at creating a studio for my entertainment company drained my pockets and my role as COO did not go as I envisioned.
The reason this occurred is because I didn’t truly understand entrepreneurship nor business ownership. Entrepreneurship is turning an idea into a product/service that has demand in the marketplace. Business ownership is taking that product/service, scaling it for growth and employing others to manage your business operations.
I read all about these two topics but I didn’t actually know how to apply what I had learned. That is one thing a lot of would be entrepreneurs have to understand when it comes to being an entrepreneur and building a business. It is all about actions. Well strategized actions that are implemented correctly and executed effectively.
It took me 8 years to really understand how to be an entrepreneur and how to build a business. I started out when I was 18. I am 26, about to be 27 in 2 months. I am still pissed at myself because I believe I should be further ahead.
The thing that held me back was my arrogance. I wanted to prove to everybody that I could do it all by myself. But in reality, entrepreneurship and business ownership require the actions of others to complement your actions, which work together to produce magnified results.
Another entrepreneur killer was that I didn’t follow-up on opportunities that were presented to me. I had plenty of opportunities in front of me that I could have attached myself to in order to use as leverage in the future. I did not do that and in not doing so, I am working extremely hard now to put myself in the position that I desire.
What I have learned over these 8 years of being an entrepreneur is that I was not operating at my maximum level every single day. I was sporadic. If things were not going as planned, I would lose focus and my activity level would dwindle off. Then I would get inspired again, do a little work and then lose inspiration again.
These days I work hard, extremely hard. I have established relationships and I have placed myself within favorable positions that I can use as leverage. I truly understand what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur and how to develop real businesses.
There is so much that I can tell you about my journey through entrepreneurship but it will require a book. I believe I will do just that very soon actually.
What you should take from my personal experience as an entrepreneur, is that entrepreneurship is a journey. It is a process of various actions that combine together to form the big picture.
I didn’t truly understand entrepreneurship when I sought out to become an entrepreneur. My lack of understanding caused me to wander around aimlessly, wasting my time and causing myself much frustration.
Looking at other’s success and my lack of success really made me question what the hell was I doing wrong! I am glad that I am much wiser today and have put together an effective plan that I actually know how to implement and execute upon with effective actions.
I had to learn the hard way but that does not mean that you have to do the same. Make sure that you actually understand how to be an entrepreneur, rather than just “know a lot” about entrepreneurship. There is a huge difference, trust me!
The only reason I am making progress today is because I never gave up and because I sought to understand rather than just “learn”. I got fed up with failing and sought out the knowledge that would put me in the position to produce successful results.
I learned to stop holding myself back so that I could actually work towards producing the life that I want for myself. Entrepreneurship is not only a business journey but also a personal journey. You either learn to grow and adapt in order to be successful as an entrepreneur or you continue to make the same mistakes and fail miserably.
What were the challenges you faced as an entrepreneur and what are those challenges that you continue to deal with? Share your experiences or leave a comment if you need some advice about entrepreneurship.