I always knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur, always! My background is in the hospitality industry and when I was younger, I was dreaming about having my own restaurant, running things the way that I want, acting and being present on all fronts. I have had a few attempts where I partnered with a friend to start a catering service, I participated in a business plan competition to raise money and start a healthy restaurant chain, I took on marketing consulting projects and nothing ever quite happened. Why? Because my purpose was not compelling enough!
I wanted to be an entrepreneur to fulfill my values of autonomy, possibilities, individuality and growth. However, there are plenty of other ways to fulfill your values, you don’t need to become an entrepreneur to do so. So something major was missing. I was missing my “Why.”
Why is it important to me to become an entrepreneur? You don’t decide to become an entrepreneur because you want more freedom, more money or because you want to do things your way. You become an entrepreneur because you want to make an impact on your own little world. Your purpose is 100% connected to who you are, what motivates you, what sets you in motion. That’s what gives meaning and direction to your life. That’s what starts this fire in your belly to jump into entrepreneurship; this “gulp” feeling.
Gulp. Do I even dare think about it?
Even entertaining the thought that one day you could be an entrepreneur can evoke all sorts of emotions. Anxiety, insecurity and fear, to name a few. But when you feel that gulp, that feeling that captures the combination of fear and excitement that often accompany taking new steps into the unknown, you cannot stop thinking about it. Do I dare to take the big leap? Only you know when you are ready and if this is what you want. Your gut will tell you.
Bold action: Jumping into entrepreneurship
You heard your intuition and you couldn’t help but listen. It was so present in your mind, that you just had to do it. You don’t really know what’s going to happen now, but it was stronger than anything else; almost vital. I often meet people who compliment me about opening my business. They say that I’m courageous. Courage? I’ve never thought about that before… I just did it because I had to. It was my calling; there was no other choice.
Freedom: The world is mine
The fear is gone and just the excitement is now present. You made the big move and you feel you just have super powers. You did it! What a fulfilling feeling! The world opened its doors and everything seems possible. You eliminated that fear that was holding you back and ‘tamed’ it. So now, it looks like everything is easy. You are in a place of possibilities; you are a warrior, nothing can ever stop you again.
Disillusion: where did the excitement go?
After a couple of weeks, the fierce feeling that was driving the launch of your entrepreneurial life has dulled down. Back to reality! You have so much to do and you don’t know how to do it because you’ve never done it before. Everything is new, everything is a learning curve and it takes more time than expected to try and adjust. It requires so much energy. You have to wear 1,000 different hats: accountant, marketing manager, office manager, event & PR manager, business developer, sales manager and the other 994 ones. You find yourself doubting your abilities and your choice; you feel like you’re in a rut and all alone. Loneliness is probably the most difficult feeling to overcome when you are an entrepreneur. Yes, entrepreneurship can be very lonely. You do everything alone and it’s hard! Remember why you decided to take this route. It’s just the beginning and things will get easier with time.
Business as usual: I finally know what I’m doing
You passed the difficult phase of self-doubt and managed to stay true to your purpose, your vision. You now have a structure in place, things have been automatized and it’s much easier to get into the flow of your daily tasks. You made a name for yourself in your industry and leads start coming in organically. You feel at peace. But… you start getting bored. You miss the gulp feeling you experienced at the beginning of your entrepreneurial life.
Business dear to my heart: let’s ride that roller coaster again!
Keep running your business as usual but don’t forget what really drove you into entrepreneurship. Create one, two, three or even four yearly projects that are special to you, they are the ones that will keep you bringing you back into this stage of excitement, energy and aliveness.
Sustainability: success for the long-run
Entrepreneurship can be very overwhelming. Your passion dictates your life and it can be dangerous if you are not taking the right precautions. You work long hours, you work through the weekend, you prioritize your business over your personal life and it can actually impact your success. If you want to be successful on the long-run, you have to invest in your self-care. Your mind and body are your main assets. Without them, you are nothing. So sleep well, eat well, do regular physical activity, spend time with your loved ones and recharge your battery to brave the different obstacles entrepreneurship can leave on your path.
Becoming an entrepreneur is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. When things are getting a little hard, I remind myself why I did it. At this stage, I don’t think I’ll ever be an employee again. It’s a beautiful adventure that I wish more people who have an entrepreneurial mindset would experience.