For the last seven years, I have been self-employed. I still remember the day I went into my boss’s office and told her that I was quitting.
On maternity leave at the time, I had arranged a meeting with my boss a month or so before I was due to return.
On the day of, I walked into her office and sat down. My hands were sweating, and I seriously re-considered what I was about to do. Before I could change my mind, I blurted out that I was quitting and following my dream of starting a business.
The look on her face said everything. She was unhappy, and I felt guilty. She was like my work mom, and I felt terrible letting her down. She confessed to me that she thought I was coming in to say I was coming back early. To her credit, though she was upset, she still wished me luck and gave me some friendly advice about her daughters entrepreneurial journey before she ushered me out of her office.
It was and still is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
After that fateful day, I felt a mixture of emotions: excitement, fear, guilt, and determination. I was excited to be following my dreams, fearful about what I was doing, and determined that I wasn’t going to fail. After all, running a business couldn’t be that hard, could it?
Fast forward to 2019
Well, I will tell you one thing. Being an entrepreneur has taught me more lessons than I ever thought possible. Building a business is like raising a child. When you think you understand them, they change and then change again.
It has been a journey that has been mentally, emotionally, and financially exhausting. If I could go back to that day, in that office with my boss, I might have tapped myself on the shoulder and said, “Think about this for a minute Laura, are you sure you want to do this?”
There is a reason why some people think we entrepreneurs are crazy. You might have to be just a little off your rocker to enjoy this life. To quote Arlene Dickinson, “It’s not just a job; it’s a lifestyle.”
When you choose to do this you are choosing a life of no guarantees, no consistency and no one to pat you on the back. You must be strong and resilient and knowledgeable.
What type of entrepreneur do I want to be
I have come to realize that this is a lifestyle that suits me. I am fiercely independent, and I will admit, slightly impatient. A work in progress here, guys, but aren’t we all.
I have been thinking a lot lately as the year comes to a close about what type of entrepreneur I want to be? For me, I want to be an entrepreneur that:
Makes a difference in people’s lives. I want to inspire and motivate people with the training and workshops I do or the content I create. I also have no problem slowing my business growth to be there for my family. They are my everything. If success comes with all those boxes ticked, then so be it! If not, I will keep trucking along. That’s another thing about entrepreneurs; we don’t give up easy!
I have come across other entrepreneurs that move along their path in a different fashion. Some have a belief in the bull-dog approach, some the planning approach, others a mixture of both.
When asking the question of what type of entrepreneur you want to be, you are also asking yourself what kind of person you want to be.
- Could you live with yourself knowing you didn’t take a chance?
- Could you feel confident in your abilities if you charged more or less?
- Could you sleep soundly at the end of the day with the choices you have made about your business?
You may also ask yourself, could you work for someone else again?
I would like to believe that I could. I know I could if I had too. I certainly have skills that would help grow another person’s business. Skills that I believe take much longer to attain in the corporate world. Entrepreneurship is baptism by fire. Hand holding, not so much. You get to see what you are made of and fast.
The type of entrepreneur you want to be could equal your definition of success
Now, I have been fortunate to interview business owners all year long on my podcast, The Chatty Content Creator.
Each person I have interviewed has a different definition of what a successful entrepreneur is. Some say it’s a monetary success; some say it’s charitable success, some point to lifelong achievements realized.
Just like entrepreneurship itself, there is no right way to travel this road and no success benchmarks you need to pass. It’s all up to you! I think this is part of what gets me up in the morning — the rush of possibilities.
Unknowingly, I changed the trajectory of my life that day in my boss’s office. If I had stayed, I would have probably still been there doing the same thing or maybe would have moved into a slightly more senior position, which would have been okay. I wouldn’t have known any different, after all. If you don’t go through a door, you never know what could be waiting on the other side.
However, I now know different, and I couldn’t settle for a life where I wasn’t growing and changing and making an impact on someone else’s.
I guess that’s the type of entrepreneur I want to be.