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What Is It Like To Be An Entrepreneur

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From time to time, Boss Lady extraordinaire Karen Civil will send out these amazing and inspiring e-mail news letters. This particular one I’m about to share has been sitting in my inbox for over 8 months due to the simple, yet valuable information shared. The title reads “What Is It Like To Be An Entrepreneur” and is written by one of Karen’s close friends Olori Swank. Once a pre-med student, Swank quickly switched career paths when the VP of A&R at Jive asked her to style one of his artist. Since then, she’s styled artist like Teyanna Taylor and T.I., and even penned a book this year titled 101: The Blueprint for A Swank Life.

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“It’s amazing, exhilarating, satisfying and most often times fun. What it is not, is ‘a walk in the park.’

Let’s say you’ve decided to take this entrepreneur journey. Of course, you’re super excited to finally be following your dream(s). You’ve seen and read so many inspiring start-up stories and you’re just glad to finally be in the number. Maybe you even quit your job to take this new life-path by the horns. Regardless of your situation, you are looking forward to the privilege of: setting your own hours, signing your own checks and maybe signing the checks of a few other people too.

Plain and simple, you’re pretty geeked about it. Entrepreneurship is something that you feel you were destined to do- it’s your ‘calling’; but although entrepreneurialism may indeed be the path your destiny has led you on, there’s definitely a lot more to the entrepreneur story than the this-will-all-work-out-the-exact-way-I-planned fantasy that many aspiring entrepreneurs tend to formulate in their minds.

Let me be the first to tell you that it is very very rare that everything will work out the exact way you planned. The road to entrepreneurship is far from a straight line. You will meet plenty dead-ends and set-backs along the way. The key is to anticipate them so you can modify and adjust accordingly …and in the long-run, WIN!

Statistics indicate that there are way more businesses that fail within the first year than there are that suceed. I believe it’s because aspiring entrepreneurs enter business with unrealistic expectations. Often times, the adrenaline pumping through their bloodstream might cause them to convince them-selves that entrepreneurship is easy. They have not taken an accurate survey of what it actually means to be your own boss. I want to use this opportunity to give you a few things to keep in mind in order to help you be one of those successful businesses.

1. Just because it’s your passion doesn’t mean it’s supposed to be easy. As I mentioned before, this journey will be far from easy; but your passion and love for it will help get you through the rough times.

2. You are more than just the CEO. In the beginning you will have to be the secretary, IT specialist, and Janitor too. Besides it being important to know every aspect and operational task required of your business; you most likely won’t have the capital to hire a team in the early phases of your business.

3. You must pay your dues before you expect change (see what I did there. Lol). Don’t get discouraged and impatient when things don’t happen as quickly as you would like them to. Stick with it and you will eventually reach the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

4. Be disciplined and set realistic goals. Know yourself and your nature when it comes to how you best get things done and plan effectively! Write out your vision; develop a message for your brand; and set realistic goals for yourself, both long term and short term. Be sure to include benchmark goals in order to track your progress. Write out a schedule that you can stick to, but also allow for a small amount of wiggle room. …And say goodbye to 9-5er luxuries like ‘sick days’ because as an entrepreneur, there’s no such thing as paid leave. If you don’t work, you don’t eat!

The best advice that I can give to an aspiring entrepreneur would be to trust your gut and your instincts. Be very consistent with your message and very focused on your goal(s); never be afraid to take risks- go for it; and work smart in addition to working hard. Above all else, remember: If it were easy, everyone would do it. Nothing worth having is ever easy to obtain.”

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