A person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and willing to risk loss
Do you find yourself sitting at your work desk imagining all of the ways you could run your company better than your boss? Even though you effectively communicate better with co-workers, display better organizational skills, and are capable of producing innovative ideas, you remain content with your position at the job. I mean how can you really be the boss when your role is to only be the “worker bee,” right?
Perhaps you’re the student that dreadfully sits through college courses for a major you have absolutely no interest in but chose it to appease your parents. Instead of “following your dreams” you choose to stick to the “safe” option by majoring in something that’s guaranteed to make your family proud and/or make you money. Who doesn’t like to have a sense of security?
Maybe you are that individual that carries around a sketch pad, a journal, or even make use of your phone to keep record of your every idea. You know your ideas are amazing and that they could possibly evolve into some level of social media fame, but you doubt that your ideas will ever evolve into a multi-billion dollar enterprise. Aren’t you just like the next average Joe that’s looking for a “come-up”?
Quite possibly you are a working, full-time parent that feel as if you’ve missed your chance to fulfill your entrepreneurial aspirations. Your child’s security is your number one responsibility so you gave up on your personal dreams to ensure that your child is able to seamlessly live out his/her dreams. You tell yourself that you can’t afford to take risks. In the mix, you unconsciously find yourself trying to live through your child by persuading him/her to become involved with all of the things that are of value to you.
Long story short is that you have ideas to be the boss of your own passion and enterprise one day, but YOU are the only person unconsciously stopping you. Through life you may have heard the saying that “you can be whatever you want to be as long as you put your MIND to it.”
“Putting your mind to it,” is only half of the battle. Don’t get me wrong, having dreams and plans are all contributions for a great start. However, to maximize your full potential and ensure that your dreams come into fruition, you’re going to have to do a little more than just “putting your mind to it”. Consider the following successful entrepreneurs:
Madam CJ Walker (unique vision of a beauty and hair product line for African American women)
Steve Jobs (unique vision for the creation of Apple computers)
Pierre Omidyar (unique idea for the development of EBay)
Reginald Lewis (unique vision for the TLC Beatrice International grocery store)
What’s so special about these individuals? Madam CJ Walker drove her to being a self-made millionaire by traveling the country to promote her home made products. Steve Jobs had a low GPA while attending college because he did not prefer the “school structure” yet ended up reaching the status of a billionaire. French- born Pierre Omidyar has been quoted stating that he never really thought that he would start his own company but he was motivated by his passion for technology. Reginald Lewis’s grocery store idea resulted in him owning the first black owned company to have more than 1 billion dollars in annual sales.
Despite having various dreams, each individual believed in themselves and went exceedingly beyond just “putting their minds to it.” Many outsiders initially viewed the ideas of the entrepreneurs listed above as crazy projects bound to fail. Onlookers doubted that the dreams of these individuals would ever truly manifest into profitable enterprises. Outsiders even gave these individuals THEIR opinions on ways to make the ideas “better”. In the face of naysayers, these entrepreneurs held steadfast to their own ideas and put in the WORK to make their dreams come true. They knew that being an entrepreneur included having a surplus of initiative, taking monumental risks, establishing a solid plan, being a leader, and believing in their unique ideas even if no one else did. More importantly, they understood that trial and error were a natural result of trying. Falling a few times did not stop them from getting back up every time as with other entrepreneurs.
So, why does this post even matter? I’m just a self-proclaimed blogger and columnist. Why does being an entrepreneur matter so much to me? I am that student that sat through some college courses wondering “why am I here” sometimes. I am that mom who contemplated throwing away personal dreams for the security of my son. I am the person that sits at her 8am – 5pm job blessed to have a steady source of income but not personally fulfilled. I, too, have many dreams. I would love for my blog to grow in hopes of being a successful free-lance writer. I would love to build an easily recognizable brand (SimplyMei) that would positively inspire people of all ages. Ultimately, I would love to establish a non-profit organization that caters to the needs of “at-risk” youth in the community in efforts to let them know that there ARE people that still care and believe in their potential. However, I have personally learned many things along my entrepreneurial journey so far. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, I hope sharing my own personal experiences will inspire you to keep pushing forward. Being your own boss will require many things. My personal experiences include:
1. Learning to Balance: Learning to balance is a skill that requires work and patience. What sets an entrepreneur apart as an individual is their relentless dedication to make time for their passion even with other responsibilities on their plate. An entrepreneur’s motivation is the result of an unconditional love for their craft or business. Some key elements for successful balancing include knowing how to prioritize, how to divide huge goals into small achievable steps, and knowing when to be honest with one’s self.
WHAT DOES THIS LOOK LIKE FOR SIMPLYMEI? During my undergraduate career of college, I had to map out my plate of priorities. I knew that there were certain things that needed to be on my plate such as being a role model to my son, maintaining a nice GPA, and sustaining a job for financial needs. Knowing my priorities forced me to sit aside other aspirations such as purchasing a new car. Did I give this aspiration up completely? No, I did not. However, I did have to be real with myself at that current time. I had a son to financially provide for on part-time income and a 30 minute commute every day from home to school that required gas money. I could’ve stopped going to school to work full time and would have been able to afford car payments more easily. Instead, I chose to make do with what I had to achieve smaller goals that ultimately served as a foundation for bigger goals. In regards to bigger goals, I’ve always dreamed of having my own blog, successful brand, and non-profit organization for youth. Yes, I have started to hone in more on these goals but balance is still key for me. Writing out “to-do” lists at the beginning of my day, writing blog material on lunch breaks at work, and keeping a calendar handy are just a few examples of how I stay balanced and maximize my “daylight hours.”
2. Being Confident: Entrepreneurs are typically individuals that are full of fresh, unique ideas. However, there is a significant difference between having a dream and having a plan. Dreams are visions of the mind that reflect your deepest aspirations. A plan is like a contract. It is you telling yourself that no matter what risk is involved, “here is what I am going to do” and “here is how I am going to achieve it”. A plan is designed to turn those thoughts of the mind into calculated plans of action. Many entrepreneurs will tell you that truly getting started might be one of the scariest leaps you will take in life. What if you try and fail? What if no one is as passionate about your aspiration as you are? What if you receive no support? The truth of the matter is, if you want to be your own boss, you need to know that all of those scenarios are realistic possibilities. Understand that you will never 100% reduce all of the risks that comes with starting your own business or enterprise. All you can do is truly take time to put in as much thought as you can behind a solid plan action. Do not rush this process. It is okay to review and edit your plans so that you are confident when you put them into action. However, don’t dwell in the planning process for longer than intended out of fear that your ideas won’t be well received. If your passion keeps you up at night, isn’t acting on your dream worth the risk?
WHAT DOES THIS LOOK LIKE FOR SIMPLYMEI? I can remember the first day I shared my thought of starting a blog with someone. I won’t mention this person’s name but their response was very negative. It startled me because this was a person that was very close to me. I expected nothing but support. Instead this person asked me why I planned on spending time on a blog when “no one reads anymore.” This person continued by telling me that it was a dumb idea that would never make money Furthermore, I was told that I needed to give up “petty dreams” and focus on being just a parent. Those criticisms were used as my motivation. I wanted to fulfill my dreams for myself and a part of me also wanted to prove them wrong. I don’t believe you have to give up on the things that you deeply care for. I worked hard to write out plans for blog topics. I spent months developing a website, blog name, mission statement, logo, and so forth. Though it is still a work in progress, I am happy that I didn’t let negativity stop me. The blog has come a long way. I am overjoyed by the feedback that I receive from subscribers and I look forward to continual growth.
3. Seeking Feedback: I think receiving feedback is one of the hardest aspects of being an entrepreneur. Sometimes you may ask for feedback. However, there will be times when people will share their opinion without you asking and these shared opinions won’t always be positive. Understand that as an entrepreneur, you make yourself susceptible to all types of different feedback. It is important to separate the constructive criticism from the negative comments.
WHAT DOES THIS LOOK LIKE FOR SIMPLYMEI? I am so open to constructive criticism. When you are younger, constructive criticism can feel like an attack. The truth is that sometimes people are a little bit more experienced in your field than you are and that is okay. Take heed to their wisdom. There have been subscribers that have emailed me about grammatical errors. There have been subscribers that were searching for a more in depth response to a topic submission. There have even been subscribers to suggest ways to enhance the layout of my blog’s website. Being an aspiring entrepreneur, I have learned how to openly receive advice but also take everything with a grain of salt. Feedback can propel you in the direction that you need to go. As much as we like to think we have all of the answers… We don’t.
Now, I don’t think I know everything. My blog posts are simply my thoughts. You may do with them what you wish. However, if nothing else, please consider my one piece of advice:
Your vision won’t be understood, accepted, or supported by everyone. Believe in yourself so much to the point where others will have no choice but to wonder what the hype is about.
If you would like to share any thoughts, questions, or comments in regards to this post feel free to leave a message in the comment box on the blog’s website page. You may also leave a comment on the “Simply Mei” like page via Facebook, contact me on Instagram (@lovee_mei), or email be directly (email@example.com). Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed!
Until next time…