What I Didn't Expect About Post-School Entrepreneurship
Whatever you do in life — there will be ups, downs, things you are excited for, things you’re scared for, and things you didn’t expect.
Don’t get me wrong, I do love what I do and I did expect it would be challenging. But, before you jump on the bandwagon thought that being an entrepreneur is 100% all the glory: fun-time sitting at home in pjs with wine while making a shit ton of money. Talk to people, real people, real entrepreneurs, because it is so much more than that.
Fundamentally, jumping from high school to full fledged entrepreneurship was a lot. I thought I had thoroughly prepared myself throughout the duration of my 2 high school business ventures, but sometimes there are just a few things you cannot prepare for. Thus, I am here today, to talk about a few key concept that I never expected when I started in on post-school entrepreneurship venture.
These guys I have learned to love. I didn't at first. They're a hard pill to swallow. You have this amazing concept or idea and you think it is going to go one way when it decides out of no where that it isn't going to work or go the complete opposite. But, to make it in this world you have to own up to your curve balls and work with them. Nothing is a straight shoot — it doesn't goes one way. Life is a curve ball. You maneuver, bend, and work with it. The same thing goes with work in the entrepreneurial industry. Curve balls alone, are what have shaped my work to be the way it is today. I wouldn't have found my niche, started the Mentorship Program, or started my blog without them. In essence there isn't much to say for these guys. You may think you're ready for them — but you're not, and that is the most beautiful thing about them. Embrace your curve balls.
YOUR Goals define you
I never realized just how powerful having a list of goals could be. I know people tell you all of the time: have goals, make goals, new year, new goals, new you. Let your goals define you. Start small to big - the next 3 weeks to the next 3 years. Start each day with a to-do list, I let this be the bridge that carries over the larger week-month-year goals I make. Take it day by day. When I started into full-time entrepreneurship I had goals, but I didn't really understand where I was going. I knew what I wanted but not how to get there, or what necessary steps I needed to take. The minute I finally sat down to write out what I wanted to see happen with this venture everything became so much more clear. I saw patterns in my goals and how one thing could open my audience up to the next. I made changes, I pushed certain things harder than others, I realized that it all came together when I finally was able to sit down and ask myself, "so, what the hell are you doing?"
Stuck — This is a feeling that I have just recently come to learn and know. Stuck. I use it quite often. It basically means exactly what it comes across like — but it also hold this indescribable quality to it. To put it bluntly, when I've been stuck its been the individual moments between the worst to the bad, the bad to the good, and the good to the great, or at least that is my rendition of it. After a year of doing the same thing, in the same place, and not seeing the growth you expected, you can easily become stuck. But, how you use your “stuck” is crucial. Look at being stuck as an opportunity. Do something out of the ordinary, try something new, try a new strategy, new location, being stuck doesn’t have to mean things are going backward. And maybe, just maybe, your next best thing will come from your stuck.
Entrepreneurship in essence is building something up, your own concepts, by yourself. So regardless of the outcome, you will learn more about yourself then you ever thought. Coming from a small town in Indiana, I didn’t have a large community of creative, young, entrepreneurs to work along side. That loneliness brought me down for a long time, something I knew would be there but didn't know how much it would weigh on me. There's a quote "if you want to be successful you have to be willing to go away for a while" and that is probably the truest thing I have ever heard. Which in itself brought along the self-awareness portion. Through this I learned more about who I am, my goals, what I want from life, how I work best, when I am about to hit a creative rut. I learned more about myself in a year of working alone than the first 17 years of my life. Sometimes I even feel like I know myself too well. That's a scary thought I'm still trying to understand. Ha!
My perception of the money-to-success ratio has forever changed. You know how people say they can buy a lot for others but not themselves. I take to that trait but it is most apparent in terms of my business. I am happy and willing to throw in the towel on a $150 shirt to share awesome content with UO or finally make it in the top photos of the #uoonyou, when I never in a million years would actually walk into a store and buy something to that expense. Okay, to be honest I suck at actually shopping and can't remember the last time I went out and shopped for fun.
My goal looking toward my 20th year is to be financially stable and independent, but other than that I cannot put a single dollar amount with success. If I am pushing myself, continuing my craft, and building the goals I set before I started, then to me I feel successful. Money has nothing to do with it. The minute you come into entrepreneurship or begin a business venture solely on the fact that you want to be rich rather than have a focus on the fact that you are doing something because you are passionate — you lose. Money has not defined my success, I went four months straight without making a $1.00 because I was in transition with my media kit or pushing the completion of the Mentorship Program. I do what I do because I love it, not to make money. That, for certain, is something I never thought I would've said a year ago.
I Can't Do it
Yup. Almost a daily thought these days. But you know what? Someone once said that every big name, big business, and successful idea we see today was formed by one person who was courageous enough to do it, to go for it. I didn't expect to feel the "I can't do it" bug, I thought that by taking this risk I was going for what I wanted and a red carpet would be laid out before me with exactly what I needed to do and all would be right in the world. But it isn't the jump that matters, it's what you do after it that counts. So every time I feel a I can't do it come on, I remember that if being an entrepreneur was easy everyone would do it. So, change your perspective: those moments you feel like you can't do it, or you're stuck — maybe those are the moments that someone else quit. Because quitting is easy. Sticking through and proving that you can do it, that is the hard part.
This post hasn't been the most positive or happy-happy-goo-goo thing I've put out on the internet. I am always an optimist, especially online. But entrepreneurship can be hard and it is hard, and I wanted that to be apparent. It's an amazing adventure and I would never change what I do for the world and I find it so so important that each and every person finds and chases their dreams to no end. Because if you don't have big dreams and goals, you'll end up working for someone who does.