You’re Never Ready to be an Entrepreneur. But its Always the Right Time to Start.
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I’ve been around the entrepreneurial support ecosystem long enough to have learned quite a bit and realize how much I have left to experience and learn about supporting our region’s entrepreneurs in a constantly evolving and effective manner. There are times when I feel confident sitting down with someone to review where they are at, in their evolution, and other times when I’m worried that someone else could be doing a better job.
Throughout the course of my own learning, I have regularly heard from entrepreneurs, “I don’t know what to do next. I didn’t set out to start a business. I just wanted to solve a problem.”Its reassuring to know I’m not the only one.
Two Important Things
One of the things I have been reminded of (and seen) over the past year is that humility and perseverance are two of the most important things an entrepreneur needs. Sure, capital is crucial, mentoring often proves invaluable, and identifying the right market fit is fundamental to success.
But extrinsic resources aside, it is the intrinsic, the ability to become and stay committed to a long-term journey of learning and change that will ultimately determine if you arrive at your end goal. The ability to dig deep in tough times and push forward is what often distinguishes success and failure.
“Failure”, “fail fast”, “iterate”, “pivot”, and other similar buzzwords have infiltrated the entrepreneurial lexicon. With words like these in the mainstream, it may feel like it has been adopted wholesale and rejection no longer hurts. But having your work shot down, even in small bits, isn’t easy. Great entrepreneurial failures and rebounds create storied legacies but when those moments are happening to you and success is not certain, its a different story entirely.
Experts Are Made, Not Born
When you start the entrepreneurial journey, you may not be an expert in your field or know how to commercialize your business. And that is ok. Experts are made not born, they are made through blood, sweat, and tears. But to pick yourself is scary. To decide you have the wherewithal to charge into the unknown is to take a big risk and make yourself vulnerable.
All of this goes well with some of the most important work I discovered about two years ago. Dr. Brené Brown (TED profile) has been instrumental in helping me understand what keeps us from taking risks and vs. daring greatly. To be creative, to be innovative, is to make oneself vulnerable, to open oneself risk and rejection. But if we do not put ourselves out there to take a risk, we cannot learn and we cannot innovate.
So as you yourself, a friend, or family member sets out on the entrepreneurial journey or any for that matter, its ok to feel scared and like a fraud. Because it is through those mistakes, that learning and more, that you will innovate a product or service, supply chain, or production process, etc.