So you want to start a business?
If I had a nickel for every time someone invited me to coffee to "pick my brain" about how I made the plunge from corporate slavery to self-employment, I'd have more than $.50 - not even close enough to buy me another coffee because I live in Portland. I'm not complaining. The coffee is really good here.
I haven't heard it all, but I've heard A LOT of the reasons people are ready to trade their 9 to 5 for the self-employed grind.
- You're fed up because your boss is a jerk and makes your life a living hell.
- You work 80 hours a week doing something that robs you of all joy.
- You really love the work you do but you don't make enough money to pay your bills and you're sick of eating peanut butter for lunch. (more on this later)
- You're happy enough but know there's a part of you that's settling for something less in the work you do currently.
- You've maxed your potential and there's little room for growth with your current employer.
Do any of these scenarios resonate with you? I'm pretty sure I've experienced all of these but didn't have the insight to stop and think, wtf bruh!? until I got laid off from a cushy job that I may have never left on my own. It forced me to realize I wasn't actually happy and after some soul-searching and a ton of coffee dates with people I admire (oops), I knew I had to go at it on my own.
If you are like me a few years ago and are calling out to the universe, networking groups, passion finder courses, and your mom for what to do next, hear this Grade A nugget I learned:
The only difference between you and the business owner/entrepreneur you admire is that they just did it.
Wait, what? But didn't they take some course that prepared them for the work they do? Didn't they have a ton of savings to float them through the first few years? Didn't they have some lucky break when that trendy publication printed an article about them?
Maybe, but probably not. Every entrepreneur's circumstances when they start are as varied as a dang fingerprint. They take what they have and make it work. They just do it. There's nothing "special" about them (well, except for Elon). The only difference is that they have the courage to take the first and most difficult step. And we all know that courage is not the absence of fear, but the willingness to press on despite the fear.
I wish someone had told me very early on that there's no amount of preparedness that can prepare you for starting a business. Well, and that it's important to learn from your mistakes quickly because you will make ALL the mistakes.
If you want to get coffee and hear about how I started Copeland + Co, you'll be quickly disappointed to learn that I was the least prepared in all the land. It's shocking.
So if I can leave you with anything, it's this: