I was meant to become an entrepreneur
This isn’t meant to be a how-to on what it takes to build a business. There are plenty of great resources out there for that. This is a snap-shot of my process, of what I do to help keep my mind on the prize, even when that prize isn’t so clear cut.
I’ve been running a side-business since the early cold mornings of 2009, a week or so after I lost my job to the recession. I was so mad at the boss who laid me off, but honestly, I wasn’t happy at that job. I was 23 at the time, restless, scared, clueless about the future and life in general. What 23-year old isn’t?
So I took the challenge head on and realized this period was going to define the template for how I’d manage ALL struggles in life. I was kinda right.
And a big chunk of that is remembering your origins because your past matters.
All through my childhood, my mom was gone from 6am to 6pm to make sure we had enough food on the table, clothes on our backs and whatever else we (reasonably) could afford to live comfortably. My dad worked too, primarily as a school teacher, but he always had handy-man projects that kept him busy to help bring in some spare cash. .Every now and then, he’d slip me and my brother some money from a job — either working on bricks or helping someone with their home — it was his way of making sure we spent it on something fun. I was home alone a lot with my brother and literally had free reign of the neighborhood, but we were good kids because we knew our parents were busting their asses for us.
I was raised to find work in any opportunity because you’ve got to make your own way. I was raised to lead with your creativity, personality, ingenuity. I was a good student in school, but not because I was the brightest, but I could estimate exactly how long it was take to do X and not spend a minute more on it.
The 80/20 rule applies to many aspects of my life. Polishing the details was not my expertise, but damn, I could get to the heart or something like a lightning bolt.
To teachers, I was that mixture of clever and hard-working. I might flunk a test one day, but be asking for extra credit help the next. Because I wasn’t the smartest, I learned how to use what little entry ways available. I’ve made most of my connections this way — being able to see the smallest crack and advance myself that way. This might be my super power and also meant I was bound to be an entrepreneur, someone who is driven to bring an idea to life. I love creating something out of nothing.
Since I didn’t come from money, there were no financial resources to hoist me up, I had to hustle my skills to earn a living. Because I wasn’t the smartest, I had to rely on the other intelligence to make a name for myself. I also wasn’t too afraid of failing — mainly that’s from my parents unconditional support of me, but also, I’m wired as an optimistic realist, meaning: I think just about anything is possible IF you approach it with diligence.
The downside of this — and there are many — is I find it hard to ask for help because I’m used to doing things myself, my way, and take pride of being able to figure it out. But this isn’t a great asset to growing a business, so I’m working on this one. Another downside is that it’s hard to stay focused on one thing at a time. I literally have 10 very good ideas I could work on at any time, but picking a lane is the key to success. I’m also hard on myself to succeed, even truthfully I don’t know what I mean by “success”. It’s not measure financially, or by achievements — the only way I can explain what success means to me is….I can be Rachel more often than not.
Being an entrepreneur is often lonely work. And it’s hard. I have a day job still too, and I’m married, have friendships, personal hobbies — time is the single most precious resource to me and I’m always worried about wasting it.
Relaxing is not easy.
So I’m writing all this as a way for me to be accountable to myself, to my process and also, maybe give you a glimpse into the background of what makes me tick and how I’m working on my business. I’ll probably talk about tips, tricks, realities of holding a day-job + side-business, but I don’t want this to turn into an advice-thing because you don’t need that.
I’m not any better than anyone else — I’ve just worked with what I’ve got and that’s the point I guess for all of us.