Personally, I think entrepreneurship is a bit of a disease with the only cure being to throw yourself headfirst into swirling, murky water in search of people (your co-workers, customers and partners) who share your vision to help change someoneâ€™s life for the better. And therein lays the blessing: touching someoneâ€™s life, making it better, and making it easier. In my opinion, when someoneâ€™s life is a bit easier they can get back to doing what they love to do.
Wendyâ€™s posts on blogging have made my life so much easier! I spent less time getting my blog upgraded and more time doing what I like to do: creating software applications, connecting/helping people, and blogging.
In my first venture, I worked with venture capitalists, handled board meetings, investor meetings, 40 employees, big customers, had long days, and had some fun. I was younger then. I wasnâ€™t married then. I was childless then. I was very tired when I left. I swore I would never, ever go through that again.
After having two amazing kids, my first and foremost realization was that giving birth to and taking care of little kids is the most challenging, most exhausting job on the planet. At least for me. Iâ€™m sorry but I am not one of those â€˜motherhood is all peaches and creamâ€™ types of people. I donâ€™t know how my mother did it by herself with two kids.
Having a kid who didnâ€™t sleep consistently at night until he was 4 (he just turned 5 and woke up twice last night) has been the ultimate test in endurance, strength (emotionally and physically), negotiation skills, patience, and distraction skills. Oh just try to get your 2 and 5 year olds to listen to you like people listen to you at workâ€¦sometimes itâ€™s easier and many times itâ€™s harder because the kids havenâ€™t learned how to blow you off with style yet. J Iâ€™ve heard they get better at that when they become teenagers.
However, to me, there is nothing like the warm, tingly, teary-eyed, heart full feeling you get when your 5 or 2 year old smiles at you, laughs out loud, tells you an inane knock-knock joke, gives you a hug, asks you for help, or wants to cuddle up next to you. Not even getting your first big customer, a promotion, or a successful product launch.
So having sworn off starting another business, I wondered what I could do to maintain my sanity, with a flexible schedule and at the same time feel challenged. I thought about working part time at Starbuckâ€™s but not only would I end up annoying everyone with my suggested improvements, I would also be tied to a certain shift thereby throwing flexibility out the window. Plus, I donâ€™t drink coffee, but I do enjoy their Passion Tea Lemonade and their Caramel Frappuccinos (when I donâ€™t feel fat!).
I then remembered why I would not make a great employee for a large business, that I should never swear things off, and consequently started Babble Soft, out of my home. Sometimes I wish I were selling coffee. 🙂
In my opinion, entrepreneurs:
- Embrace change and are comfortable with change (after a bit of freaking out, of course)
- Believe their ideas will work even when greater than 50% of the world looks at them as if they were nuts. They have to believe because something like 40-50% of new businesses fail in the first year and 80% fail within 3 to 5 years.
- Understand that building a business is a marathon, not a sprint (except if you are one of those people who start companies to flip themâ€¦nothing wrong with that but I donâ€™t see them as entrepreneurs, I see them as flippers J)
- Are hit in the face with a problem and after a bit of whining and â€˜why me??â€™ time, they start thinking about ways to work around or through it.
- They want to change the world. They want to make a difference!
What do you think makes an entrepreneur?
Or better yet what traits have you seen in non-entrepreneurs?
If you are an entrepreneur (or have seen one on TV, from a distance, or are related to one), do you think it is a blessing or a curse or a bit of both?
Aruni is the author of Babble Softâ€™s Blog. She has two kids, no pets, and a great husband. She is the founder of Babble Soft (her 2nd venture), and has taught Entrepreneurship at The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business.