What's It Going to Take for You to Startup?
The art of starting up means different things to different entrepreneurs. Some start up because they want to be their own boss, others startup because they have a phenomenal idea while many startup out of shear necessity. That necessity could be related to being impacted by downsizing, quitting spontaneously or those who start up as a necessity because we are what I consider called-to-be entrepreneurs.
What's a called-to-be entrepreneur?
I'm glad you asked...
These are your against all odds, by any means necessary entrepreneurs – those of us who believe it’s our calling and mission to be entrepreneurs for one reason or another. In order for our life’s work to matter, we eventually have to be at the helm of our creativity, at the strategy and vision table able to pivot to new things when the time is right as a norm. Our contribution can’t be bound by a job description. It’s just not who we are. We simply don’t fit or thrive as just employees. To continue fighting against our mission driven lives as creators is mentally and emotionally exhausting.
We may find this out early in life or we find it later, often times the hard way, but when we look back we can clearly see a pattern that shows we were always seeking the life of an entrepreneur for reasons other than those of the wannabe, accidental, 'Be My Own Boss' or freelance entrepreneur types. We don’t become entrepreneurs because it’s glamorous, to get rich or be famous but those aren't bad bonuses to receive from pursuing our calling. We chose to become entrepreneurs because we believe it chose us. This is true though we may have spent years trying to get away from it or ignore the call. No matter, we always go back to it because we just cannot get rid of our desire to solve problems through our own creations or collaborations. A paycheck or title doesn't register for us when it comes to a fulfilled work life. When we stop running from our calling, we know in our gut there is no other option for our work life than ultimately become an entrepreneur.
Once a called-to-be entrepreneur finally gives in, decides to venture out and startup, there are things you must have in your survival toolkit to feel safe along your journey.
Thus the Courage & Candor community where entrepreneur leaders meetup was born. As your startup empowerment coach I recognize the decision to start up is not an easy decision to make. Initially you will second-guess your decision as uncertainty becomes your new normal. Accepting you are a called-to-be entrepreneur is one thing however being comfortable with the entrepreneur roller coaster is something altogether different. There are several tools, resources, books and communities that called to be entrepreneurs can glean from. It's important for us to tap into and apply these bountiful resources as there will never come a time that you won't need them.
There is no one recipe for success to starting up as there are far too many variables to contend with. As a founder I do know you will need to embrace three key ingredients to create your customized startup success recipe and that is courage, candor and community.
"I am courageous enough" will become your secret mantra as you proceed along your startup journey. This affirmation will remind you to stay consistent in pursuit of your goals while effectively curbing the naysayers, the doubters and the risk-adverse rhetoric that will play on repeat in your head and externally. The seeds of doubt will spring from every direction, from those you love, respect, some you don't know and others you may be loosely associated with. Remember you are in the minority as it relates to the number of people who choose to go their own way by creating and building something from scratch. You must increase the positive conversations to yourself in order to overcome what risk adverse status quo people believe about your life choices. You will need a constant drip of Courage to get comfortable saying "my journey is my life choice no one else's to define". The more you prepare yourself for this and affirm your desire to create your fulfilled life by design, the easier this act of being courageous will become. It is a never-ending, always evolving conversation with yourself. By the way that's a good thing.
Candor will become your bestie along your startup journey. By definition, to be candid means to have or possess the quality of being open and honest in your expression or to be frank. Other synonyms for candor include honesty, truthfulness, sincerity, directness, forthrightness, plain spoken and blunt. Everybody has an opinion and everyone believes they know what's best for you. Once you make a decision in life you have the right to be forthright in owning your journey and your life choices. This is your life and no one gets the right to tell you that you should live it a certain way or that you should be comfortable playing small with your life. Only you know how important it is for you to start something that matters and to make your life matter. No one else is going to get that. Be prepared for the crucial conversations to come by putting your stake in the ground and say "this is my life. Living a life doing anything other that what I love to do while profiting from my purpose and passion is not an option". When you have the ability to own that conversation and muster that level of candor, you are well on your way to effectively neutralizing anything and anyone that is not in agreement with your decision to start up.
Community is crucial. The worst mistake that you can make as a start-up is to believe you have all of the answers, you don't need anyone's help and you the ability to go this alone. It is simply unrealistic and absolutely not possible. The community component of starting up will keep you sane throughout this process! Remember you're in the minority of those who have decided to do something that is not status quo. You have chosen to live outside of the box of what others would consider their norm. You must place yourself in environments communities and ecosystems where you can be nurtured, grow, contribute and where you are understood. Your natural environment (i.e. most of your friends and family) are not going to be in the entrepreneurial space so you can't be supported substantially there. You cannot go to the majority of your friends and family who prefer to be employees to discuss the challenges that come with starting up and expect to get positive feedback from them. They are not like you. They won't get it nor understand why in the world you would ever choose to take this risk.
There's nothing wrong with them. You were looking for start-up love in all the wrong places. You have to connect with others who understand and get the challenges that come with starting up. You'll get plenty of practical advice from those who understand, inspiration to keep going and even better input as it relates to knowing when to pivot and when to persevere. Plant your self in spaces and conversation that advocate for the startup culture and spend most of your time there. This community does not have to be face to face interestingly enough. Subscribe to relevant podcasts, attend qualified events for startups and connect online with individuals who can become advisors, mentors, advocates and collaborators within the startup community.
As I chronicled my startup journey, I saw a void that could be filled by a giving community of entrepreneurs and advocates of startup culture.
It was clear to me pursuing your life where you are 100% responsible for setting the tone of what that looks like financially, professionally and wholistically would have many hills and valleys. Such is every life. The tools I've created to help you along your journey are a direct result of my experience and that of many other entrepreneurs I've spoken to. You are going to need a community of giving entrepreneurs that act as your own personal mastermind. You'll want access to information that frankly shows you how to not give up when life happens around you...and it will.
The Courage & Candor community is where we meet at the entrepreneur's round table to discuss all aspects of exiting your dead end job as an eventual entrepreneur to starting up and thriving as a dedicated entrepreneur. Subscribe to join the C&C community or contact me to collaborate. Whether you are an activator or a spectator, your presence is welcome!