I started my first entrepreneurial business venture about six months ago from this date. Initially, there was a lot of excitement to finally take the plunge into this “elite niche society” of entrepreneurs and innovators. The vision was to use a for-profit business in a social good model, in hopes to provide a new business structure for existing businesses and new ones in the future to model after. The hope was to change the way business is done and perhaps see a world where money and profit is not the sole bottom line, but using money and profit as a means to benefit others.
After the initial excitement inevitably wore off, I soon realized a previous lesson I had learned that the grass is not greener on the other side. However, I persevered through the long hours, the uncertainty of the business working out, disagreements with various people, and ultimately came out of this process with some reaffirmed and new found insights.
Never You can do business with friends or family, just be smart about it
Having grown up in a family that has been doing business our whole lives, one of the lessons I personally experienced and witnessed was to never do business with friends or family. Although there is some truth to this statement, I learned that it is not the business itself that tears friends and families apart, but it is what the business reveals about the people doing it together that does.
I learned through this experience that when you choose to partner with other individuals to pursue whatever goal or vision it may be, it is not enough to simply be like-minded or nice people in regards to a social aspect, but the core belief, the attitude, essentially the heart beat of the partners involved must be the same and in tune. If not, it may be possible to work things out, but it will be one bumpy ride.
2. People don’t exist to be trusted, they exist to be loved
On a similar note, I was also reminded of the above phrase that I heard in a sermon a few years back. It was said in the context of faith, however I found it very applicable to doing business as well as many areas of life.
It is important to be diligent with the work that you’re doing, making sure all the “i’s” are dotted and “t’s” crossed, because unfortunately you never know the intention of individuals. Trusting a man’s character or word is no longer something honorable in this day and age and thus it is important to recognize this. However, though this is true, it should not be the focus as this would only debilitate anyone attempting to achieve something for the greater good.
3. Stay focused and persevere, even when it hurts
This one is a little bit simpler and a philosophy many have asserted and subscribed to, however this is just another personal reminder of the reality of this side of the coin (i.e., startup business/entrepreneur). The word “entrepreneur” holds a catchy ring to it and corporate office workers seem to dream about escaping and pursuing this idea and concept of starting something new. However, having worked in the corporate office, there is merit in this type of work such as stability and collaboration (read more here) and entrepreneurship is not something for everyone. There are many days that can become drudgery just like office work. There are also many days that are more challenging and difficult since there is no real defined structure, ergo the appeal for some individuals. Having started this journey, I can say that the most difficult and challenging part has been the people I have worked with. Particularly the people that are closest to you, though done with the best intention and care in mind, sometimes have the most hurtful and heart piercing words an individual can hear when trying to aspire to do something grander than the norm. But, sometimes we need to identify the “chicken-littles” in our lives and just pursue on and enjoy the process despite the struggles and pains that come with it.
Having learned and experienced so much in the past six months, despite the first business venture flopping, I can take this failure as a true success and now am ready to keep on dreaming, keep on aspiring, and hopefully make a bigger impact and change to those around me, to ultimately enjoy their processes as well.