It wasn’t because of the latent heat and humidity, the remnants of the hottest day of the year. It wasn’t because of ‘the wife’, the continuous battle for nightly supremacy and the mastery / ownership of the duvet. It was because of the stresses which can arise from living with someone afflicted with the condition of entrepreneurship. There is no question that all entrepreneurs are brave. However, this particular strain of affliction could be more serious than the others. You see, endeavouring to start a creative and disruptive business brings its own unique pressures.
These ‘distinctive’ pressures stem from the necessity to explain the particular creative concept to B2B and B2C (or both) customers. There is a degree of message optimisation, debate, relationship building, confidence building. Why should the potential client engage with, run with and ultimately, pay for your specialised products or services? This particular ‘mating ritual’ ensures there is a significant period of slow growth and development. It is only until the entrepreneur has the figures, the data, the evidence that his new ‘fandango’ actually does work, that things start to move, traction and paid engagements build and money starts to come through the door. Until then, the money goes in but one direction. Down.
To ‘observers’ within the protagonist’s inner circle (close family, to you and me), they over-see things with increasing concern. (In most cases, they are right!) Like wizard’s eyebrows, the bristles begin to move towards each-other, as the rough and crevassed sea they float upon creases together. The fear of the unknown, like watching a sorcerer’s apprentice concoct a new ‘magical’ potion, using potentially harmful (even explosive!) components… the smoke continues to waft from the aforementioned bubbling potions.
This protagonist has pretty much experienced at least a snippet of all the feelings and emotions, an entrepreneur can. The Idea phase, the Concept Phase, the ‘What if?’…Phase. After some consultation with friends and others, the ‘This Could Grow Legs Phase’ and then (for this Promoter), the ‘Start your own Business Course’ phase. The build up to this particular decision is the first, ‘let’s do this’ moment. And you, Dear Reader, whom might fancy a taste of this entrepreneurial action, at this stage you ‘must be in it, to win it’ now.
Following phases include the modification / adjustment of the idea (after primary research, which in itself is exhilarating!). Health check: at this stage you should not have spent too much time nor money on the idea. (Perhaps 4-6 months). Will the idea work? The decision is yours alone. Proceed or discard? Others can only provide guidance, opinion. DON’T BE AFRAID TO TELL YOUR IDEA TO OTHERS! Honest feedback from many sources is exactly what you need. Digest what you hear from them. When you start to commit your own money, that’s when things get interesting! And truly terrifying: the Commitment Phase!
If building your own business was a drug, building your own creative business would be crack cocaine. You see, you have worked your concept, incubated it, gestated it, it’s near ready to bring to life, Dr. Frankenstein. Others, by now will be in place to support you, in that I mean contractors, (who ultimately get paid at the end of the day), but who also are a positive, supportive influences. Having a product / service which, like a parent, has been nurtured from conception through to development and exhibition is a truly fantastic journey. Dare I say it, an inanimate maternal emotion. An emotion that can become an addiction.
Moments of sheer exhilaration are experienced on this creative entrepreneurial journey. Like, seeing the glint in the eye when a complete stranger ‘understands’ what you are trying to do, they can feel it, see it. They idea resonates between you both. Back and forth. Invisibly. Subliminally. You are together on the same plain of understanding. When someone, a stranger, even a friend, purchases a gift item you have designed. Like the embrace you might receive (and have received) when another business owner can see light at the end of their bleak tunnel as a result of your optimised sales pitch, your hard work, your belief that you can help them. They see how your differentiating service can perhaps rescue them from their own choppy waters. Emotional interactions such as these, are priceless. Truly magnificent experiences.
But they don’t put ‘food on the table’.
You see, entrepreneurship is all about creating a business. Cash is reality. If you are not making hard currency from this endeavour of yours, you are living in a virtual reality. You stand open to consumption. Consumption by the spectre of poverty (again and ongoing!) and everything that brings. Let’s be real about this. Others will suffer as a result of a perceived ‘unsuccessful’ entrepreneurial journey. (There is no such thing as an unsuccessful entrepreneurial journey, by the way). They will fear the worst, as they look from afar and formulate perceptions of how your journey is going. You may even tell them, both intentionally and unintentionally. When they get worried, they will express this and transfer it back to you, the protagonist, the promoter, the brave. You must be prepared for this. It’s an additional bout of stress, a burden you do not ask for, nor need, but it will come.
You can and potentially will, (perhaps selfishly, remember: it can become an addiction!) hurt those around you. Be advised. It’s important to continually assess, conduct a health-check on your journey, having the final ‘successful’ destination in mind at all times. Be honest with yourself. Proceed or discard?
The only way an entrepreneur can truly fail is to not give 100% to his / her endeavours. It’s all about commitment. Controlled commitment. Entrepreneurs must listen. Assess. Learn. There must be a drop-dead date, like a rope ladder dangling from a rescue helicopter, ready to save you from the flames of ambition. Never be afraid to get on it.
You are a success.
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