Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Wannabe Entrepreneur

Waking up one morning in the winter of 1985, fear consuming my body, I thought, “How can I continue to do this for another 35 years?” Normally a hard worker, conscientious of my responsibility to those who rely on me, especially when getting paid, perhaps that dreadful morning was the result of not fulfilling my commitment.

I was working for a major corporation, one whose acronym is recognizable to millions of people. It was considered a privilege to land a job there, like being accepted into an Ivy League college, yet I couldn’t make it work for me. As a software developer for a ginormous project that was going nowhere, I found that I couldn’t connect to it. Bored and frustrated, I did the unthinkable—I left. But before I did, I began to think of my backup plan.

“Income?… Hmmm… What if I can’t resume my desire to continue with computer programming?”

“Real estate investing. Aha! I can do that.”

Sooo… I took a course (the ones that people take when preparing to get a real estate license) and began my search for a rental property when it occurred to me to buy my own house first; and I did. My closing date was a month after turning 27 years old, which was relatively young in the high market Washington/Baltimore area—a sign of my wannabe entrepreneur tendency.

Still interested in investing in real estate, I continued the search for a second house and convinced my brother to try the “land lording” business, too. He would get on board and take off; me—I got happy with my new job at my new company and my real estate excitement dwindled. But there was still this feeling of wanting to do something that would provide income based on my own creativity (which I thought I had.)

I will spare you the details of the two businesses that I tried and never managed to get going; but I will say that neither involved multi-level marketing, i.e. Amway, Mary Kay, etc.

So after discovering that working a 9 to 5 job (with occasional overtime, stress, and traffic issues) and simultaneously launching a business is not for the faint of heart, visions of a career change began to occupy my mind. “Can I teach kids at a school? Or maaaybe I’ll pack up for an adventure in another country!” Funny, just when I began to give serious thought to the “move-to-another-country thing,” Darling Husband appeared on the scene and the ultimate adventure began. (Mom’s prayers were answered.)

Yes, marriage and children changed my course again. The 9 to 5 was replaced with the 24/7. There would be no more business experiments, unless you count my brief interest in eBay.

In an article for PsychologyToday, Art Markman, Ph.D., said, “Starting your own business is difficult. You have to put in long hours. You have to be prepared to fail.  A high percentage of new ventures do not succeed.  You have to be willing to change course if things are not working out as expected.”

He also said, “Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur.  For decades, psychologists and business researchers have explored whether there is a collection of personality traits that is associated with starting a business.”

I’ve wondered about that, too—who’s cut out to be an entrepreneur? There are the obvious people—the Oprahs and Bill Gates’ of the world, but what about the average Joes and Marys who run small businesses. My neighbor owns an occupational therapy business with several employees, plus she has a small eatery franchise. Did she want to “be her own boss,” feel that she had to “do what she loved doing,” or want to “make more money?” Tons of people have these desires, yet only a small percentage of the wannabes pursue it, and of those who do, an even smaller percentage are successful.

Entreprenuers have always fascinated me. I used to read their books, but now watch shows like Shark Tank. I even enjoy The Antique Road Show which is indirectly entrepreneurial, as people dig through their stuff hoping to find something valuable.

So is it mainly about money? Or are entrepreneurs satisfying a need for independence and/or creativity? Is it the thrill of the chase? Hmmm…

I don’t know if I’ll ever invest time in another business idea, though it’s possible. What I’ve learned is that goals of other sorts can be just as rewarding—although you’re more likely to be spending money than making it.

Now I’m on the 5 year plan of learning something that satisfies the wannabe entrepreneur, dreamer, and adventurer spirit in me. I just reached five years of horseback riding lessons, so on to learning Spanish. Check with me in 2018.

Oh, by the way, I have the utmost respect for all people who are hardworking and loyal to their jobs; not just entrepreneurs.

Have you ever owned a business or do you own one now? What was/is your experience? If not, would you like to start a business?

video
Yeeeee Hawwww  Amigos!


10/3/13 addendum:

Tabor’s comment had a good question about horseback riding, one that I hear sometimes, regarding the length of time it takes to learn to ride a horse. Learning how to relax into the saddle (not bouncing), posting, trotting, riding on a diagonal, and riding in a two-point position are all things I learned within ten or so lessons. Trotting in a figure 8 and cantering would soon follow, and within the year, jumping.

The learning continues because so many factors are involved. The size of the horse makes a difference. I do better on the larger horses. The speed makes a big difference. The horse in the jump on the video can be very fast, therefore, I had to control her speed and keep my head up, otherwise, I’d have been likely to get thrown off. Other things, like trail rides, pose different challenges: what to do when your horse decides not to go over the creek, hanging on (but giving free rein) when your horse is running up a hill (fun!), how not to let your horse run down a hill, handling a spooked horse, and so on. It seems that every lesson presents a surprise move by the horse that challenges the mental aspect of riding; in other words, knowing how to react quickly.

So as long as you’re dealing with an animal, the learning never stops. Thanks for bringing this up Tabor.

26 comments:

Barb said...

I have never had the desire for my own business, though I was a free-lance writer for many years when I was also teaching. My husband owned his own business, and we endured quite a bit of stress but also were financially rewarded so he could retire early. One of our sons owns his own business - it's stressful but he seems to love it. Owning a business is not romantic - it is just realizing that the buck stops here, and you must put your time and cash on the line every day. I think some people have the stomach for it, and others need a bit more security. I loved the video, Anita. My granddaughter loves her lessons and also jumps. She's been taking about 4 years.

Shelly said...

I've often thought about starting a business, but my lack of experience makes me chicken.

Good for you, having the business owning spirit. It takes such perseverance that it's not for the fainthearted!

joeh said...

Sometimes people with the toughest bosses are those who work for themselves!

Tabor said...

I think to run your own business you have to like people. You have to be able to read people as well, your own staff and your customers. Finally you have to be detail oriented or hire someone who is. Five years of lessons riding horses is interesting. I never knew it required that much time, unless you are competing?

Judy Thomas said...

Nine of ten new small businesses fail, and more so in this economy. I don't like those odds.

Anita said...

Tabor’s comment had a good question about horseback riding, one that I hear sometimes, regarding the length of time it takes to learn to ride a horse. Learning how to relax into the saddle (not bouncing), posting, trotting, riding on a diagonal, and riding in a two-point position are all things I learned within ten or so lessons. Trotting in a figure 8 and cantering would soon follow, and within the year, jumping.

The learning continues because so many factors are involved. The size of the horse makes a difference. I do better on the larger horses. The speed makes a big difference. The horse in the jump on the video can be very fast, therefore, I had to control her speed and keep my head up, otherwise, I’d have been likely to get thrown off. Other things, like trail rides, pose different challenges: what to do when your horse decides not to go over the creek, hanging on (but giving free rein) when your horse is running up a hill (fun!), how not to let your horse run down a hill, handling a spooked horse, and so on. It seems that every lesson presents a surprise move by the horse that challenges the mental aspect of riding; in other words, knowing how to react quickly.

So as long as you’re dealing with an animal, the learning never stops. Thanks for bringing this up Tabor.

Margie said...

Never wanted to have my own business.
All I ever wanted was to be a teacher (like my mom) and I taught till I had kids , then I became a Nanny and did that for over 20 years.
I'm just "all about kids"
I was be not be any good at business but I admire those that are, it's not easy!

Loved the video.

Thanks for the kind words on my poetry, I love writing it and have been since I was 10 years old.

Margie said...

*would*

yonca said...

Some of them so familiar:)Anita,
I checked out so many'work at home-be your own boss' stuff. I'm a Ebay seller too..and I tried working as a broker too:=)
I used to run my own bussines,years ago....maybe you know. Right now, I work for a A.C company..and have a couple of years to being retired.Then?..I've an 11 years old and probably
i will need to keep working after retirment though. Great post as usual.Have a great weekend!Any plan about writing a book, Anita?

Linda Hensley said...

I came close to starting a business, but then let my love life derail my plans. I'll probably always wonder if I should've stuck with the business instead, especially since the relationship didn't work out, but I don't know if I have that extra something that successful business people have. I like to work, but it's not about the $ for me, which completely befuddles entrepeneurs. It's good that there are people who do start businesses though because that gives the rest of us a place to work!

Julie Magers Soulen said...

My husband and I have done both; owning our own business and working for others. They both have their ups and downs. We both like the freedom of being entrepreneurs, but as you said the work never stops.

In regard to horseback riding, yeehaw! I have ridden (not regularly) since I was a kid and have a lot of stories. Mostly I love the feeling of a full gallop across a mountain meadow with my elbows out and flapping. Haha!

K said...

After making the decision to stay home with our daughters, I turned to writing as a parttime job but more as me fulfilling my love and dream of being a writer. Now as our girls enter school I still want to be home with them, so I started another part time job in April and I love it! I too didn't want to do an MLM nor something that made me sit in front of the computer all day long, so I found a way to do something I love that allows me to stay home with my girls and supplements my writing (since writing short stories doesn't pay much!): I get to share with others ways to bring more health and wellness into their lives! It's been fun and rewarding to help so many other moms and families, and it's nice to be generating some extra income.

My dad used to work corporate, but he left it to open up our own family bakery. I think he spent 20 hours a day toward making the bakery a success (and lots of money loaned) and we worked there as a family so I have lots of fond memories. But after a year of operating his own business it took a toll on him and he returned to his previous type of job.

I think the idea of owning one's own business is a great one, but it is harder than people realize. Fortunately I enjoy both of my part time jobs that allow me to stay home with my daughters :)

Great topic Anita! Thank you so much for returning to my blog after my long hiatus!!

Abby said...

Very interesting (do I always say that as my first comment to your posts?). I think there are certain personalities that are more apt to to the entrepreneur route.

And now I'm curious about the recognizable acronym place you worked...

I did the home daycare thing for a while, and I enjoyed the business aspects of it as much as the cute kids. Now, I do the private tutor bit. Both have been good, but yes, a lot of work behind the scenes, and I sometimes get the urge to just be another part of "headcount".

Property Speaker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Property Speaker said...

Good article, very interesting read. Thank you for posting!

Rod
FREE £197 Property Download "5 Instant Ways to Raise Finance For Your Property Deals" http://tiny.cc/property-webinars

Haddock said...

What I have observed is that to start and hold on to any business, we need contacts. If you know the clientele, half the work is done.

photowannabe said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving such nice comments.
It really is fun to try and come up with a post for the letters of the alphabet.
I find myself looking at the world differently.

Munir said...

I studies business in college and that prevented me from owning one.

Rebecca S. said...

I suppose I was entrepreneurial in running a sort of daycare out of my home, but I never looked for it or advertised. The opportunity just sort of fell into my lap and it worked for the family and for me.
I know you can turn blogging and writing into a business if you have the time to promote yourself (and want to spend all your time in front of a computer, which I do not). I have tried a few ways of being paid for writing and so far it hasn't worked out. I'm a real believer that if you or I are meant to do something in life we will be given the grace, the drive, and the opportunity to do so. My husband started his own business when we were young, but with three little kids to support he went to work for someone else. I think, knowing him, that if he owned his own business he would never stop working.

Your video takes me back to the hours I spent watching my daughter on horseback - a beautiful sight! Nicely done, Anita! Ole!

Arlee Bird said...

My attempts at starting my own businesses have been abysmal. If the world thought like I did then I probably would have been more successful. And I just don't have the chutzpah it takes to make it big in business. I've known some people who had a magic touch when it came to business success, but they also had a drive and nerve that I've lacked. I'd like to be able to do that, but so far I guess I just don't get it.

Lee
Tossing It Out

Peaches Ledwidge said...

I'm still developing my business, slowly, when I have time. It's not the kind that brings overnight success or "big" money. It is the kind that is born from the heart to connect to other hearts.

Mage said...

My husband always wanted to own his own business. At the end, a collapse in the economy combined with his employees jamming his good money up their noses caused him to quit. Enough was enough.

Me. When I graduated college with a degree in fine arts, my goal was to sell some of my work. Because my gallery and I didn't price it high enough, I grew my interest in antiquing and estate sales into a space in an antique mall. My husband joined me, and we had years of fun not earning a lot but enough to dent my student loans.

More discouraging factors are....The government takes almost 50% in taxes, and Insurance for the employees was beyond our budget.

We both got jobs for others, and we moved on with less stress.

Our friend Janey was the most dedicated entrepreneur I knew. She loved her life, and she always had several small businesses going at once, none of which brought in enough so she could buy health insurance. She died rapidly of a cancer she decided to treat holistically.

Betty W said...

I had my own boutique for 3 years. But I soon realized it was not for me. The risks you have to take and the investments you need to make, were just too much for me. So luckily I was able to sell the stock and move on to my 9 to 5 job. Security is what I needed and still do.

Weekend-Windup said...

I am thinking to start a new business, but i don't have so much of experience in doing.
Well done. Keep going.

Rob-bear said...

I have started and run a number of businesses. A couple I folded up fairly quickly, because I didn't like what I was doing. Another I got going, then handed to someone else because of time pressure. One still limps along, languishing for lack of attention.

Self-employment is definitely not for the faint of heart.

Blessings and Bear hugs!

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