I say Entrepreneurship is about fighting for your freedom.
I have been inspired to write this article by a serendipitous sentence I could hear these days from Clate Mask, GM of Infusionsoft who sais “ Our love comes from our just total hatred and distaste for the failure and the sacrifices, and the bankruptcies and the broken families and broken relationships and all of the hard ache and despair that is the dark side of entrepreneurship that people don’t talk about very often … it makes you want to increase the likelihood of success for people”
When they enter my office, people notice an inscription on the wall which reads: Don’t dream your life, live your dreams. Indeed, it’s been a hard 8 year and 5 months way in which I have put every drop of my creativity, power of action and relentless determination in my company growth, only to live my dream. I have started from an 180 eur salary – literally from scratch.
What made me start? The trust that one single person had in me and his vision of me having my own company and being an entrepreneur. This article is dedicated to him, an Australian CFO living somewhere else now.
Starting from scratch does not give you much vision. You have your job and your talent. Not too much knowledge of what it would mean to have your own company, but a lot of imagination – but, as Einstein said, “imagination is more important than knowledge.” Only gradually, after a few years, your vision and your mission come into light, helping you move forward.
Entrepreneurship is about learning things the hard way. Each stage of my development was reflected outside into business. Every single wrong decision coming from the lack of knowledge, lack of experience or stubbornness had a clear reflection into business and hit me in the face. No room for blaming others. Mistakes become crystal clear and each time bring you to the point of fighting with your own mind and feelings. And gain more and more experience and strength.
Entrepreneurship means humbleness learnt the hard way. An entrepreneur must systematically forget about his/her ego. There inevitably comes a moment when you have to pay the big taxes and you don’t have the necessary money. It is the moment when you need to discipline your emotions as if you are close to getting drowned. Your ego must become like water, move in the same manner and be hit by nothing. Only afterwards you can go and ask relatives for funds. If your ego is like a wall, this will be the moment when a lot of strange happenings coming all at a time will knock you out mentally and physically. You learn to be as strong as water, not as strong as a rock. This is the point when you ignore in a disciplined way that you have a delicate woman psyche.
Entrepreneurship is a spiritual path. As an entrepreneur you evolve at an amazing speed on so many levels because you have to wear so many hats: you need to understand the whereabouts of accountancy, HR& people management, time and risk management, sales, purchasing, customer database management, technology, marketing, strategy and so many more! An entrepreneur can be anything but lazy!
On my way I have met many amazing people aspiring to being entrepreneurs or who have tried entrepreneurship and haven’t succeeded. The only thing these people are sorry for, was that they haven’t tried harder, that they have given up. They say: “I could have recognized that opportunity. I could have managed the rent with just 500 eur more a month. I could have gone 3 more months and the hard period would have passed. I could have retained that customer.”
But who speaks about their unsuccess and downfall? No one.
I remember those 20 minutes in my life that I was close to getting drowned. I could see how despair was taking all my energy and a sudden switch happened. I knew I had to choose between life and death, and choosing life meant to preserve my resources and keep on the surface. A very calculated “self” with an amazing power rose up inside and thanks to this “self” I live now.
That moment taught me that I need to discipline my emotions, the army way. And I can say now that one crucial factor of success in an entrepreneur’s life is disciplined optimism.
In the first 5 years, an entrepreneur might not have holidays. It seems hard, doesn’t it? Until he manages to find the right people and good clients, the business depends mainly on him. A one-week-break can give him lots of headaches, so he learns to pull his breath on the way.
For an entrepreneur, his employees come first, he comes last. He protects them the same way a parent protects his children; offering them the necessary resources and paying them on time is one of the major concerns he goes to bed and wakes up with. His experience taught him to accept personal financial deprivation by default.
An entrepreneur has to benumb the chair under him. He gets to have a huge capacity of keeping focused on a task for many hours. He needs to broaden his knowledge and find new ways of doing things. He needs to manage simultaneously multiple tasks while making good decisions.
An entrepreneur sees and feels God. For an entrepreneur GOD is not an empty word. He knows disappointment, struggling and despair and feels much stronger every single good thing that happens.
A good friend of mine, a country manager of an electronic goods company told me some time ago “Only a salesperson can see God!” I’ve replied that not only a salesperson but an entrepreneur can see God as well.
It is said that humans cannot see God because He moves very fast. An entrepreneur and a salesperson have to move as fast as they can on their path. And it happens that they approach God’s speed so that they can get to feel Him and His Grace. Each time a financial positive synchronicity moved me forward, I felt it was only the Hand of God. Call it being the right person at the right time or call it fate, if you wish. It has raised strong feelings of spiritual humbleness in my heart.
The dark side of entrepreneurship means hardship. Hardship makes you very human – one who has been life-forged .
An entrepreneur is a true force of nature.