Being a entrepreneur isn’t something I grew up wanting to become. I’m not sure growing up I even knew what an entrepreneur was. I did know my dad owned his own candy business and our family frozen yogurt shop, and that he did whatever he could to have a career that allowed him to do what he loved while also being able to coach me and my my brothers in sports and set us up for success as we got older.
So, no, I didn’t grow up wanting to be entrepreneur but I did grow up desiring the freedom, the control and the opportunity to change the world that my Dad had modeled for me. So after nine years working as a contractor for the Department of Defense and two years at a booming cloud computing startup, I finally made the jump to do what I had always envisioned, what my Dad had made look so easy and what so many around me told me I was destined to become: An entrepreneur.
The interesting thing about being an entrepreneur is there Is no exact way to do it, there is no control, there is no certainty and there sure as hell isn’t an easy button. But those are also the reasons why entrepreneurship is so exciting, even inspiring those with a millennial mindset to embrace entrepreneur philosophies and goals with their enterprise roles. I firmly believe that if I would have jumped into entrepreneurship when my friends, mentors and coworkers told me to five years ago, I would’ve been prepared. But I also believe if I had waited five more years I would have been no more prepared for this journey than I was when I actually made the jump two years ago.
The entrepreneur journey can be a lonely one. I realized not too long ago that I really hate the buzzword “solopreneur”(Although I was on an awesome podcast called Soloprenuer Hour you can listen to here), because, as I quickly learned my first three months as an entrepreneur, working solo and believing I could and should do everything by myself is the quickest path to hating the entrepreneur life.
Interestingly enough, one of the main reasons for my success as a growing manager and leader—both at my enterprise company and the startup—was my ability to identify and embrace what I didn’t know, while going out of my way to surround myself with those who knew what I didn’t. But as an entrepreneur, knowing what you don’t know is scary, because it’s also linked to not knowing where the next check will come from or the next client or the next mistake.
As I’ve grown as an entrepreneur I’ve become okay with the many pivots and life-altering decisions I’ve had to make, because part of growing as an entrepreneur requires you to come to grips with truly who you are. So although I haven’t fully outsourced or delegated everything that I know I should, I feel as though I’m comfortable admitting what I don’t know, what I hate doing and what I’m not willing to ever do as an entrepreneur. I hope sharing these things publicly will help you fellow entrepreneurs not feel alone, and that you, my community, will be my accountability partners as I delegate, prioritize and surround myself with the best people to be the best possible entrepreneur I can.
So to avoid being totally negative rather than just provide these ten things I hate I decided to also provide ten things that I won’t do as an entrepreneur and the ten things I love about being an entrepreneur:
(You can highlight any of them and it will prompt you to tweet w/ link)
10 things I hate doing:
- Everything email
- Calendar management
- Invoicing and expense reporting
- Prioritization of daily tasks
- Harassing and chasing down of clients for late payments
- Leveraging relationships or goodwill for help from friends
- Accepting help from other entrepreneurs
- Realizing when to eject and remembering that I can’t please everyone
- Delegating tasks I enjoy so that I can focus what I must do myself
- Copywriting, editing, grammar, spelling.. Aka everything my English teach taught me!
10 things I won’t do as an entrepreneur:
- Make decisions based on bottom line
- Prioritize business opportunity over authenticity with my community
- Believe that anyone is my competition
- Burn a bridge in order to sign a client
- Lose sight of why I’m doing what I’m doing
- Change who I am, how I dress and what I stand for to satisfy a client’s demands
- Accept doing something because others in the industry tell me it’s the way it’s always been done
- Take short-term money over a long-term`opportunity that requires short-term free work
- Settle for failure
- Become satisfied or believe I deserve something because of who I am or what I’ve built
10 things I LOVE about being an entrepreneur:
- No two days are ever the same
- The opportunities and possibilities are endless
- The sense of personal accomplishment with every small task is motivating
- Knowing I only answer to one person and that person looks back at me in the mirror each morning
- Failure doesn’t scare me as I don’t have anything to prove and I can focus on learning and failing again rather than over analyzing and dwelling
- The chaos and change prepares me to the same in my day to day life
- Deciding which clients I work with and who I hire is 100% up to me
- Where I work from and for how long is based on where and when I feel I’m most productive
- Deciding what I do tomorrow might change but what won’t change is my WHY
- The unknown, perfection is a fairy tale and control is an illusion therefore the unknown fuels me to make each day better than the last, while setting myself up to make tomorrow better than today
— Brian iSocialFanz (@iSocialFanz) July 22, 2016
By no means will I claim to have figured out the secret to avoiding the bumps in the entrepreneur journey, and more likely than not this list will change many times over my life as an entrepreneur. I plan on always telling it like it is, sharing my failures and missteps, and celebrating my wins along the way. Because isn’t that what life is all about? I wanted to be an entrepreneur not because I believed that was perfect or because I wanted to get rich quick, but rather because I wanted the freedom to blaze my own path, collaborate, build relationships and ultimately do my little part in changing this world for the better.