The misconceptions of becoming an Entrepreneur
In a little over a weeks time, I will be waking up a new woman. My bank account will have been newly filled, my latest P45 will be in motion, and my mind will be blaring out the phrase: "Holy shit, I've actually done it. I am my own boss."
I wrote about this decision 7 weeks ago, titled 'Quitting my job to build an empire'. Incase you haven't read it, the summary of that post is that I accidentally created a business last year called the 'City Girl Network'. It's essentially a global friendship network for twenty-something women, living in cities across the world, which started with Brighton Girl and has since transpired into Edinburgh Girl and Berlin Girl, too.
I couldn't go on with a life that juggles full-time employment in content marketing, freelancing and running a fast-growing business. So I had to let my full-time, stable, pension paying job go.
Shortly after my confession, I was blessed with the jump-up-and-down-like-you-just-don't-care news that I was accepted into the Entrepreneurial Spark business accelerator programme.
The foundations for my "entrepreneurial journey" are laid out. I have the idea, the support and the most drive I've ever had in my life (and I'm actually a very driven person, so imagine how big this ball of energy is right now - then double it.)
That being said, through the celebratory statuses of these two major stepping stones that are throwing me towards this new start, I fear I've fallen victim to the biggest flaw of the online world: I'm not really giving you a true representation of what life is like as a new entrepreneur.
With that in mind, there are four misconceptions that I feel are important to reveal - for those who have invested their time into following my journey and for those who are considering taking the same leap that I did.
1. You are a walking entrepreneurial encyclopaedia
It seems to be the case that when you tell someone you're a soon-to-be entrepreneur, they respond with: "Oh, well you must have read *enter life-changing entrepreneurial guide book here*", rather than ask you about your business. Whilst I wish I could recite the likes of 'The Lean Start Up', 'The E-Myth (Revisited)', 'Crush It', 'The Hard Thing About Hard Things' and whatever else we entrepreneurs are required to read, my mind is totally occupied by the business that these books would presumably help me to run.
It's a catch 22.
2. You know how to run a business
Just because you have an reputable business idea, it doesn't mean that you instantly know how to implement it.
Our education system really needs to start teaching kids more about running businesses, by the way - actually, I'll leave that for another post.
3. Self-doubt goes easier on you when you go with your heart
We're all lead to believe that if we follow our hearts then it'll all be ok. By taking the leap of faith, we're already proving how much we believe in ourselves - so that little voice telling us otherwise will go away.
I have battled with self-doubt more in the last two months than ever before. There's not a day that goes by when it doesn't start a fight.
But I believe in the business and how it can help people, so I've gotten very good at fighting back - and winning every time.
4. You are in all of the secret entrepreneur's clubs
Announcing yourself as an entrepreneur doesn't actually automatically open any doors. The password to all those secret societies we hear whispers about is not "I'm an entrepreneur too".
You have to really bash on those doors to get let in.
In fact, in many cases, you have to find the doors to bash on - and expect that the doorkeeper may not let you in because they don't "get" your idea.
And then, if you want in badly enough, you have to build the resilience to get your shattered pitch together and bash on that door again. And again.
Don't get me wrong, I imagine there'll be a time when these misconceptions will be slightly less false - there are certainly some books I need to read to run a business, and some allies I need to make to help battle that self-doubt when it turns into a dragon.
But I fear that the glamorous million dollar "entrepreneurship industry" is giving away some false impressions as to what life is like when you realise you actually share a quality that Mark Zuckerberg, Sara Blakely, Arianna Huffington and Richard Branston have.
Although I do like to think that there was a time when they felt more like the Andy Sachs than the Miranda Priestly of their respective companies.
I suppose what I'm trying to say in a somewhat lengthy listcle and an array of Devil Wears Prada gifs is that there isn't a switch that is flicked when you declare yourself an entrepreneur. I certainly have an inner boss waiting to be unleashed, but she and I have a lot of work to do, a lot of books to read and a lot of doors to knock on first.
And we're ready. Or, well, as ready as we'll ever be.
Any words of wisdom will be very welcome in the comments below.