Entrepreneurship has become one of the most glamorized careers in the world. If you’re the Founder of a company, you’re like a rockstar. We see images of people hopping on planes to catch meetings with movers and shakers across the world. We see them giving keynote speeches, often revealing how much they make with just one talk. Or, the thousands they make per Instagram post, Youtube video, or media appearance. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be an entrepreneur if that’s what it looks like!?
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t fall prey to the glamorized, “social media version” of entrepreneurship. In fact, that’s part of the reason I quit Instagram. But, though running your own company has so many benefits, the life of an entrepreneur isn’t for everyone. And, it’s really not at all as it appears on Youtube.
Why is there so much secrecy around entrepreneurship?
Have you ever looked at someone’s life on social media, or even IRL (it’s how the cool kids are saying ‘in real life’) and wondered “how in the world did they do that?” Or “how can they afford that?”. I can’t tell you how many entrepreneurs I look up to, or who I’m mildly intrigued by and wondered “but, how?!”. The truth is, there is such a veil of secrecy around the idea of entrepreneurship. But, why?
I’m sure there are real legal or proprietary reasons why people don’t open up about their journey as business owners. But, I believe most of that is due to fear. People don’t share what they’re working on or who they’re working with primarily for fear of failure. Fear that it their project doesn’t work out, they’ll be a laughing stock. That people are lurking around every corner just waiting for an opportunity to say “I told ya so…”.
There’s likely also a scarcity mentality – a fear that if they talk about their work, or reveal their secrets, that people will steal their ideas and run with them. They fear that there’s “not enough to go around”. Or, perhaps they want to secure a larger market share, in case their company or idea does pop off. Regardless of how it manifests itself, I believe most entrepreneurs keep you in the dark is because they’re simply afraid.
Why I’m sharing my entrepreneurial journey
My goal with this blog is to document and chronicle my journey. Selfishly, to be able to look back for myself. But, also, to bring you, my loyal readers, along for the ride. I hope that in sharing my experiences with you, you won’t lord it over my head, or use it in some way to discount my efforts. But, rather, to see how I’m building something from nothing, and to consider it a privilege. To bear witness to it all – the good and the bad.
It’s been said that there’s no such thing as an overnight success. How many of us actually get to hear about the decade or more these “overnight successes” were putting in the work? Not having an example or reference can make our own efforts seems pointless. That’s why I’m pulling back to veil on my own journey. I’m sure many people wonder about me (or maybe it’s my ego that’s telling me that). Regardless, I’ve had people ask me point blank how I’ve managed to get certain corporate sponsorships, how I’ve hired people, how I built my website, and so on. So, I’m going to use this platform to show you what entrepreneurship, or at least my journey with it, really looks like.
The unglamorous side of entrepreneurship
As you might imagine, for someone running a financial coaching company for Millennials, January is one of my busiest months. Not only did I recently take up a new client for my freelance writing (I still do that occasionally), I’m also managing several financial coaching clients. And of course, working on the business development side of my company. This month, I was asked to speak at a handful of workshops hosted by other organizations, in addition to the workshops we were hosting ourselves. This has meant spending the whole day with my freelance client, who by the way, is on the other side of the city. And then, rushing back downtown on the subway (aka. “crawling” back downtown), with just enough time to grab dinner at Chipotle and to do my make-up in their bathroom.
Ah yes, if only I had a camera crew following me around like Gary Vaynerchuk. What you’d see is the part of entrepreneurship that doesn’t make the cut on Instagram. You’d see that this Chipotle bathroom has no countertops, and no hook for me hang my coat or my bag. So, I attempt to find the least disgusting corner of the bathroom floor to place my b back pack, pull out my make-up bag, and proceed to clench and balance it between my legs. Oh, and since I’m basically blind, I can see nothing but my blur of a face in the mirror. I’m trying my best to avoid dropping anything on the any of the mysterious puddles on the floor, and not touching any surfaces. I’m exhausted from a full day of work. But, I have to teach a 2-hour workshop, meet and engage with people, answer their personal questions, and stay “on”.
The reason I do what I do
I would never complain about my work. I mean, how can I? I’ve crafted this life. It’s been an intentional road to get to where I am today, and I’ve only just began. There is still a long journey ahead to get me to where I want to be. And, knowing myself, I’ll still keep discovering and exploring new dreams inside me. But, again, I want to be honest with you. Entrepreneurship is very hard. It’s exhausting in every way – physically, mentally, and emotionally.
But then, I see that spark in someone’s eyes – one of my clients, or someone attending my workshops. That moment where a financial concept finally makes sense to them. When they realize that their goals and dreams aren’t as far-fetched as they thought when they walked in the room. When someone looks at me and says “thank you so much for breaking things down so simply. I never heard it explained that way!” That’s why I do what I do. Those moments remind me to push past my exhaustion and my self-doubts, because I’m changing lives. And, that’s worth it all.
Perhaps one day I’ll be able to prep for a talk in the back seat of an SUV. But, in the meantime, I’ll just keep hopping into different public washrooms and touching up my tired, blurry face. Because for me, for now, that’s what being an entrepreneur looks like.
What are some things you misconceptions you commonly see about your line of work on social media, TV, films, or Youtube? What does the reality of your journey look like? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
Here’s to keeping your make-up routine quick and simple…