Becoming an entrepreneur
At this point in my life, my people are business people (by which I mean fellow entrepreneurs). Now I can imagine that that might sound exclusionary or elitist somehow, so I’m going to try and explain why.
It’s been my experience (and it’s a commonly acknowledged pattern) that when you go into business you lose some friends along the way. This is because building your own business is a huge challenge and will inevitably change you – which some people won’t be able or willing to accept.
Being in business means that the many particular trials and tribulations endemic to this choice become something that other people either understand or don’t; and to really understand you have to have been through it or be going through it yourself.
Entrepreneurs also share a mindset that not everyone has (or chooses to live by), one that pushes us to make the huge leap into financial and creative self-reliance, that is fueled by a big vision or dream, that makes us willing to try and willing to fail.
We choose to step out of the conventional paradigm that so many people resign themselves to; of having a five day work-week, possibly long hours doing something they don’t really care about in an environment that isn’t necessarily good for them let alone stimulating or creative.
We take a huge risk in deciding to take on full responsibility for our happiness; and if you haven’t taken that risk it’s unlikely that you’ll understand me the way another entrepreneur can.
The entrepreneurial mindset
For many of us, our businesses are our babies, our life. We dream of our businesses, they are constantly with us – new ideas are always coming in, fresh possibilities, collaborations, shifts in the big vision…all of it is moving through us all the time. My business is not only the path to my dream life, it is part of my dream life.
It’s not so much about a job title as it is about a state of mind. Some people are employees but they have the mindset of an entrepreneur; the knowledge that your life is in your hands and that you have the ability to do whatever you decide to do.
As an entrepreneur the sky’s the limit. You can literally do anything you want and find a way to make a living from it. I’m not saying that our fears around taking the leap into entrepreneurship aren’t valid, but it’s always a choice whether or not we buy into them and live our lives according to those fears.
I believe that all of us have some entrepreneurial qualities. All of us have dreams and want to take responsibility for our fulfilment; the part that wants more and believes deep down that it’s somehow possible calls to each of us at some point in our lives.
Your network is your net worth
For me, my business would definitely not be where it is without my people. My perspective on friendship has shifted as well; it used to be mainly about spending time with each other – currently two of my closest friends are women I have yet to meet in person but they are people I have so much love and respect for.
The people who choose to leave your life (for whatever reason) when you embark on the entrepreneurial journey are doing you a favour, as much as it might hurt – they’re creating space for more aligned people to come into your life.
Rob Moore says, “Your network is your net worth”. As much as this triggered me when I first heard it, I get it now. I’m part of various business groups and the connections I’m making there – authentic, meaningful connections – highlight how true this is. So many new opportunities have come into my life, because when you find people with a similar worldview, values and creative vibe, collaboration just emerges organically.
Not everyone will be your person
The less joyful side of connecting with other entrepreneurs is getting triggered by other people’s success. But usually this happens when you’re creating in a vacuum and are feeling alone and overwhelmed. Once you connect with your tribe and they remind you every day that your dreams are possible, you’re much less likely to get sucked into that energy.
Now I get happier about my tribe’s wins than I do for my own – and they mirror my wins back to me too. This is such deep connection, and goes way beyond business support. It’s the most valuable way of investing in yourself and your business; once you find your tribe, everything becomes possible.
Not everyone will be your person, and that’s ok. We can’t please everybody, we can’t be liked by everybody. When we stay true to ourselves we attract the right people to us; people with whom we easily enter into meaningful conversation, people with whom we feel relaxed. Trust your gut and don’t be afraid to let people fall away – the right ones will come along to fill the gap.
// Listen to this episode on the Podcast.