To be, or not to be (an entrepreneur)?

January 24, 2011 at 9:20 pm 6 comments

That’s a question I hope to answer after taking this course. Throughout high school and the first few years of college, I always thought I would be an entrepreneur. Today, I feel torn between pursuing my entrepreneurial spirit or a professional career.

Why do I want to become an entrepreneur?

I’m a little bit of a control freak. Working in the professional world, I have seen companies fail due to lack of planning, poor decision making, or losing key employees that were the core of the business. I often find myself frustrated with the structure of corporate America and the irrational decisions made. I find that I am much happier working in smaller companies. In a smaller organization, you typically have more power to make decisions right away and move at a faster pace. Working in corporate America, it can take days or weeks to make a decision that takes a few hours at a small business. In a large corporation, decisions have to be approved by multiple people this structure has to be followed. As an entrepreneur, I like the idea of being able to make decisions and get things done. I also like the idea of being involved in all aspects of the business. In previous jobs I have worked for, I always try to get involved in many different aspects as I can. However, this can’t always be accomplished as an employee. As an entrepreneur, I have the ability and responsibility to see the business from all angles. I want to see all the angles of the business and make a difference.

In addition, I also want to become an entrepreneur because I’ve had a small business I have been running on the side for a few years now. After being laid off from a computer repair job a few years ago, I decided to run my own computer consulting and repair business. Throughout that summer I had enough side jobs to cover my expenses and have spending money. However, I ended up taking another job but decided to keep the side business running as a “failsafe.” If I decide to become a full-time entrepreneur, I want to grow my existing business and market towards small businesses.

What concerns do I have about becoming an entrepreneur?

Although I’ve had the desire to become a full-time entrepreneur, I also have many concerns. With technology becoming a necessity in everyone’s lives, there are existing firms that support my target market. People recognize the talent I have, but are concerned about how I can make my business different than existing firms. This is a challenge I have had trying to develop my idea and will be necessary to operate the business full-time. However, I am hoping that this course will help me generate some new ideas on where I can direct my business.
I’m also concerned about my ability to perform well in an unstructured environment. I have always performed best where there is a clear structure to the work I need to do. However, over the past year or two I’m beginning to stray from a “structured” environment and have found I can perform well in an unstructured environment. The inability to see the road ahead clearly is something I’m concerned about. In order to become a successful entrepreneur, I will need to find a way to overcome this fear.

Over the next few months, I hope to gain a better insight of entrepreneurship and if it is right for me. I also realize that now may not be the time for me to start my entrepreneurial journey, but it may be something I pursue later in life. However, understanding what it takes to be an entrepreneur and developing my creative skills will be beneficial to my success.

Nick

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6 Comments Add your own

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by David Benjamin, Karen Evans. Karen Evans said: A student wonders, "to be or not to be an entrepreneur?" Thoughts for him? http://bit.ly/idEp9X #COM3113 […]

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  • 2. David Benjamin  |  January 24, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Nick,

    I commend you for your entrepreneurial spirit. I think the biggest challenge for anyone looking to start or run their own business is always filling the pipeline with prospects. The skill to run your business while working on your business is something that prohibits most from being a business owner.

    Best of luck.

    Reply
  • 3. Drew Mapes  |  January 25, 2011 at 2:30 am

    Nick

    You have brought up all the right criteria for what an entrepreneur consists of and would be required. It is great that you can recognize your strengths and weaknesses, this is the very reason many people cannot advance in their goals. I think that you will find in many more small businesses there is less structure that the big companies have as well as less organization, at least for me this is true.

    Reply
  • 4. Karen  |  January 25, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Nick,

    Every entrepreneur or entrepreneur-hopeful has this same conversation with him/herself. Today’s CopyBlogger offers an interesting take on the fear side of entrepreneurship with a focus on a comparison to the cowardly lion character from The Wizard of Oz: http://www.copyblogger.com/cowardly-entrepreneur/ Take a look; you may find some value in the post.

    In Chip & Dan Heath’s next book (beyond Made to Stick, which we’re reading), “Switch,” they point out that the best way to find what will be successful is to find the bright spots — the things that you’ve done that have worked well. You should pay as much attention to your successes as you do your failures — when something has worked well in the past (you got a new client, you had a great revenue month, etc.), stop and look at why that happened, and try to replicate the good things. This can give you the confidence you need to face the fears and risks inherent in entrepreneurship!

    Dr. Evans

    Reply
  • 5. Chris Barnes  |  January 25, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Nick,

    I see that you have a lot of experience under your belt. I like the fact how you compared and contrast the difference between corporate America and small businesses. I never really thought to look at the difference. I guess everyday is a learning experience. I also see that you are self motivated and you have very committed goal. I wish you all the success with your consulting company!

    Reply
  • 6. Nick George  |  January 31, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    All,

    Thank you for your kind words of encouragement and honesty. As we progress through the course I’m sure we will find more answers to these questions.

    David – I agree a big challenge is finding prospects, and this is very difficult while continuing a full time job. The question also becomes when do you feel there are enough prospects that it is safe to “jump ship”? I hope by reading and learning more about other entrepreneurial stories that I can gain insight to this question.

    Dr. Evans – Thank you for the link. I can definitely relate to some of the traits of the “cowardly lion.” Reading the post was somewhat reassuring and helpful to know a little more about the entrepreneurial challenge. I agree that one of the things to try to keep track of is “what works” when you find a new customer or did well for the month. I know I have one skill that will drive success, however my challenge is going to make sure it is a quality that can stay in the “blue ocean.”

    Reply

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