Entrepreneur, Have You Done the Hard Work?
After my brief “venture” in the candy business (click here if you missed that blog), I stayed away from money-making schemes for a few years.
It wasn’t much later that I realized if I wanted to do and have the things I wanted in life, I would need to work. My parents made it very clear. They weren’t going to be handing me anything on a silver platter.
“Oh, you want a car when you turn 16? Better start saving.”
My first “legal” job was stuffing envelopes in a warehouse for a direct mail company. I was 15, and made minimum wage which was around $4.75 per hour at that time. I went from stuffing envelopes, to washing dishes at an Italian restaurant, and then the Shop ‘n Save video department.
My First Taste of Being an Entrepreneur
Many days, when I wasn’t manning the video department, I would work with my Dad. Having recently left a long career in commercial insurance sales, he decided his time working for the man had come to an end. After dabbling with a couple different business ideas, he found some success finishing basements and doing remodeling work.
A day or two each week after school, and sometimes on Saturdays, I’d meet him on a job site. If you’ve never carried drywall (the big sheets) up and down flights of stairs….well, it will give you a taste of what real, hard work is all about.
And as much as I hated it at the time, working side-by-side with my Dad like this gave me some really memorable experiences and taught me a lot about business.
The Inglorious Side of Being and Entrepreneur
You see, even though my dad was the boss, he wasn’t sitting behind some desk shuffling papers and ordering people around. He was there, on the job site, sweating and working harder than anyone there.
Here’s the big thing about WORK. I’ve seen this firsthand with the majority of successful businesses I’ve been around.
In the beginning, the owner does ALL of the work. (Probably not telling you anything you don’t know, right?!)
The media glosses over this because it’s not glamorous. They show you examples of super successful people surrounded by teams and systems. But that’s not how things started for 99% of them. And I think it leads some early stage business owners down a dangerous path.
Unless you have a big budget (i.e. a lot of cash in the bank), when you first get started you have no other choice but to do almost everything. And that means that you need to be well rounded.#Entrepreneurs must be well-rounded. Starting out, you pretty much gotta do EVERYTHING. Click To Tweet
You know the book E Myth right? Well, you need to be the technician, the manager, and the entrepreneur.
More familiar with Traction? Well, when you’re first starting out…you have little choice but to be the Integrator and the Visionary.
You need to carry your own metaphorical drywall up and down the stairs every single day.
It was certainly that way when I started my business. I did EVERYTHING. Marketing, sales, finance, project management, HR, accounting, PR, business development, and oh yeah, actually doing the work too.
Growing as an Entrepreneur
There is a point somewhere around the “Wait a minute, I’ve got enough money coming in to pay my bills” stage, when the situation needs to change, not just for your sanity, but for the success of your business.
A lot of new business owners struggle with that change, and it prevents them from realizing the full potential of their business.
Yet, it’s not limited to just *new* business owners. At various stages along your company’s growth path, you’ll be faced with delegation issues, issues with getting the right people in the right seats, and the need to elevate your systems.Growing as an #entrepreneur means learning to recruit, delegate, & improve processes. #startup Click To Tweet
I spend a lot of time thinking about “what went wrong” with the 2 legit businesses I’ve been a part of that failed, one of which was my Dad’s.
A business rarely fails because of one single thing. It’s typically a combination of factors working in a disharmony. A tangled web. Which is why it can be difficult to right a sinking ship when all systems are failing.
Next time, I’ll share with you the story surrounding my Dad’s business, and the valuable takeaways that have helped me get where I am today.
These things may have happened when I was young, but the lessons are just as relevant today as they were then, and they can totally help your business as much as they have mine.