What Made You Decide to start your own Small Business?
I often get asked why I became an entrepreneur. Why did I start my own company? I could answer that I grew up in an entrepreneurial home, with a father who ran his own business for years. I could answer, that the change agent in me did not like working for large corporations and instead wanted to build my own business and make things happen. However, neither of these reflect reality. My answer, much to the surprise of most, is that I became an entrepreneur out of necessity.
Throughout my professional career, I found entrepreneurship to be the one constant that I could keep coming back to.
I first started working for myself during graduate school as a way to make ends meet. I had worked for nearly 3 years in industry doing market research, proposal writing, financial analysis and marketing and sales. I brought these varied skills to entrepreneurs and started working with green energy companies at the time helping them re-write and re-design marketing materials. After that, I kept doing the occasional business or marketing plan.
“Throughout my life, I always found entrepreneurship to be the one constant I could keep coming back to”
I was home on maternity leave with my daughter and throughout this, worked on several projects to keep me busy. When my daughter was 6 months old I found out I was pregnant again. This barred any return to work. Within another month, my husband found out that he was losing his job. After the initial shock wore off, we began to think how we were going to manage.
Being the industrious type, I immediately began to seek out projects to work on to keep myself busy. I tried different types of outsourcing and contracting, but time was limited with two kids under 18 months. I found quite a bit of success in writing business plans. Part, education, part experience, and part intuition I could relate to the entrepreneurs I met. I could understand their pain, as I had seen it before in my father and his colleagues understood, what I like to call “the entrepreneur crazy”, fever and passion all in one that these entrepreneurs had for their businesses. I was inspired by their energy and dedication and genuinely loved working with them.
At the time, I decided to return to school to improve my financial analysis skills. I pursued a designation in accounting, a designation that focuses on strategy. I returned to work for 18 months as a requirement of the designation, but hated every position I was in. After having worked for myself, I had a difficult time working for anyone else. Perhaps it was a distaste of authority, or as I like to call it of the “inefficiency” of large organizations, but I was not a happy camper during these times.
At home, my children were suffering too. They had wonderful caregivers, but they were not mom. I was seeing changes in their behaviour that I did not like. These combined with my own unhappiness, made for a very miserable home life for my poor husband. Night after night of miserable conversations, my husband just said, why don’t you quit. While I was working for others I had continued working on several large consulting projects. It was in these projects that I found my passion again. I took his advice to heart and took the leap.
That was four years ago. Since then I have worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs, helping them to define their businesses and their dreams. There is no going back for me now. This is what I love to do, and want to do for the rest of my life.
What is your reason? What is your drive and motivation for working on your own? Why do you want to leave it all to begin a consulting career? What will your motivation or dream be? Perhaps like most of us, the decision is not a grand vision or altruistic social purpose but out of necessity, out of life change and a need to learn to fend for ourselves.
If You have any comments, feel free to reply here or send me a message on Twitter @carmenreis
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