My road to self-employment was bumpy in the beginning. The first version of my website was created by a friend for free. The second version of my website was created by a friend of a friend for $500. The third iteration has taken 2+ months.
The process has forced me to dig deeply regarding my purpose and goals. Entrepreneurship is in my blood. I’m a 3rd generation business owner (and soon to be 2nd generation, self-made millionaire). My family went straight from the plantation to self-employment. This process has also taught me a lot of respect for my father as a businessman. My dad started a successful consulting business from scratch. With his own money. He had a mortgage, a wife and three kids, one of whom (yours truly!) was one year away from college. We never felt a single financial bump in the road. Not an easy thing to do!
So, why did I wait so long to start my own business? I’d been fired more times than I could count on one hand (or as I prefer to say, I wasn’t quitting fast enough…). Why did I suffer through jobs I didn’t enjoy for so many years? Because I was afraid. Fear is the enemy of progress. In fact, fear is the greatest impediment to success. Every dream you’ve ever wanted in your life is on the other side of fear. This experience is continuing to teach me that.
Starting a business has been a journey of self-discovery as much as a practical exercise in bootstrapping a tech recruiting firm. It’s taught me patience, empathy, and how not to worry. It can be a challenge to service existing clients and still find time to do the work it takes to launch your own thing. Even with a team of seven (for whom I am infinitely grateful), there are days when I struggle.
I’m learning a lot along the way. How to budget. How to hustle…then hustle some more. How to articulate my feelings even when I’m worried I may be punished for my honesty. I’m learning how to value my labor and how to articulate the value of my work. I’ve learned to accept my limitations. I’ve learned when to ask for help. I’m learning how to be a good leader. Most importantly, I’m learning to stop hiding my truth/pretending to be someone I’m not and just be honest about what I want and who I am. I’m learning to trust my fate and believe in my destiny.
It’s overwhelming at times, but I’m learning to live on the other side of fear and it’s been the most liberating and rewarding experience of my life.