Being entrepreneurial means many things to many people, for me i will never forget the first time someone labeled me with the title ‘Entrepreneur’, it was 2014 and when i heard it come out of the person’s mouth as he introduced me to another person that may or may not have considered me so; at that time i recall gasping a little inside. Who me? an entrepreneur? i did not think so, i was just at the beginning of my trip in to the world of business, a trip i have now been traveling on for some three years.
At that time, for some reason i associated being an entrepreneur with having some sort of successful track record, of achieving something – not just having an idea and setting out to execute on it. But never the less as i continued on my journey it happened more and more that i was referred to as an entrepreneur. A quick scan of the dictionary back then highlighted for me that i was perhaps an entrepreneur after all:
“a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.”
One of the major reasons i personally set out to build one of my ideas in to a business came from the realisation that hit me when i turned thirty; we have a limited set of time in this life, (circa 80 years if we are lucky) and if i made it that far, would i be happy when looking back over my life?
At that time i was freshly returned from traveling and only had seasonal work painting houses for a living, the winter times were hard. When i imagined myself as 80 looking back and seeing thousands of painted houses i became somewhat dissatisfied at what i had spent my life doing. At this point i decided to change what i was looking back at from the perspective of my 80 year old self.
The long winters without full employment provided great opportunity for me, i was lucky enough to discover a new technology (Blockchain) which inspired me greatly, this, coupled with my desire to spend my life time doing something more exciting and in the process potentially game changing; i decided to set out on my own personal trip and see what might come of it.
When i was about 18 years old my mother quit her job and started her own business, i observed – somewhat passively, as she built her company up over the following years, intrigued at what a life changing choice she had made. I recall once when i quizzed her about her decision to start her own business she said:
“best decision i have ever made, wish i had done it earlier”
This was at about the same time my father had shut his business of 20 years down, and sold his share of the company to his partner. Dad had decided he had had enough, and i can understand that; he worked 15 hour days for almost 20 years and was fully tired, he wanted something where he could switch off at the end of the day. A number of times while i was growing up, i recall him saying:
“don’t ever start your own business, its an absolute headache”
Looking back i now realise i was in quite a unique position to observe how being an entrepreneur can be both exhausting and exhilarating. Back then i was quite sure i would one day build my own company, my only problem back then was how would i make the process as personally stimulating as possible while hopefully not falling in to the trap of the 15 hours work day.
Fast forward to now and i have certainly found something exhilarating, however, i appear to have gotten wrapped up in the 15 hour work day, in-fact it’s more of a perpetual work day – it never really ends, however, it must be said that the type of work i do is certainly more personally engaging and although it can be stressful at times i am glad i set out on my own adventure, one that i am almost certain i will be happy with when it comes to looking back over my lifetime, which ever age i get to.