Today, we’re diving deep and getting REAL about entrepreneurship and how it can be a scary, lonely, and uncertain place!
Taking a step back and learning as much as I could about mindset over the last few years has really changed the way I look at building a business and being an entrepreneur.
The way I see it, entrepreneurs are basically failures.
In some way or another, every small biz owner, entrepreneur and self starter has experienced failure (some a lot more than others!).
What separates the successful entrepreneurs from the unsuccessful ones is how quickly (and how often) they get up, dust themselves off, and try again.
Knowing this has helped me TREMENDOUSLY!
I learned that the only way I would ever succeed as an entrepreneur would be to embrace, study, and learn from my failures as quickly as possible.
So always keep in mind, even if you’re in the middle of an epic fail right now, it’s just here to prep you for your next success!
I’m going to get brutally honest for a second: I’ve experienced TONS of failures in my professional life.
I finished high school and had no idea what I wanted to do after I left. Travel? College? Work?
Deep down I knew much of my decision was based on A) how people would perceive me and B) making my friends and family proud (so basically- how people would perceive me!).
So, I did the obvious (and safe) choice and went to University to get my 4 year B.A. degree.
I came out of there at 22 years old- a self proclaimed Psychology and Law expert ready to take on the world. I could do anything I wanted. I worked hard in University and finished with above average grades so SURELY I would have a few job offers coming my way!
I took it easy for a few weeks but eventually I realized I needed to start putting myself out there to look for jobs (that $10,000 student loan wouldn’t take care of itself!).
Day 1 I opened my computer and applied to a job. Great! Surely I will hear something back soon.
Day 2 I applied to second job.
Day 3 I applied to my third. By the second week, I hadn’t heard anything back but I just figured people were on vacation and hadn’t seen my incredible resume yet.
Day 30 rolled around my inbox was empty. Zip. Nothing. Weird. Only slightly discouraged, I continued sending out at least one resume a day, and sometimes upwards of 10!
Day 60. Wow. Nothing yet? How could this be? I tweaked my resume and continued trying.
Day 90 and I hadn’t heard anything. I could tell my parents wondered what I was doing with my work-free days and my friends probably thought I was being lazy.
Day 120 and finally- a few bites! Only this was from Government pools where I had to go through testing for months or even years to hear anything.
Day 150. Ok, what the hell is wrong with me?! My resume must suck or maybe my experience is not up to par. But I had been working since I was 16!
Finally, 6 months (6 MONTHS!!) into my search, I got an offer from a company to do residential leasing. Not exactly what I wanted, but it was something!
I worked at this company for 3 years and totally I fell in love with it!
I won Sales Rep of the year my first and second year at the company.
I loved the people I worked with and I was excited to stay there forever- I saw this company as a place to grow my career!
In my third year, I was given the opportunity to fill in for my Sales Manager when she went on maternity leave. I was SO excited!
At first, I embraced the new responsibilities and didn’t mind the long hours, added pressure and ZERO extra pay.
For our monthly sales meeting, we were doing special awards and I spent weeks crunching the numbers, preparing the presentation and setting up. I sent all the information to the CEO to be approved the night before our meeting.
After the meeting, the CEO sent out company wide email thanking one of our sales managers for all her hard work preparing for the presentation. She had absolutely nothing to do with it.
In that same email, he then announced that she would be taking over my job as acting Sales Manager. Without a word to me.
I was totally devastated.
I no longer felt the same loyalty toward the company. My sales started declining, I became negative, and people started avoiding me in the office.
The CEO called me into his office and fired me on the spot.
I was SHOCKED. Fired?
Feeling absolutely humiliated, I handed in my phone and company material and left.
Back to the job hunt, only this time, it was much faster.
I found a job as an employment recruiter at an amazing company- one of the top 50 best managed companies in Canada.
The people were all young and cool and it was such an awesome environment. “This,” I thought to myself, “this is going to be my career“.
I was in love with my job for about….. 3 months. Until it stared tearing at the seams.
This company was fond of meetings where everyone would stand around, talk about what they had accomplished (or not accomplished), and then wait to be ambushed with a barrage of criticism.
Some days were worse than others, but I remember feeling so embarrassed for my colleagues and often times, I felt humiliated myself.
One day, my boss took me out for a sushi lunch to talk about my less-than-stellar sales numbers and he laid into me.
“I wish I had known your personality before hiring you. Things would have been different.”… “I don’t think you’ve ever done anything hard in your life.” “You can’t seem to handle issues in your personal life so how will you handle your shit at work“.
I remember staring down at my Dragon Roll in absolute and utter disbelief. Was my boss really speaking to me like this?
How incredibly inappropriate and how humiliating to do this in a restaurant during lunch. Sushi ruined.
It was at that moment I decided from then on, I would never EVER work for somebody. I would never subject myself to that kind of humiliation for ANY paycheque.
I quit that job 3 weeks later and, by the way, my boss never said a word to me after that lunch.
— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) September 8, 2016
So, I started thinking, if I won’t work for somebody else, I have to find a way to become an entrepreneur.
I had always felt a pull towards real estate and I decided the perfect job for me would be a Realtor! I set my own hours, choose my clients and get paid a ton of money! Duh, it’s a no-brainer!
Finally feeling proud of myself, I started and completed my real estate courses in record time and I became a licensed Realtor in 4 months!
Finally, my life will start coming together.
I signed up with a brokerage and eagerly began paying my $500/month just to maintain my license (without receiving any income yet).
I paid over $1500 in training programs that told me all sorts of methods from harassing friends to cold calling to knocking on doors.
I started to feel disillusioned and drained. I didn’t want to call numbers in the phone book and bother people hoping that one day someone will want my services.
I wasn’t willing to work in that way. So, naturally, I decided to switch brokerages. Surely a popular, swanky real estate brokerage would help!
Six months went by and I had no sales except MY OWN house.
I started feeling the oh-so-familiar feeling of being a complete and utter failure. No amount of training or motivational speeches were going to help.
I didn’t like the career I had chosen AGAIN– the career I was so sure would be my last. The career I just spent $5000 to start and another $10,000 to maintain. So, big surprise, I quit. Again. Well more like I “took an extended hiatus”.
I’ve now disappointed my family and even worse, myself. I’ve failed at being a productive member of society. I have failed more than once trying to follow the path that was expected of me. I have been chasing a dream of success that was not meant for me.
I realized something in this moment- I was looking at these experiences as failures because I didn’t try hard enough, or I didn’t understand something well enough or I wasn’t as good as someone else.
With the money I had leftover from selling my own house, my Dad convinced me to invest it in real estate.
But not just any real estate!
A $4000 duplex in another country, 3 hours away from my home that was in such bad shape it was ready to be bulldozed!
We traveled there every week for 2 years renovated the house and getting it ready to be rented.
It was stressful, tiresome and nerve-racking, but for the first time in my life, I felt totally free! And not only that, but I learned more in those 2 years of renovating than I had learned in my entire life.
While I was renovating my property, I needed some income coming in to help pay the bills.
I just happened to be perusing Pinterest when I saw a sponsored pin from Melyssa Griffin. I clicked on the post and read all about how she left corporate life to grow her blog and become an entrepreneur.
I was hooked.
I think I ended up reading her entire blog that day! By the afternoon, I had set up a domain of my own and written my first blog post.
This was the start of my blogging career. At the time, I didn’t realize it would take me 3 years and 5 blogs to finally become “good” at blogging.
But, looking back, I wouldn’t trade that time for anything!
So just remember, next time you’re disappointed, failures are nothing more than course corrections.
Sometimes small and sometimes they are doozies.
These experiences I had were my mind, my subconscious, my soul (whatever you want to call it) nudging me to where I needed to be.
And I know with absolute certainty I will fail again. I’m sure I will have more tears and frustrations and I’m sure I have some epic fails coming up in my future.
But now I can remember that every time I failed I was forced to change. And when you change, you grow. And growing is just..life.