Since I have started 47th Parallel North Fashion Inc. a few months ago I have been going through several different phases of being an entrepreneur. I share these ups and downs with many people around the world and I wanted to write about them.
Each day I look forward to working for my own company and grateful the be able to do so. Let's however have a look at a few points that aren't as glamorous as they seem:
1. I often feel overwhelmed and confused as to what direction to take, what systems to follow and what to ignore.
2. You feel often alone. Very alone at times because you don't have employees to chit chat or to go for a coffee, it's just you and possibly your pets (like my cats) that I find myself talking to a lot :-)
3. You have so many ideas running through your head 24/7 and trying to organize them is a huge challenge. And even more important is to prioritize them properly, you constantly ask yourself "where do I start?"
4. You will have breakfast, lunch and possibly dinner alone, yet if you eat with anybody else, all you can talk or think about is your business....
5. You will encounter failure many times before success, you will feel horrible, wanting to stay in bed, not knowing how to recover or make up the time you just wasted. You are now the only one who is responsible for everything, the good and the bad.
6. You will be sad or discouraged because your efforts are just not recognized, although you are trying your best to be authentic, ethical, responsible and honest. You work so hard yet nobody values what you do.
7. It is very hard to separate your work from your personal life, at least this is how I am feeling now, it's all mixed up together, because you try to manage them all under one roof and feel guilty if you spent too much time just focusing on one. It's a hard task to find balance, maybe even impossible in the beginning....
8. You constantly admire other peoples success stories an wonder how did they manage, what is their secret? And try to follow different peoples systems and may end up with other results because of various alternative circumstances, then you wonder if the story had been altered or glorified. You start asking yourself, when am I going to be finished, ready to sell, making money? You ask yourself if you should go back to a regular job. Your mind plays tricks on you all the time.
9. You will work so hard, forget to eat, to drink, to sleep, that your body will ache, your eyes and brain will hurt from reading, doing research and working on the computer, your back from sewing or cutting, it's endless because the tasks are so many that it is hard to find enough time in the day. Even if you manage to get together with people or go to the gym, your brain doesn't just shut off, you try to go through your to do lists, or try to solve a problem you encountered.
10. If you travelled or had a social life before, you will now see that you rarely find time for strict socializing or to relax.. You cannot imagine sitting at a beach for 2 weeks not working, because you do not feel any success or gratification that would justify your leisure time.
11. You will have a hard time to constantly stay motivated. You will be very busy and stressed working on one particular project or task and once that is done you look back at how little is complete and how much more is still ahead of you. And some days you will not be able to get anything done, yet you still worked all day on some project that just didn't work out. You will encounter self-doubt and worry that people won't respond to something you worked so hard on and really love, you pray for more time, creativity, and motivation...
12. Once you are really excited and motivated and believe you have created the next big thing, you present it to some people and they just don't respond to it as you do, which can immediately take the fun and excitement out of it and you either adjust or start over again. Screaming, crying, laughing and panicking is all a part of various emotions when you are a creative entrepreneur. You try to be experimental, genuine, vulnerable and build self confidence but you are so scared of the reaction of others because you put a lot of thought and effort into something that just may not work out....
13. You will question yourself over and over, doubt your ideas, your lifestyle, self-employment, being able to do it on your own and at times it will change your personality, you may become more agitated, frustrated and experience some sort of creative and personal depression. You can easily lose yourself and your confidence at times.
14. You will be successful if you work hard, because success is ultimately when preparation (hard work) meets opportunity. However small success leads to wanting more and benchmarking yourself against already successful people and you are constantly craving for more.
After all that said, I would not want to change my work for anything in the world, it is hard and I embrace the fact that it takes time and a lot of effort. Each day I learn something completely new and have to struggle through situations that I believe can only help me in the future. It is very important to have supportive and encouraging people in your life and an outlet where you are being heard and understood.
It is an exciting journey which I have embarked on a couple of months ago and each day I keep in mind it's about the journey rather than the destination.
Happy New Year from 47th Parallel North!