Today marks one week until my last day as an employee of Evermine. I will be transitioning from a 4 day work week as a Social Media Strategist & Blogger, to an entrepreneur. To be honest, typing the word “entrepreneur” makes me jittery. To pursue something with an unknown outcome, and with a coordinating unknown income? It’s not for the weak. That being said, I decided to start a blog series about my transition, titled "Employee to Entrepreneur." I will litter the posts with fears, truths, and joys. Here is part 1.
I used to get a thrill from being able to tell people my company’s name, my job title, and little tidbits about my job description. Social acceptance is my middle name, and for the first four years of my adult life, my job title was “mom”, and that really got to me. Even though I absolutely loved being home with my kids, seeing my friends pursue real jobs with real titles and real educations made me jealous. Being able to say I had a job was like a long-time single gal introducing her new husband. Now that I am leaving the shelter of employment, I am not really sure what to say when asked that now dreaded question, “What do you do?" When I think about telling people that I am an entrepreneur, I replay this conversion from The Social Network in my head:
Amy: So what do you do?
Sean Parker: I’m an entrepreneur.
Amy: You’re unemployed.
Yikes, but that truly is how I feel about the term “entrepreneur”. Unless you can stick something more real, more solid behind it, entrepreneur seems like a more attractive way of saying that you are unemployed. Which I guess I technically am, since my new business venture is making absolutely no income at the moment. Yay! Entrepreneurial journey, here I come.
I think the first step of entrepreneurial life is being ok with not having a steady income stream in the beginning of your journey. Most of us don’t quit our day jobs to pursue our dreams, and already have a solid second income available. (Or do we? Have I totally missed the memo? Am I an idiot? Should I go beg for my job back? WTF am I doing?!?!) Creating something from nothing is not an easy task, and I think the majority of us never even get around to the “quitting our day job” part because the unknown is so scary. What if I fail? What if my idea sucks? What if someone else does it better? What if I never make any money ever again? Questions like these keep most employees from pulling the entrepreneurial trigger. But for some of us, the fears and questions and unknown are outweighed by the thrill of doing what we were born to do: create.
When I was reading Mad Genius recently, there was a sentence that leapt off the page and into my soul. It read, “Entrepreneurs are psychologically unemployable.” I had to reread that statement to make sure I was comprehending it correctly, because I could have sworn I said a version of that sentence to my husband. I often felt unemployable, because I couldn’t touch EVERY part of the business, and it drove me nuts. I’m the social media strategist, but I want to change the brand. I’m the marketing coordinator, but I think we should lower prices. I’m the blog editor, but the product needs updated. I never felt successful because I could only touch a few aspects of the entire company. I saw holes, and gaps, and mistakes, but didn’t have the leverage to speak up and change EVERYTHING. Also, telling your boss all of the mistakes he or she is making will definitely not win someone boss points. I spoke up when I could, but it still didn’t change the company into my company, which is apparently what I needed.
I didn’t know this at the time, but my intense longing to change everything was a side effect of being a born and bred entrepreneur. Psychologically, it pained me to be an employee. While I was lucky enough to be employed at creative companies, I still couldn’t shake the feeling of needing more, wanting more, touching more, and creating more. And guess what? I am now capable of doing exactly what I want to do, exactly when I want to do it. Will there be failure? More than likely. Success? Maybe so. But freedom to create, and touch everything? You bet. And I am thrilled and absolutely terrified to see where that takes me.
Stay tuned for more fears, truths, and joys in my next installment of Employee to Entrepreneur.