By: Katie Kern, Partner & COO Media Frenzy Global
As a communication professional with more than 16 years in the industry, I’ve experienced my share of entrepreneurial highs and lows that have shaped not only my career but also continues to challenge and shift my perspective. While I’ve discovered that the business of “bossing up” and taking the entrepreneurial path is definitely not for the faint of heart, I’ve learned there are important elements that define an entrepreneurs success – regardless of the industry or path you choose.
Taking A Leap of Faith Requires Guts – and Courage.
After finding success working with Reebox followed by a stint with Cognetix (a boutique marketing firm), I ventured out and started my own lifestyle pr agency, Circa PR in 2003. It was at Cognetix I realized a career-defining shift: the firm’s specialty in specific industries no longer interested me.
It was confirmation, for me, that my passion for lifestyle and fashion ran deep and because of this, I took on dual roles; spending half of my time at Cognetix and the other time dedicated to owning the society editor role for Charleston Magazine where I took on the responsibility of moonlighting, orchestrating fashion shows and assisting the Fashion Editor with high-end photoshoots. It was during this time of operating in two dramatically different worlds when I had an ‘aha’ moment that would change the trajectory of both my professional and personal paths.
The phrase “leap of faith” is often used when you hear and read the stories of many entrepreneurs. For me, there are a few essential must-haves needed when deciding to take that “leap of faith” in order to set yourself up for success.
You Have Support
My family, especially my husband, played a vital role in helping me make and sustain my decision to venture out on my own. My support system believed in what I wanted to achieve, they knew what I was capable of and most importantly, that I would succeed at anything I set my mind and heart to do. If not for the support shown by those closest to me, I would not have had the same outcomes professionally. Support circles can look different for many people, however, I believe they are essential in an endeavor such as this.
You Have Purpose
I had a very clear vision of what I wanted to accomplish and was willing to do what was necessary to make it happen. I understood that the successes (or failures) of my company would rest with me. Nonetheless, I never viewed this as a burden. My experience and confidence, coupled with the connections I made over time, gave me the foundation I needed to branch out on my own. Many entrepreneurs start out with the intention to simply turn a profit – and with good reason. Yet, I believe entrepreneurship is the ability to take a risk that creates change. Money eventually becomes the byproduct of your success and not the sole reason you took a leap of faith, to begin with.
You Have a Vision
A clear and strategic vision drives your success. Without it, your business will ultimately lack direction. It’s a simple attribute to possess in theory, however, I find many people struggle in this area and put the “cart before the horse” by not truly thinking through the idea or the plan that will fuel their business in its early stages.
What They Don’t Tell You About Entrepreneurship
Despite what industry you choose, or whether you decide to go into business with a partner(or at it alone), there’s sacrifice involved with being your own boss. I’ve found there are some hard, yet necessary truths entrepreneurs uncover along the way to professional independence and success.
It’s a Business…and a Lifestyle
There may be times when there are cash flow issues. Yes, it can happen in business. So there may be instances where you must forgo paying yourself because payroll is approaching and you want to ensure your team is compensated first. This is the side of being your own boss that is, unfortunately, a true reality. Another aspect to consider is that when you are running a business, you don’t always take a vacation. I may be out of the office but the office is always on your mind. It’s not easy to step away from the desk and onto a beach; at some point, the laptop will open and aspects around your clients may have to be addressed…poolside.
It Can Be Hard to Trust…However, It’s Necessary
As a business owner, it can be hard to relinquish control, especially if you’ve handled a majority of the strategy and the tactical side of your business on your own. Learning how to let your team lead in certain aspects and client-face, create a strategy, and implement and execute while you are growing the business will help you scale faster.
Entrepreneurship isn’t an idea, it’s something you do whole-heartedly. When you decide to “be your own boss”, you choose a path of freedom. You agree to use your voice, stretch your skills and potentially build a business that will make a lasting impact on all involved.
But, this isn’t where the journey ends…
Want to learn more about my thoughts on BYOB (Being Your Own Boss)? Stay tuned for more in part 2 of this series!