Be Your Own Boss

entrepreneur

On 11th April, 1910, a 27 year old club singer Gabrielle opened a tiny shop at 21, Rue Cambon, Paris. She wanted to sell hats.

Orphaned at the age of 12, Gabrielle had been raised by nuns who taught her how to sew, a skill that lead to her life’s work. Three years later, she opened two new stores at Deauville and Biarritz, where she first tasted success when she designed a dress she fashioned out of an old jersey on a chilly day. A few years later, Gabrielle, nicknamed ‘Coco’ from her days as a singer, launched the immensely popular perfume, Chanel No.5 and thus the fashion label Chanel was born.

First used in 1723, today the term entrepreneur implies qualities of initiative, leadership and innovation in business. An entrepreneur is an opportunity seeker, a generator of new ideas and business processes. Economist Robert Reich has called team-building, leadership, and management ability essential qualities for an entrepreneur.

But why become an entrepreneur at all? Why leave the comforts and the structure of an established firm, to work 12 hours a day out of a basement?

Mike Templeman, CEO of Foxtail Marketing, says “As an entrepreneur, I always have a story to tell. Whenever I tell someone I run my own business, they always want to know what I do, how I do it and how it’s going. I always am able to provide a tale or two, and the best part is that I get to determine the story’s chapters.”

Have you ever been fired? As an entrepreneur, you run the show. Plain and simple. This is your company, your brand, your pride and joy. You are financially independent. Initially you’ll work for longer hours, but if you keep at it and do it right, the freedom that being an entrepreneur provides is unmatched.

A start-up also provides a brilliant learning experience. Ashim Seth, founder of Chicago based Seth Business Co. says, “The lack of structure in a start-up is precisely what leads to better learning as compared to big corporations, especially for youngsters.”

Entrepreneurs develop new ideas all the time, but how do you know when to pursue one further? Therefore it is extremely necessary to ask yourself some essential questions before you leap. Do others think my idea is good? Will people pay for it? Why am I the person to make it happen? Henry Ford, with Ford Motor Company, became successful simply by building the first car for the middle class American, thus converting the automobile from a luxury item to a practical conveyance.

So list your options and do plenty of research. Think like the customer. Analyze the competition. Build your own idea.

However while many new businesses boom, many fail as well. An entrepreneur is required to put his career and financial security on the line and take risks in the name of an idea, spending time as well as capital on an uncertain venture. “Though there is nothing like the satisfaction of knowing you are responsible for your employees’ success, at the beginning you also have to work hard every day to keep them convinced that joining you was the right decision” says Gaurav Kumar, Associate Director, KPMG.

An idea may be too novel, or the market may simply not be ready for a new entry. What is important to understand is that failure is an option. Successful entrepreneurs excel at adapting to new obstacles.

The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show us how badly we want something.

Have you ever wanted to do more? To do good? As an entrepreneur you also decide where the profits of your company go. You can fund an NGO, or a charity, or even hire the homeless. HarVa, founded by BITS Pilani graduate Ajay Chaturvedi in 2008, is the first BPO set up in rural India which has hired and trained 500 women in Haryana as part of its first project.

So decide what you want to do. Make a plan. And work on it every day. Change the world in your own little way.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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