Stop Thinking About It and Go For It: Making the Entrepreneurial Leap : Under30CEO Stop Thinking About It and Go For It: Making the Entrepreneurial Leap : Under30CEO
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Stop Thinking About It and Go For It: Making the Entrepreneurial Leap

| December 2, 2009 | 15 Comments

leapThere’s no better time to become an entrepreneur. With more free and low-cost resources available to small businesses than ever before, there are no excuses left for not jumping in. Free communication tools (Skype), free document sharing and storage (Google), peer-to-peer business loans (Kiva) and affordable labor (Craigslist, Elance) make getting the guts to go for it the only thing left on the list. So what are you waiting for? Still considering all the “what-ifs?” Let me help you get over them.

What if I Fail?

All the “what-ifs?” really boil down to one question: What if I fail? Here’s the answer: everyone fails now and then. Even the most successful entrepreneurs experience a few failures. What makes them different is they learn from them and move on.

Three years ago, with the encouragement of my now husband and business partner, I took the leap, leaving traditional employment for the life of an entrepreneur. It was quite nerve-wracking at first (it took about a year before the sight of a business logo didn’t induce a whirl of anxiety and self-doubt) but I kept pushing through it. Today I can honestly say that it was the BEST DECISION I’VE EVER MADE. While I enjoyed my work in the past, today I experience more freedom and self-fulfillment than ever before.

How did I do it? To say it was easy would be a lie. Nothing worth having is ever easily attained. That said, it hasn’t been much more difficult than working for someone else. In fact, whenever I had doubts about my ability to succeed as an entrepreneur during those last few weeks as an employee, I reminded myself that if I put half as much effort towards my new business as I did towards being a great employee, I would surely succeed as an entrepreneur. And I have.

Instead of asking yourself, “what if I fail?” ask yourself how you will succeed. Write down your goals and how you will achieve them, and get started on the first steps today.

How I Made the Leap

My husband and I were contemplating leaving the San Francisco Bay area in order to be closer to our families and buy a home, something we didn’t see as a possibility in the near (or distant) future in the evermore expensive California. I couldn’t imagine working for anyone other than my current employer – a well-known tech company where I had done well for myself as a PR manager, built solid relationships and actually enjoyed the work, despite the high stress level.

My husband had been working for himself as a graphic designer and Internet marketing consultant for several years, and he suggested I give consulting a shot. We could partner and offer all of our services under one umbrella. As soon as we discussed it, I thought, this could work. I know a number of professionals through my work at various companies who would recommend me to their colleagues and maybe even hire me themselves – I’ll give it a shot!

We told our friends and colleagues of our plans, and before we knew it we had more work on our hands than we could handle on our own. We began to hire other consultants to work with us who had similar work philosophies to ours: good work can be done no matter the time or location, as long as we meet client deadlines and expectations. Thus, our virtual PR and Internet marketing agency was born.

Why Being an Entrepreneur Rocks

Today, we enjoy the freedom and flexibility that working at a bigger company simply does not afford. My husband and I take regular trips to our favorite places around the country, sometimes follow our favorite bands, taking our work with us, if necessary, on our laptops. We make the most of business trips, adding on a few days before or after to say, go skiing in Tahoe or tour around Europe. While we are always available during business hours so clients can reach us when they need us, we often take breaks during the day to go bike riding, fishing or head down to the beach for some fresh air.

Because our line of work (consulting) can get pretty time-consuming, we’ve launched other projects designed to reduce our dependence on our time as currency. For example, we have a janitorial supply business called Stock and Supply. We’ve set this business up to be as automated as possible – we don’t handle any actual inventory – and for a few minutes each week we are able to bring in a nice supplemental income. Working for ourselves affords us the time to create these additional income streams so that one day, we may not have to put much “work” time in at all.

You Can Do It, Too

The great thing about living in these times is that the possibilities for income generation are literally endless. The Internet makes it easy to research a market, find free and low-cost tools for getting started and just dive in.  The Web offers more free business advice for entrepreneurs than one can possibly consume. On top of this, new communication tools and mobile wireless cards have made it possible to do business from anywhere — like the backseat of a car or a poolside bar ;-) .

My recommendation to anyone thinking of making the leap is to jump in! You won’t succeed if you don’t try. And if you fail, you’ll find a way to get through it, learn from your mistakes and give it another go. No one gets it right all the time. If you pride yourself on doing a great job at what you do and if, when you look at your current job, you think – geez, if I put this much time and effort into my own business, surely I will succeed – then you have everything it takes to be an entrepreneur.

Good luck!

Author: My name is Ali Croft and I’m co-founder of Just Drive Media, a virtual PR and online marketing firm.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/atkuebler Adam Kuebler

    Absolutely! And to the note about failing. Even if you fail (which you probably will at several points throughout your career) fail forward! You learn more from failure than success. So take what you learn, pick yourself back up, and start another business!

  • drewpeneton

    Ali

    You got it! Dont just sit around, do something! If only everyone could get over their fears and make the leap. Whether it be into entrepreneurship or not. I particularly like your take on thinking about how you will succeed rather than fail. And in agreement with Adam, failure is just another way of learning. What is the worst that can happen? The tip I always give for getting over the fear of failing is think of that worst possible case scenario, and if it happens, how will you recover. You'll know more, and have a better idea for what you will do next time! There should be no speedbump large enough to make you think twice about YOUR dreams!

  • http://www.beginnerblogger.com/ Sarge

    This post relates to me so much. I have just recently resigned from the corporate world '9-5' job in saarch for a better lifestyle and making a living online.

    The biggest factor I had to work out was the worst case scenario for me to do this. My worst case scenario is that I take a year off being unemployed, don't make a cent but will have all the knowledge and skills to be able to pursue a career in online marketing/social media etc which are areas I really strive to achieve in and will be dedicating a lot of my time in.

    That's absolute worse case scenario. If I fail it will be an experience in itself trying to come back from nothing and I won't ever have that regret of not giving it a crack.

    If I succeed and am able to make a living without having to find another job I'll have achieved my goal of living the lifestyle I desire. :)

    The last 18 months I've worked full time as a web designer/developer and managed to save money to get myself in a situation now where I can live off my savings for a year (will be a little tight, but hopefully I will start making some money).

    A lot of people at work were really supportive and encouraged me to make this step. Along with my friends and family so it's been a real easy transition so far.

    I only just left my job last week so it hasn't really sunk in yet, but it's really exciting to think that I have a year to really set something up and make this happen :)

    Sarge | BeginnerBlogger.com

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  • alicroft

    Congratulations, Sarge! Best of luck with your new venture!

  • http://Under30CEO.com Jared O'Toole

    Great point. You have to look at every failure as a learning experience. Figure out why you failed and take that knowledge to the next project. You will make mistakes just don't make the same mistakes twice!

  • http://Under30CEO.com Jared O'Toole

    That's awesome Sarge! You took the hardest step of all by just going after it and doing it. Most people just talk but never make that leap. I think in the end with had work you will come out on top. And like you said in your worst case scenario you will learn a ton! Which you can only keep applying into the future.

    Good luck!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=5208351 facebook-5208351

    Great article Ali!

    Makes me want to walk out the doors right now and continue to do what I do on a day-to-day basis….just for myself instead of all these people that don't truly understand what it is that I actually do anyways :)

    Very uplifting, especially in times like these.

  • http://clintonskakun.com/ Clinton Skakun

    I think the biggest barrier is not technical skills or getting capital but taking a mental or emotional leap into entrepreneurship. That's the hard part for me. I can deal with the technical side. Personal growth is fun but can be very nerve wrecking at times. But when all is said and done, the filter filters out the ones who don't really want that kind of life after all.

    Cheers
    Clinton

  • http://Under30CEO.com Jared O'Toole

    Agreed Clinton. Even if your not a techy there is someone you can hire who is. But it doesnt matter how great your website is it will most likely not be the next facebook or twitter. You will have to put tons and tons of work and go through the ups and downs before it will even start to get to where you want.

  • suzanneperry

    Your article rocks. You speak my language. I got screwed over by my husband- he beat me up for 22 years, and then I got screwed in my IT field, the businesses I worked at kept getting acquired and downsizing or leaving the area. So, I started my own telecommunications business last year, On A Dime Installations and today I am state Certified WBE, am in the US Womens Chamber of Commerce, parnered with Ingram Micro and ready to take on the world! This year I also decided to stop protecting the maggots that think its ok to hurt another, and am lauching a music venue, recording studio and coffee house in the name of all the people impacted by family abuse and domestic violence. I am finally finding the media. That venture is http://www.opmusichouse.org. I also write for the Examiner.com and blog and Knol… and facebook, twitter, myspace, linked in.. all that jazz… I live on FAcebook. Kudos on your article and your businesses. I hope you will help me by asking your friends to Become a FAn of OP Music House. Thank you!!

  • http://Under30CEO.com Jared O'Toole

    awesome suzanne glad to hear your taking some leaps and making some big moves in this world!

  • http://onadimeinstallations.blogspot.com/ suzanneperry

    Your article rocks. You speak my language. I got screwed over by my husband- he beat me up for 22 years, and then I got screwed in my IT field, the businesses I worked at kept getting acquired and downsizing or leaving the area. So, I started my own telecommunications business last year, On A Dime Installations and today I am state Certified WBE, am in the US Womens Chamber of Commerce, parnered with Ingram Micro and ready to take on the world! This year I also decided to stop protecting the maggots that think its ok to hurt another, and am lauching a music venue, recording studio and coffee house in the name of all the people impacted by family abuse and domestic violence. I am finally finding the media. That venture is http://www.opmusichouse.org. I also write for the Examiner.com and blog and Knol… and facebook, twitter, myspace, linked in.. all that jazz… I live on FAcebook. Kudos on your article and your businesses. I hope you will help me by asking your friends to Become a FAn of OP Music House. Thank you!!

  • http://Under30CEO.com Jared O'Toole

    awesome suzanne glad to hear your taking some leaps and making some big moves in this world!

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