I’ve been an entrepreneur all my life. No, I didn’t come out of the womb with a desire to change the world. And no, this story doesn’t begin with me acquiring the business savvy and knowledge to do so by the age of two. In fact, I didn’t even have an idea that I passionately wanted to pursue. The idea being the bare minimum in most cases. Like most, the name of the game in my adolescence was Power Rangers, Scooby Doo and playing with my toy JumboJet in preparation for my fated career as a pilot. Looking back, I could tell I was a bit different. I always had a knack for filling a need when I saw one and from a young age, I had a very keen interest in finance (ask my mom how I would relocate all loose coins I found in the house to my piggybank)

Entrepreneurship is a blend of passion, empathy, confidence, insecurity & the drive to overcome it.

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While my peers were busy playing marbles on the playground, I was busy trying to sell them. While at Miami Norland Middle School, I became a retailer of all things sweet to help my mom supplement her income. In College, when I needed financial help, I decided to help myself by selling computers, smartphones, and accessories to my fellow students. I had no start-up capital. May the universe bless that guy that actually gave me over US$1,100.00, upfront, in cash, so I could fulfill his order. Keep in mind that delivery took two weeks and I only had my cell phone number to give him in exchange as a surety. He must have been the most trusting person on earth, because my basic flyers, basically gave me no legitimacy. But, I delivered and I was proud of the same. After University came You-Nique Boutique. It was my attempt at an apparel business, it sustained me through summer and then it crashed.

I’m thankful that whatever the catalysts were, I always believed in my own ability to affect my reality. When I think about those early days, I find it most interesting that I never allowed “No”, or “It can’t be done to stop me”, sure people would laugh and wonder what the hell I was doing, but I didn’t care. I was acting out of a place of self-knowledge and I was happy doing it. Today, I feel at peace knowing that I am the captain of my destiny and the ruler of my fate. I always knew the conventional 9-5 was not for me. So while I didn’t officially register my first full-fledged company til age 26 (after a few businesses and side-hustles), this path had only one probable end, or should I say beginning.

Why I Delayed

Well for one, I couldn’t sustain myself financially with the one-off ventures I often pursued and I knew that to give it my all, I would need a cushion. So I betrayed myself and took a job. Further, the dream I had as a child of owning a Best Buy like accessories and computer retail store was parked because of the trends I observed in consumer electronics. So what to do?

I think a lot of my days in the working world, and my own conservatism before taking the jump which I know would yield the most happiness. But I would frequently realize that my ideas would not be executed by those above me because they allowed fear to win. I did the same for a time, but I refused to let ideas I knew were great, go to waste because those I worked for and with didn’t have to vision or ability to wholesomely execute them.

A lot of people think that entrepreneurs are fearless, it’s quite the opposite, actually. We experience the same fears, doubts, and insecurities as the rest of the world. However, through our lived experiences, I think the best entrepreneurs have developed qualities such as grit, empathy, perseverance and a relentless pursuit of excellence. We want, what we want and won’t take no for an answer. I had about four duds before I started my current ventures, Digita Global (Social Media Creative Agency) & Accume International (Motivational Training Company). Both realizations of my skills, passions and niches that are underrepresented in the marketplace. But even with all my planning, who knows what future failures lie ahead. What I’m sure of is that I will face them head on.

No Clear Path

The path to entrepreneurship is not a yellow brick road. There is no tour guide or secret sauce indicating the path which leads to the desired outcome. Entrepreneurship in my minds eye is a quality, a unique blend of passion, empathy, confidence, insecurity and the drive to overcome it. It is the desire to do great things and improve this shared soil through challenging our understanding of the world and her people. It is adding value. It’s effecting change in the lives of the customers we are so privileged to serve. It’s understanding the difference between a feature and a benefit, yet knowing that both come together to create the experience we sell. It’s knowing that money isn’t just money. What we truly purchase is freedom.

The word entrepreneur means many different things to many people. For me, it means lifelong learning and transformation. I was reading The “$100 dollar Startup” a few moments ago and something struck me. I had heard most of what was written, but I kept reading anyway because maybe there exists within that book one nugget which can help me get better to serve my team and my customers. Even if it’s by 1/10, an order of magnitude, its worth the time. As entrepreneurs, we must remain teachable.

Like chess, I try to think a few step ahead of my clients in the value chain. When submitting reports, proposals and the like, I strive to create something so beautiful and equally functional that they will want to circulate it to the rest of the board, to tell a friend about it, I want them to be proud to present it to their superiors. I aim to be world class as is our name, “Global”. My team may say I’m fanatical in my pursuit of greatness, improving and asking for more of them every time we execute a project, but what is the alternative? We all have greatness within us. I believe this at a fundamental level. We all have a function and purpose. Not everyone can be an entrepreneur, but we all have the potential to contribute beyond ourselves. This contribution is the path to self-actualization. Ironically, it is by helping others that we ourselves develop; And it is only by doing, that we understand, and truly receive that which our dreams are made of.

Get Out There & Do It

So whatever is holding you back, do not fear risks, calculate them. I am not saying to quit your job tomorrow. However, if you have an idea worth pursuing, an idea that you are passionate about and more importantly that the market has expressed a need for, what do you have to lose. Give yourself a deadline, save enough so that you have a bit of comfort for your transition and try to learn everything you can in the period leading up to your jump. If you and I are cut from similar fabric you won’t regret it. I’ll see you on the other side.

Side-note: It won’t be easy, but if you put in the work, focus on giving, and not getting. You may just see your name on the list of the greats.

I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying – Michael Jordan

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