So You Want To Be An Entrepreneur

By Mistie Smith

A story about living out your dreams

It’s that word that stops people in their tracks when you say it. The word that gets you excited, sets you apart from the crowd and literally scares the living bejeebers out of you. Yeah, that’s it. That’s what I want to be.

You take the jump, but wait! Where’s the user manual to this thing? And if you’re like me, there’s not even a safety net. It’s a rollercoaster free fall of a ride with no stability or idea of how anything is going to turn out.

I know I’ve done a few things backwards, ok maybe a lot of things backwards, but I’m doing it. Whatever it is, whatever it takes. My business plan has been through so many revisions that I’ve stopped counting. I’ve spent time chasing clients to whom I will never see a dime. I’ve even spent time chasing people who have asked to be my business partner! (true story) And to some folks, the word “spent” can be translated to “wasted”. I prefer to say “spent” because even in “wasted” time, many lessons are learned. The time is wasted only if you forget the lesson.

I guess what I’m saying is that there really isn’t a magic pill that makes you an entrepreneur. It’s a decision, a passion, a drive. To do your own thing. To provide a service or a product that no one else does. To have the freedom to try out your ideas and watch your dreams come to fruition. But what does it take to become a successful entrepreneur?

The canned answer is “a lot of hard work”. The real answer is “a lot of hard work and a shit load of other things too”. It’s being the expert in what you’re selling and providing. It’s doing it better than anyone else. It’s being a real person who makes mistakes. It’s getting up after every time you fail. It’s working up to 20 hours a day. It’s finding time to read books to find motivation and inspiration when you want to give up. It’s finding like-minded individuals who feel your pain and share your successes. It’s finding positivity in everything. It’s never giving up. Let’s face it. Most of the people around you, your family and friends, don’t understand or even get what you’re doing. And you can’t explain it to them. Instead you get phone calls and texts and emails stating “You work too much! You need to take a break!”. Your dog doesn’t recognize you anymore. Your life changes completely for a dream you know in your heart is right, but you have no idea how it’s going to work out.

Have I ever wanted to give up? Hell yeah I have. It’s hard. It’s ego shattering. But when I calm down enough to reassess the situation, the dream comes alive again. The spark reignites. It’s time for plan S or T. Whatever will get me to the next level. Being an entrepreneur is a journey in trial and error. I don’t have all the answers, but I know some of what not to do. I’m certain I will learn more, most of it the hard way. But that’s who I am, that’s how I roll.

At the end of the day, all anyone can do is be themselves. We all get to the finish line differently, if we make it at all. So, the best advice I’ve ever gotten is JBM — Just be Mistie. And Mistie is an entrepreneur.