Going "All In" as an Entrepreneur
By Deb Rox on May 13, 2011
BlogHer Original Post
I have been a woman consumed. You know that feeling when you first fall head-over-heels in love? Everything feels new and wondrous again--the sky is brighter, your morning coffee tastes better, in fact, your good mood alone may have invented everything wonderful from kissing to gelato. Sure, you are missing other dates and deadlines and blowing off old obligations, but nothing else matters: you have finally found "The One."
I'm swirling with excitement and possibilities, I'm having fun and trying new things, and every day it feel more and more like this is more than a crush or a short-lived infatuation. I'm in love!
I'm in love with my latest entrepreneurial venture.
This feeling of excitement at bringing an idea to life isn't new to me. I've been an entrepreneur on and off for most of my adult life; I currently run several small business lines and have a business development consultancy where I help a select clutch of clients. I'm playing favorites right now, though. One new idea is burning a whole in my head and I'm on fire to finish the due diligence phase so that I can move toward mitigating risks, finalizing a business plan and pushing towards beta. I'm on fire to make it real.
So I feel a lot like I'm falling in love except for one key thing: I am alone in this affair. I may eventually take on business partners, but I'm not at that decision point yet.
What I do to manage that isolation, and what I think most entrepreneurs find they must do, is seek inspiration, sanity checks and mentoring from other crazy, lovesick puppies.
I found inspiration and solidarity in Tara Hunt's well-articulated TEDx Talk, where she describes the unclear path of entrepreneurship. Tara, author of The Whuffie Factor, is currently leveraging her marketing and community-building acumen in support of her start-up Buyosphere. She's blogged about the roller coaster of being an entrepreneur, and in her talk she discusses the delusion, desire and audacity it takes start a company.
I love how she celebrates being "all in" and trusting her vision, even though the path is unclear. Tara really spoke to me when she said: The only thing more difficult than building a product and a business and raising money and all of this stuff is asking yourself for the rest of your life "what if?"
Stalking TED and Stanford University's ecorner is a great way to find video inspiration late at night to break the isolation of carrying your new business' torch. Blogs, books and forums can similarly provide 24-7 access to support; I've most recently been bolstered by Seth Godin's Poke the Box and Anita Campbell's Small Business Trends posts in my feed reader. I seek counsel and feedback from a small group of investors, coaches and entrepreneurs in my town, one of whom is devoted to Microsoft BizSpark.
I also wholeheartedly rely on occasional conferences or special events for inspiration and support. Two months ago I traveled to attend the inaugural BlogHer|bet conference, and the networking, mentoring and learning there crystallized many ideas for me. It was tremendous to be surrounded by other entrepreneurial lovesick types, and the event certainly prompted me to roll up my sleeves in support of this new venture by calling my bluff and challenging me to go all in. Never hesitate to travel for or invest time in the instruction, connections or sustenance your business or your entrepreneurial heart needs.
It's a little mad and very volatile, just like any love affair, but as Tara Hunt so poignantly said, the toll of working on fire as an entrepreneur is nothing compared to the regret you might have if you don't go for it.
If you find yourself of the precipice of going forward with on of your ideas, of falling head-over-heels for a business born from a spark, where are you finding your inspiration, support and sanity checks?
Credit Image: maveric2003 via Flickr