How To Become an Entrepreneur

Confession: I am a serial entrepreneur. Yes, I worked off and on through my adult years as an RN in various emergency rooms and operating rooms, and yes, I loved nursing. But a typical shift in any job often proved cumbersome. As a mom, I wanted to be at home and offer my children an idyllic childhood. What to do, what to do…I decided to hire myself!

My trek through the no man’s land of self-employment began innocently enough. I published a nonprofit newsletter for three years, and grew it into a 30+ page monthly magazine. Becoming a graphic designer and publishing corporate newsletters and brochures proved to be just a step forward. Call me crazy, but I was hooked. I loved the challenge of taking on a new enterprise and building it into a growing concern. Through the years I had several businesses: I was a bead artist and sold handmade beads at trade shows nationwide; I became a travel agent; I became a MLM rep for a leading skincare company; I co-owned an expo company promoting crafters an other entrepreneurs. Now I am publishing books for teens. Along the way I learned a thing or two.

passionReady to embark on this adventure of directing your own life? My number one tip is a simple one. Believe in the magic of the journey. Many a nurse when I worked part time in surgery would wistfully say, “It must be nice, traveling all over the country selling beads.” It was nice. But they never dared stepping out from the comfort of a 40 hour week into the uncertainties of adventure. You must believe in the magic of the journey. I worked hard at both nursing and building a bead business, often working much longer hours than any of my nursing buddies, and while they envied the glamour of my life, they never wanted to embrace the vagaries of life on the road.

Second, you must fuel your passion. Choose an endeavor you enjoy. You can’t sell hair extensions if you love short hair. I know. It sounds too mundane to warrant space on the page, but I see it over and over again: people selling themselves into a business for which there exists no spark of joie de vivre. The average client or customer has a built-in BS meter, and instinctively pulls away from a sales pitch. If you’re not in love with what you do, you’re embarking on a solo expedition, and it will prove lonely and disappointing in the long run.

working officeLearn, learn, learn. My third tip exists as a maxim for all of life. Learn your craft. Learn the tax laws. Learn how to sell effectively, saying just a little while saying all the right things. Accept that a lifelong date with trends and new skill sets exist as a part of the journey, a place to hang your hat each night. If you don’t learn and adapt, your journey will be cut short.

My fourth tip either lights your eyes or causes you to cringe. Connect with people. This is an age of instant communication and social platforms transforming the way business is conducted. Brick and mortar businesses struggle to compete with online entities. Support groups, conferences, other entrepreneurs form a nest from which you draw ideas and leads. If you see yourself as an introvert, pull up your big girl panties and join in. If you see yourself as an extrovert, be careful about overwhelming others. Establish an online presence and form connections.

Tip #5:  Read daily. Read classics. Read memoirs. Read nonfiction. Read great writers. Think about when you attended high school or college literature courses. You were assigned masters of their craft, and it sharpened your own communication. A steady diet of light reading as an adult dulls those instincts.

My next tip, number six, travels hand in hand with reading. Write daily. Keep a journal, write lists, work on your memoir, or just pen a missive to someone you know. Writing is a necessary complement in the process of growing your communication skills. Learn how to weed out the intransitive verbs, and insert words with a punch. Craft sentences an English teacher would want to read. Your verbal communication earns an overhaul in the process.

Last but not least: Grow your self-discipline. If you can’t make a list and force yourself to accomplish a day’s work, you cannot hire yourself and expect a living wage. Time management, organizing and prioritizing tasks, creating a product or offering a service all require putting the pedal to the medal. You have to make miles each day on this trip of a lifetime. Stay too long at an oasis along the way, and you’ll find yourself lost in a labyrinth of trying to catch up or rejuvenate your business. A strong work ethic is a hallmark of any entrepreneur.

If this resonates with you, share your experiences in the comments. If you want more encouragement, reach out. I freely admit I am old by some standards. My parent’s generation turned 70 and sat at home waiting to die. Instead, I’m starting yet another business and tickled pink to be on the road again. I absolutely love this journey of life, and expect my writing career to be more fun than a barrel of monkeys! Excuse the outdated pun. I’d love to share this journey with you.

Finding Your Roots

studiesI found my passion for writing in high school when I was required to keep a writing journal in English class. I wanted to be the next Erma Bombeck, but I found, to my dismay, I’m just not that funny. What I did find was an intense passion for words, paper, pencils, and memoirs. A lifestyle blog brings me full circle to my roots, when I courted words and collected quotes, and now share them with the great void of the internet.

Life propels us on a journey in which we visit many a foreign country. Some jobs definitely cause that sense of where am I going and force us to reconsider choices made. Each country visited, though, develops within us new skill sets, new perspectives. I loved nursing with a passion, but it was always the people, not the job. I have been a serial entrepreneur much of my life, first in freelance writing, then in beads, selling travel, selling self-care products. Each venture was exciting, daring to strike out on my own and loving the travel to new endeavors. I learned about stock and inventory, about bookkeeping, about meeting the needs of clients. But in this season of my life I am writing once again. It’s time to return to my roots.

Roots keep us tethered to reality. We all know pie-in-the-sky cloud people who live in the stratosphere. Usually they are managers. And we all know floaters who drift through life following the path of least resistance. Usually they are unhappy or wistful dreamers. I am writing to the ones who relish life with a carpe diem mentality, who find zest in what they love. Too much of the world mimics the next big trend, copies styles, and blends into the crowd. Roots require authenticity. Roots require me to be just who I am. No more. No less.

Dig deeply under a plant, and you find the vascular system of a growing entity. In my personal endeavor to rekindle my writing career, I am traveling to Dallas for a book fair, and working on my fourth novel. Writing conferences hone my craft. I am freelancing once again, and loving it. Each of my writing endeavors connects the facets of my writing career, past to present. Like tendrils of sentient tissue, my roots are extending and strengthening my resolve.bookmark4

I want to encourage you, gentle reader, to be true to yourself. If you find yourself in a dead end job you hate, make a change. If you buried a passion, resurrect it. Find your roots and explore them, strengthen them. Enjoy being you. Me? I love a cup of tea and my paper and pencil. I like to start each day with words.

A Wimp in a Whirlwind

We all want, yearn, for a calm life: idyllic days with enough money and a vacation on the horizon. Then life spins out of control. In the vortex of loss, financial setbacks, and desperation, our true selves emerge.

That’s when I realized. I’m a wimp. Oh, I can quote scripture and sing fervently when life rolls along as expected. I can juggle my disappointment when sideswiped by a minor setback and manage very well, thank you!. But caught in a whirlwind of desperation, I spiral into a morass of self-pity, hopelessness and doubt.

“Where is God in all this?” A dozen Christian ministries promise blessings, but mine are missing. There must be something wrong with me. One catastrophe after another leaves me reeling.

I’m a wimp, alright. But here’s the things. God’s okay with that. Yes, He is training me to be strong and of good courage, but He is full of mercy while I am yet brokenhearted,, devastated and the weakest among us. All He asks is for me, for you, to admit our forlorn condition. Ask for His intervention. Be willing to accept no solutions to problems. Be willing to be at peace amidst the storm.clouds 3_edited

This is my life right now. Yes, we still own two properties. Each home is problematic in one way or another. Now we owe two sets of property taxes. There is no light at the end of the tunnel…yet. In the midst of trial, I still find my hope in a King who knows my name and holds me in the palm of His hand.

Today we decided to continue to live in the midst of chaos. Such a big decision. We had put a moratorium on all extraneous spending this summer, expecting an end to the whirlwind, but we can’t live like this indefinitely. At some point we need to begin enjoying life again. That day is today.  I am choosing to look at the clouds and see better weather on the horizon, rather than expecting another storm. My sweet husband is smiling ear to ear at the prospect. Next blog…where are we going? Stay tuned!