In 2021, I thought, "I need to start a business that reflects my passions for innovation, art, business, and the environment." 2022 was the year for me to step out on faith and challenge myself to build my own table to sit at. When I worked as an employee, I felt that my seat at the table was always a highchair or a three-legged stool. In this business, my chair would be a throne!
I stepped out as an entrepreneur and was ready...or so I thought! There are so many misconceptions about entrepreneurship. Working as an employee is faster paced than being self-employed because as an employee, I had no control over my work schedule and project deadlines. Being an entrepreneur is lonely. I had to get used to working in solitude. At work, colleagues chatter would pass the time; but, as a sole proprietor, I determine my work hours and productivity level. I had to adjust to this new level of authority and discretion. Entrepreneurs learn from the school of hard knocks. Learning from my mistakes is a natural part of running a business. Making mistakes used to be a source of shame was transformed slowly into a badge of honor.
The most difficult lesson that I had to learn was that not every person that walks up to your table is a supportive customer or stakeholder. Some people expected a business pitch about why they should support your business. Others would make one purchase and disappear. Many would pay a compliment and scoff "Best of luck" and walk away. In year two, I understood why people say that entrepreneurs always be selling (ABC).
As an entrepreneur, I had to learn to believe in myself, my business, and to relentlessly persevere in face of adversity. I had to learn to operate based on faith and confidence instead of fear and anxiety. At the beginning of each calendar year, I selected a business mantra to help me focus (see the previous blog article to read about my 2023 mantra). Below are inspirational quotes from my ancestors that resonated with me as I enter my second year of operations. Happy Black History Month!