This Article is About
obsessive compulsive disorder
moment of clarity
entrepreneurial experience
health care
Thinking About Becoming An Online Entrepreneur?
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"Do you think you really are going to make it as a online entrepreneur?"  Mack asked hopefully.

"Gosh, Mack I hope so.  When I started, I thought it would be easy, but I quickly became aware that I was not on my playground."

Mack laughed and stoked his face.

"No, I am serious.  There are times when I feel that I will never make it, and then I will have a moment of clarity when I feel like I actually might succeed."

"It sounds a bit like an obsessive-compulsive disorder," he said in jest.

I think that statement perfectly sums up my experiences as an online entrepreneur, obsessive-compulsive.  I have had over 20 years experience as a successful senior leader and entrepreneur in health care so I assumed that it would be easy for me.  The thing to remember with any successful venture is that it is never really easy.

"You are exactly right," I agreed nodding my head a bit aggressively.

"It doesn't sound like something that I would really want to do," Mack said shaking his head.

"You know," I said trying to sound like someone who has been there and done that, "it is not really different than any other entrepreneurial experience I have had."

"What do you mean?" Mack asked.

"Well," I responded trying to gather my thoughts, "you basically start out with a plan of how you expect things to go.  But your plan is one that is established during your greatest period of ignorance."

Mack's stroked his face and slightly turned his neck.

"When you are starting, it is a classic you don't know what you don't know phase.  I thought I knew what I had to do to be successful as an online entrepreneur, but I was flying blind when I made my plan."

Mack nodded in understanding.

"You assume it will not be easy, but you sort of calculate the amount of effort you have to put into it.  The problem is that you make this calculation before you know anything.  So you get started and learning is a constant of any start up.  The more you learn, the more you discover you need to learn."

"Sounds like you could end up running on a treadmill," he interjected.

"You can, that's why you need to try and have some sort of schedule.  Try to balance your life to some degree between, work, your family and other obligations.  I believe that you must also give time to yourself to exercise and have down time, just so you don't get carried away."

"Sounds easy enough," Mack said.

"Sounds is the operative word," I laughed. "You have your timelines set up when you don't know anything, then you add on every new task that you learn on the way, it can be pretty overwhelming."

"But the rewards," Mack tossed me what he thought was a softball.

"There are no guaranteed rewards," I stopped him.  "That is why you have better actually love the process of doing a startup.  You have to love the conceptualization of a plan, the effort it takes to get all the background information that you can, and the intestinal fortitude to put yourself out there and sail in uncharted waters.  If you love that sense of uncertainty, but have the will and persistence to do it anyway, then it can be a good thing.  The rewards come from actually creating something.  Hopefully it will be something that people appreciate and value."

"You make it sound sort of fun."

"It can be.  You have to appreciate that at the start, because getting people to appreciate, value and actually pay for your product are three very distinctive steps.  You need to be successful in all three to actually succeed."

"Do have any advice for a guy who is thinking about doing something online?" Mack asked.

"If you are thinking about it, I would suggest that you understand that there is risk of failure.  I think you should understand that you would have to learn continuously and work as hard as you imagined.  You should understand that you may do a lot wrong and you may start down one avenue and have to retreat or change course entirely.  You should remember to be balanced with your life and enjoy the process, because at the beginning and maybe for a long time that may be all you have.  But if you are inspired enough after thinking about those things, then just pull the trigger and do it," I spoke with more passion than was necessary for our conversation, but I could not help myself.

Mack leaned back pulling his shoulder blades together slightly. "I think I will just keep my day job," he said reservedly.

"It's your call, Mack.  Maybe it is best if you just start something on the side and see if it suits you.  I don't know if I were you that I would go out and just quit my job to start a new business venture without having tested something first."

"That is sort of what you did," he said.

I nodded. "Yeah, Mack, but I am an idiot."

We both laughed a bit too long at that statement.

Thanks for reading.

Street Talk

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  about 1 decade ago
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