“I hate my job sometimes…”
“I need to work for myself…”
“I want to be my own boss…”
With the progression of startups being more accepted by society as a sign of success rather than a sign of failure, more and more people want to become “their own boss”... Unfortunately there’s no step-by-step manual on “How To Be Your Own Boss” , “How to Freelance”, “How To Entrepreneur” or “How To Hustle”
I’m going to be brutally honest here… I’m not good at this. I’m not.
I’m not great at being my own boss. My organizational skills are better than most but not exceptional. I spend too much time picking out which coffee to shove into the keurig at the office. I find myself putting a playlist together on Spotify before taking on a big brainstorming session. I often procrastinate writing up content because I fear how others will perceive me. I’m the farthest thing from being perfect, strong, successful, or a HBIC and I can promise you that.
I was very fortunate to be where I was at age 18-22. My eyes sparkled with every idea, and the world seemed to be my oyster. I was very privileged to receive an education in a town with over 60 universities in a 10 mile radius. My education at Berklee College of Music allowed me to participate at Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard Business School and even Harvard Law School. While the education I received at these various institutions gave me a lot of perspective, it wasn’t until after I graduated that I figured something out...something really simple, in fact:
The difference between who you are now and the person you envision yourself to be in the future is dependent on whether or not you choose to take the first steps into becoming that person.
Easier said than done of course.
I wouldn’t call myself an Entrepreneur by any means, but I’ve always been the type of person who would go insane waiting for things to happen.
Here’s what I’ve learned over the past two years through trial and error:
Rule 1: “Your product or service has to be viable to your market”
If your idea sucks, you won’t go anywhere.
If your idea already exists, you’re too late.
You can’t just start on your own thinking “I’m unique enough” or “I’m talented enough” because I hate to break it to you kid, you’re not. There are 7.4 billion people on the face of this earth and I guarantee you that a couple million are trying to do the exact same thing as you whether you’ve recognized that or not.
If you’re unsure about the viability of your idea or it’s existence, go into a room where you are clearly the smallest person and ask someone for their opinion. I promise you they will be honest and more than likely tell you what you do not want to hear. Scared they might steal your idea? Read on...
Rule 2: “Ideas are shit. Execution is everything”
(Thank you Gary Vaynerchuck)
I had a client in a tech startup once who insisted on getting NDAs signed by every investor he was meeting with. I told him this was not a wise idea. Six months later, 5 potential investors later….no investor, and you want to know why? Because the second you hand them that NDA they will laugh at you and walk away.
Don’t be green. Ideas are shit. They’re nothing until you execute and this goes across the spectrum. Your baby, your million dollar idea is still just an ‘idea’ until you’ve properly executed it and the execution is where you make your bank.
Creativity is limitless. Do not feel like your one idea is your “be all-end all” If you’re going into the next venture timid or scared, you’re going to crash and burn quickly. Be aware that rejection and failure are essentially a guaranteed natural phenomena on your path to success.
Rule 3: “Make your own definition of success and don’t be shy about it”
People think it’s easy, but it’s not.
I wake up every morning knowing that if I screw up, it’s not just on me, it has a domino effect with severe consequences. It’s a job where everything is at stake and it fall back onto you. Due diligence, foreseeing the future, and consistent risk assessment are involved.
My mind is constantly multitasking at 250 MPH and it doesn’t stop.
I love inspiring people to grow as I grow with them. I love learning new things. I love exploring new territories and opportunities. My job here at BEGIN encompasses all these things.
I literally do what I love for a living. I might not be succeeding to your definition of success, but I’m ok with that. I’m not clearing six figures. I’m not going on extravagant trips every month. None of that matters because that’s not my definition of success.
Recognize that what you do day-to-day is a part of your existence. You spend 70% of your waking life working. The hours, the late nights, the travels you spend for work...that’s life.
I define success differently on different levels, but to me the fundamental definition of success is doing what you love and what you’re passionate about. I hope that you wake up every morning excited to go to work. I hope that you leave the office feeling so happy about what you accomplished that day.
If you’re not there yet, that’s ok. Don’t give up. Have faith that you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be. Figure out what it is that you’re passionate about and start from there.
Both of my parents started new careers in their 50s and word can do no justice to the happiness it brought amongst all of us. As humans, it’s inevitable that we will pass on. Our bodies will decay, our earnings will lose purpose and value, the only thing that will continue to succeed us is our imprint and inspirations left on society and the generations to come.
I hope that this next journey in my life will allow me to learn new things with you, grow with you, and ultimately become someone who could inspire others to do the same.
Welcome to BEGIN.
Sarah Virk is the co-founder and Director of Business Development for BEGIN. A lover of learning with a thirst for knowledge, she enjoys sharing personal stories to inspire creatives and entrepreneurs to discover and grow.
Tweet her @sarahvirk
The BEGIN Blog features posts about branding, social media, entrepreneurship, and other topics relevant to young professionals.