National Assoc. For The Advancement Of Young Entrepreneurs
By Carol Tice
Here's a dirty little secret of entrepreneurship: It's not usually all glamour and a fat cash register at first. Most business owners need a commitment to doing whatever it takes to get over the hump, to where their business makes enough to fully support their family.
I once profiled a successful young entrepreneur who opened a trendy shoe boutique in downtown Seattle. I learned that the store barely survived its first year. It was in a bit of an out-of-the-way location, and people weren't coming.
She went to her dad, also an entrepreneur, to ask for a loan. He refused. Instead, he told her if she really had a passion to make this business happen, she should get a bank loan or a side job to keep it afloat until the store's revenues improved. This chic young woman then spent a year on a grueling schedule: She worked as a bar-back -- hauling in crates of beer bottles into the wee hours -- and ran her store during the day, until it threw off enough cash that she could quit.
Sometimes, it's not about whether you have a great idea or that you don't believe in your dream. It's a question of what you're willing to do to get through the tough times to where you make a profit.
For instance, in 2008, when young entrepreneur Matt Wilson started the online communityUnder30CEO, his mother was struggling to make ends meet with a flagging real estate business. To help her and keep his business afloat, he dug ditches for 12 hours a day.
Recently, a friend who opened a co-working space in the Seattle area not long ago confessed to me guiltily that she was taking some technical writing gigs on the side for some immediate income.
I told her that story about the shoe-boutique owner.
And me? I typed scripts at night two years while I built my freelance-writing business, way back when.
It seems like entrepreneurs are always ashamed to say they're holding down another job -- or two -- while they launch. Instead, I think business owners should be proud that they have such an intense level of belief in their vision that they'll do whatever it takes to see it to success.