Wednesday, June 19, 2013

@Kolo Project #My Truth

A couple of weeks ago, I received a tweet from the Kolo Project inviting me to a meeting at the Cathedral Village Freehouse.

I was to meet several other people from my community who have a passion for being an entrepreneur and creating an environment in which we can be successful. We decided to do something about this, together.

The Kolo Project is about creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem.  It is created, led and driven by entrepreneurs.  Our goal is to break down the barriers that inhibit entrepeneurial growth in our province, and in our cities.  We met again in my office to develop a game plan.

We decided that the first step was to tell the truth about entrepreneurialism, and to invite entrepreneurs from our community to come and share their perspective, their truth, on what works, what doesn't, and what it means to be an entrepreneur.

Let me start with my truth.

June 15 was the 2nd anniversary of my emancipation.  That was the day I signed off on my last corporate job. (It just so happens it was my worst ever corporate job, which in many ways fueled my new beginning into the private sector.)

I am going to just come out and say it. Private enterprise is not romantic.  It is about working harder than you've ever worked in your life for the least amount of money you have ever made. At least for a while.   This misconception is actually harmful because it hides the truth and therefore the solutions.

Private enterprise is about money - trying to make money and not lose too much at once. If it's not, it's called philanthropy.  In private business, you get to decide how. Easier said than done. Some people start with what they love and turn it into a business; others start from what they are good at and try and turn it into a business; others do something completely foreign and find experts. Who is to say? I think it depends on a lot of factors.

Beyond the product or service, you must become the marketer, the operations manager, the book keeper, the accountant, the service person, the sales person and even the janitor. If and when we hire employees to generate growth (why else?), there is a cost. People like pay cheques, benefits, vacations and the occasional day off.  All of that costs money.

In business, we have the freedom to make mistakes and make decisions. Yes, there is freedom to stay in bed. Yes there is freedom to take a bath in the middle of the day, or go to a yoga class, or maybe even take a trip. And that freedom lasts as long as the revenues are rolling in, or your investments are exhausted.

Private enterprise is about taking risk and managing risk.  Risks are dangers. They are not fears, but they are real.  Like Will Smith 's character said in "After Earth", roughly paraphrased', 'fear is not real, but danger is very real.'  The same can be said in business.  How you react to fear is a choice. But danger is very real. To be in business, it's all about balancing time and money and finding a way to optimize both.


Anonymous said...

Looked up the Kolo Project - cool

Safer path = "job security" with benefits and holidays"

Hard to make this leap of faith if one is feeling wimpy. Interesting paradox to have to sacrifice one thing (benefits) to satisfy another.

I've started a few books this week. Ann Druyan 'The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God' Carl Sagan's -Gifford lectures, Creative Meditation,& one on listening to Angels in our lives, & another practising psychic abilities daily haha ~ oh & couldn't resist Portia De Rossi's autobio - another is a 'Handbook for the New Paradigm" with no credited author or date. Wildly interesting.

Truth is I don't have time to be reading these books. Haven't filed income tax for 2012 yet, not keeping up with daily bookkeeping or laundry, my car looks like a pipe bomb went off in, yet this thirst for learning on various topics is obviously calling me the loudest. So I surrender ...

This morning I picked up 'Take your Soul to work' - Tanis Helliwell awesome quotes so far : From the Bhagavad Gita ~ " When work is done as sacred work, unselfishly, with a peaceful mind, without lust or hate, with no desire for reward, then the work is pure. But when work is done with selfish desire, or feeling it is an effort, or thinking it is a sacrifice, then the work is impure."

Hmmm I like what I'm doing, yet do get a sense of effort when it comes to sameness of all the daily tasks, & the sacrifices, like the time & relationships with all the people. How can we possibly do sacred to our souls work, when we have so much to reconcile. ? One moment I feel a flicker of reward when a gecko runs down and licks the freshly prepared fruit bowl or a snake tugs the rat from the tongs on the first dip near its mouth - days when sales are down, do we just drive to the other side of town to take care of a few thousand pets residing in an ancillary space. Are we even reaaaally a store. Doubts.

3 year anniver this May - including a move, name change = 3 months closed - parts of the stressful doesn't feel "pure"

Another quote from this book
"Like millions of trees which are all rooted in one and the same earth, so millions of human minds are rooted in and the same universal being." Paul Brunton and finally

a quote from the books author -Tanis
"The soul knows your life's purpose and the personality has the gifts to fulfill it. The union of the two creates a third entity, the soul-infused personality. We are neither a soul being nor a physical being we are both. And only by recognizing their interdependence can we become true creators."

So how I relate this to your post & my belief that if we entrepreneurs are being true to ourselves, choose something we likely have a passion for and a job is just a job if it is satisfying only physical requirements (roof, groceries) if we choose either to start with something we love or are good at, its probably the only way we stand a chance of getting thru the pioneer years of " working harder than you've ever worked in your life for the least amount of money you have ever made "

Managing the risks, managing the dangers. "How you react to fear is a choice" I'm going to think about that one. Cause I definitely feel fear somedays & then I start brewing up escape plans & you are right we do choose how to react - dig deeper, rise up, run away, shrink the risks. I am going to think about how I want to choose moving forward, cause I don't think going out for "fresh air" (what I like to call a smoke) everytime an anxiety moment kicks in is choosing wisely, nor is having sleep free nights - fretting

I like your posts a lot --


Lynn Armstrong said...

Thank you for your thoughts D. Hmmm. Fear is a choice. I say that because fear is an emotional response to something that threatens us. It is part of our flight and fight response - our reptilian brain I think they call it "reptilian brain". I have fear every day. Every day. Somedays are are better than others, like you. I think the thing is to acknowledge that and find positive ways of dealing with it. Small business is hard. We do everything and the rest of our lives suffer. I ask myself every day, is today the day I give up and get a job. But I haven't yet. There's that time and money balance. How do I lose the least of both possible?

Anonymous said...

Exactly Time and money balance - and when we wear every single hat, we might save money, but balance is difficult to find - comparatively the work is heavily tilted over the personal time.

Thank God for understanding family and significants. And for the people who help us endure the reptilian (flight or fight and drop our tail ) moments.


Lynn Armstrong said...

To be honest I find bookkeeping and accounting to be the most difficult even though I have a bookkeeper and an accountant. Getting people to help without expecting me to do their jobs is the difficult part. And I don't bake money that way. They do. Another topic for a blog.