Curious to know what my life as an entrepreneur would be like, I set out to start my own business, immersing myself, day in, day out, in entrepreneurship. These are my stories and experiences from my month as an entrepreneur told through a series of questions.
Last edited: February 16, 2015
1. Why did you want to be an entrepreneur for a month?
After my graduation, it became obvious that the job market, in it’s disastrous current economic situation, hadn’t been waiting for me at all.
My MA degree in European Studies wasn’t opening any magic doors and it didn’t look like it was going to get me a challenging and well-paid job any time soon.
My degree, or more accurately, my parent’s network, did get me an internship at an embassy.
My time there though, made me realise that even if I was to get the best possible job in my field now, I would still be working in an environment that I don’t like, doing things I don’t like doing.
Moreover, during my studies I had the chance to work for many different companies. In the end, no matter what the job was, I disliked all of them because of the depressing office environment.
These experiences amounted to something I already knew in my heart: I wanted to work for myself.
2. What kind of business did you set-up?
Mr.G and I started a company called GM Media Projects. We experimented with Internet marketing, trying everything from AdSense and affiliate networking to mobile advertising and selling a niche product.
In the meantime, I also started setting up my long-term projects: this blog and the online city guide The Girl With The Blueprint.
3. What was it like to be an entrepreneur every day for a month?
It was exciting. I was bursting with ideas and was positive that the projects would be an instant hit. I was already planning my retirement and the one of my family and friends too.
That optimism and unconditional believe in oneself and one’s projects is priceless.
It was amusing to see my friend Arjen Calter go down the same path when I was helping him to set up his first projects. (Related reading: Philanthropist for a Month)
By that time, I was already working more than half a year for myself and the hardships of being an entrepreneur had well set in.
Seeing Arjen in his first month was like seeing myself during my own beginning. It made me long for that beautifully naive beginners enthusiasm, wishing it could have stuck forever.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t. In one way or another, when you don’t meet your expectations (and there are many to meet when you work for yourself), it affects you. I am sure Arjen would say the same now.
4. If you could do this month over, what would you do differently?
When you start working for yourself, you need that absolute believe in yourself and your projects. The longer you can hold on to that confidence, the easier the battle.
5. What lessons did you take away from this month?
Make mistakes and make them fast.
When you start your own business, there’s so much coming at you that the only way to come out of it alive is by making a lot of mistakes.
Mistakes–not carefully calculated decisions–bring you closer to what you want.
Don’t ask for everyone’s opinion.
Only talk about your projects with people who understand what you’re doing.
It’s tempting to tell everyone about your ideas; however, most people aren’t able to share your enthusiasm because they simply don’t know what you’re talking about.
Ignorance often results in negative feedback which will knock-out your confidence.
Furthermore, you’ll have to deal with being your own worst critic soon enough.
Ride your high as long as you can–there’ll be plenty of time to doubt yourself.
6. What do you like best about being an entrepreneur?
The best thing about being an entrepreneur (and the worst at times) is that I get to make the decisions.
Being an entrepreneur has made me fully responsible for my life.
Every day, I determine what needs to be done, and thus, what my life looks like and what I live for.
Tell me what you think. Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (links match discussion pages for this post) and let me know: Would you like to be an entrepreneur? What kind of business would you set up? What do you fear most about starting your own business? And, if you’re already an entrepreneur, what’s the most valuable lesson you learned during your time as one?
Every day I read one book chapter on topics like writing, blogging, photography and entrepreneurship. You can find out what I’ve read so far and what I am currently reading in the following blog post: Read 100 Business-Related Books.
Furthermore, I also read one or two blogs posts on the same topics every morning. I share the most interesting ones on my Twitter account.