The first time I called myself an entrepreneur, I felt like someone was going to jump out from behind the corner and call me a fraud. I literally tensed up as soon as the word was out of my mouth, like I was expecting to be attacked. “That’s amazing!” the person I was speaking with responded. And for the first time, I felt like I might be an entrepreneur.
I left my corporate job twelve months ago and there are still days when I feel like a fake entrepreneur.
And then I think back to where I was two years ago. I’ve learned so much. I’ve earned money on my own. I’ve hired. I’ve fired. I’ve been contracted by fortune 500 companies, minor celebrities, and solopreneurs just starting out. I AM an entrepreneur.
Sometimes I have both of those conflicting thoughts on the same day. Multiple times.
I’ve learned that you never really “make it” as an entrepreneur, you just evolve and grow. Every time you master something, there is a next level to master, more money to make, and another product to launch. What worked in the last endeavor can’t be replicated in the next one and you need to stretch and learn and grow yet again, in different directions.
In spite of the uncertainty and self-doubt that often rears its ugly head, there are times when I truly feel like a full-fledged, dyed in the wool, never did anything else entrepreneur.
It’s the moments when I have significant impact on one of my clients or students. When someone who’s been lurking raises their hand and tells me how much I’ve helped them. When someone recommends me to a friend because they truly believe in what I do. When they reach out to me with a business success because they’ve implemented what I taught them. Those are the shining moments. That’s when I feel like a whole, true, successful entrepreneur.
If you are new to entrepreneurship – even if you haven’t dared to utter the word out loud yet – here are some things you can do to keep the “fake entrepreneur” feelings at bay.
Walk Your Entrepreneurship Path – Not Someone Else’s
Everybody walks their own path to entrepreneurship. Embrace the moment – don’t worry that you aren’t moving fast enough, or being flashy enough. Every step has a purpose and you will keep moving forward. You’re building your own story – and it’s one you’ll enjoy telling as long as you stay true to yourself.
Get Real. There Are Only 24 Hours In A Day
I know you’re busy. You’re working full-time, taking care of a family, and trying to have a personal life. Find the time to do at least one thing to move your business forward every day. Don’t beat yourself up because you didn’t accomplish huge goals with that 30 minutes you managed to carve out. It’s OK. Really.
Fake it Till You Make It Doesn’t Meal Lie Through Your Teeth
I hear “Fake It Till You Make It” uttered by new entrepreneurs who are feeling insecure with their ability to make their dreams happen. Please understand that this phrase doesn’t mean you should claim to be earning more money than you do, or that you should hide the fact that you are working a full-time job so that you can appear to be a “Serious Entrepreneur”. Lying about where you are in this journey is just denying yourself the help and support you need in order to make it through. Instead of focusing on appearing to be a successful entrepreneur, focus on using your passion to make a difference for other people. Because then you won’t have to pretend to be successful. You will be successful.
You may be at the beginning of your path to entrepreneurship, and that’s just fine. Keep putting one foot down in front of the other. One day you’ll lift your head and look around in awe at how far you’ve come.