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6 Lessons on Entrepreneurship I learned from Family
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6 Lessons on Entrepreneurship I Learned from My Family

Entrepreneurship runs in my blood. It’s something I feel like I was born with and as I look back on the different lessons my family taught me, whether consciously or not, it’s shaped me into who I am and the way I navigate being an entrepreneur.

Fun fact: When I was 8 years old, I made holiday-themed stationary. I used paint pens and colored pencils to create cards and paper with pretty borders. I then photocopied the originals and printed out a ton. Then, I made my parents a PowerPoint presentation all about why I should be allowed to go around my neighborhood and sell this stationary. It was VERY detailed, and they got a huge kick out of it. They also agreed to my proposition. That was probably my earliest memory of being an “entrepreneur.”

Below are 6 lessons on entrepreneurship I learned from my family. Lessons I hope you can take with you and implement into your life as well. Keep reading, and I would love to hear a lesson you’ve learned too!

Lesson #1: Have a Strong Work Ethic

Maybe this is a no-brainer, but it’s easier said than done. My Grandpa Jack (my Mom’s Father) was extremely hard working. He came from the generation of folks who worked very hard at their 9-5 and he did so happily in order to provide for the family. For 30 years, he worked at the same company as an accountant and while he never went out on his own like an entrepreneur, it’s a lesson that anyone can apply to their life. He was extremely reliable, trustworthy, and so hard working he almost never took a sick day his entire time at the company. Having a strong work-ethic is essential in being an entrepreneur, because there will come times when you have to put in more hours than you’ve ever wanted to put in (no matter what you do). If you understand that, you’re in a better position to get to a place where you won’t have to do that your whole life.

Lesson #2: Have a Strong Support System

My Grandma Ettie (my Mom’s Mother, short for Esther) was the most nurturing, understanding, and supportive person you ever met. She was exactly the kind of person you’d want on your side and if there’s anything that entrepreneurship has taught me, it’s that it can sometimes be a lonely road. She was the support system to Jack and her family that everyone needs. Find someone to be “your person.” You will need them when days get tough, when you need ideas to bounce off of someone, when you have great days you want to share, and when you have breakthroughs that need nurturing. If you’ve never read The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron talks about needing a “catcher’s mitt” person. Someone to nurture your artist, to encourage you, and to support you. She also taught me to be that person for someone else and I cherish that.

Lesson #3: When You See a Need— Fill it

My uncle Mark started his own company creating first aids kits to businesses and factories.
He saw a need and filled it. He took control of his future, of his idea, and then implemented it. This is so important because often we see a need for something and even as that entrepreneurial spirit stirs inside of us, we live in fear of acting on it. He taught me that you can create your own destiny and be your own boss.

Lesson #4: Being an Entrepreneur Requires Stamina and Laser Focus

My Grandma Betty (my Dad’s Mother) came from a very very poor family in Colorado in the 1930’s. They had virtually nothing and my Grandma struggled with being seen as the incompetent girl in the eyes of her father. That really lit a fire in my Grandma to surpass everyone’s expectations and be successful. Her present didn’t look anything like the future she knew she wanted for herself, so she worked her tail off to get to where she wanted to be.

Eventually, she moved to California with her mom and brother and quit high school her sophomore year to start her own business. She had sewn some clothes here and there in the past but decided to learn everything she could about sewing, hemming, you name it. She started a business as a seamstress and realized what she needed to do to up level competition. She decided to make herself a “professional,” offering a pickup and delivery service. This made her more professional than anyone her age and in the local market. Throughout her lifetime, she had laser focus and the utmost determination to find success in the businesses she started.

Lesson #5: Believe in Yourself First

My Dad has that entrepreneurial spirit in his blood, just like his mom. His entire life he’s worked his way up from job to job, breaking into industries that didn’t even seem possible in years past. Something my Dad has taught my brother and I is that it’s so important to have confidence in yourself. You will need to take risks throughout your life and journey in your business and the only way that will be possible is if you have the confidence in yourself to do so. No one else will believe in you, if you don’t believe in yourself first. He didn’t need anyone else’s approval or validation to go after what he knew he wanted. He knew he had potential and summoned a determined force within himself to be relentless until he got to where he wanted to be. So often I talk with people who say they want to make changes in their lives or want to start a business, but they don’t go after it with confidence and that laser focus. Every day an actionable step needs to be taken. It’s easier said than done, but my Dad taught me to be driven and to go after my dreams with confidence every single day.

Lesson#6: It’s Okay to Pivot

My parents made it a priority, and had the privilege, to spend as much quality/family time with my brother and I as possible when we were little. They cared deeply about the way they raised us and I always appreciated how much emphasis they put on family time. My mom worked for many years of her life, but there came a time when she felt the need to pivot. She strongly felt the need to be home with my brother and I and what I learned is that….that’s okay. There will come a time in your life and business where you will need to shift things. Either drastically or incrementally, but it will need to be done. Welcoming that change instead of dwelling on it could be one of the most beneficial lessons you can learn. I’m so glad my Mom taught me that it’s okay to pivot and make changes or honor what you feel in your heart is the right path to take, even if it’s different than originally planned.

Many of the lessons I’ve learned I had the privilege of learning while my grandparents were still alive. Some lessons though, I really didn’t learn or even realize until long after they passed away. I’m very close with my family and even writing this post makes me so proud of my parents too. I’ve never felt more honored to be a part of this family and look back on their journey, while taking what they taught me for the road ahead on my own.

What lesson on entrepreneurship have you learned from your family? What’s something you want to start implementing into your life? Tell me below by leaving a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Photo Credit: “Made to Create” Coffee Mug Photo by Hannah Robinson. Coffee Mug by Me, find it here.

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Talking With Confidence About What You Do in Work and Life
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Talking with Confidence About What You Do

It’s not easy talking with confidence about what you do, especially for creatives. There are a lot of millennial creatives (myself included) who don’t live a typical 9-5 lifestyle and that can make it both hard to explain what we do on a day-to-day and stressful to justify turning our passions into a profitable way of life.

But it doesn’t have to be like that.

Speaking about what you do in a confident, shameless way extends beyond telling others a fact about you or where your interests lie. It’s a window into your purpose and leading with this confidence not only shows people who you are, but it also helps guide yourself too.

Especially as a new blogger, this topic is something I want to start a conversation around with millennials. I’m not going to lie, it’s hard to tell people that you’re starting something new and it takes a lot of guts to talk about that new blog, or side business, or creative venture you’re pursuing. It doesn’t always come easy for me to unabashedly talk about what I’m working on because it’s not a “safety guaranteed” way of life. There are times when I have to take a deep breath and remind myself not to shy away from it. However, I think that’s all the more reason to lead off with conviction in what you do.

For me personally, this is something I’ve struggled with over the years. I remember even back in high school it was easy for me to talk about writing and how that’s what I wanted to do in life, but I hid behind that. Writing wasn’t all I was interested in, but I didn’t have the confidence to say I was also interested in acting, filmmaking, etc.

Looking back on it, there are a few reasons why I wasn’t confident enough in years past:

  1. I was never the loudest personality in the room. I’m outgoing, but always more of an observer. I really thought that there was no way people would ever see me as an actor because I wasn’t the life of the party or the ___ theater kid. However, hindsight is 20/20 and there was no way anyone was ever going to think of me as more than the girl who wants to be a screenwriter because I never had the guts to say otherwise.
  2. No one else my age was running a small business (or so it felt). So, I always felt shy talking about my Etsy shop because I felt freakishly interested in online marketing, product launches, and small business statistics with no one my age to talk about it with. Today I’d be willing to bet that there were more people my age who did have side businesses, but were also shy to talk about it. I’ve also come to realize that it didn’t matter. Who cares if I was the only one who had an Etsy shop at 18? I needed to learn to own it.
  3. The lifestyle of any creative is never really a steady one. I had that drive in me to be successful, but I always felt pressured to go with the job that would tell people I would have the most security. More than that, I felt the negative stigma that came with telling people I was interested in certain creative endeavors that also happened to be so unsteady. There would be no office for me to go into every day and no boss to report to except myself. “Another LA screenwriter, another LA actor,” and maybe some people did think those things. But it was up to me to start talking with confidence about what I want to do and talk about MYSELF with confidence and passion. That was the only way there would be a silver lining in such an unsteady environment. I cared incredibly too much what people thought of me. To this day, it’s something I actively have to surrender. At the end of the day, being confident in who you are and what you want to do says so much about yourself and that’s the only opinion that should matter, your own one.

Post-Grad Questions: Now That You’re An Adult…

I remember after I graduated college it seemed as if I was flooded with questions about what I want to do, what jobs I’ve applied for, the list goes on and on. The truth was that I was the one that put the most pressure on myself to make a good impression and that’s when the fear of talking about what I do and what I’m passionate about would creep in. As creatives, we get a lot of eye-roll from people that think we sit at home and scroll through Facebook all day, and the thing is I totally get it. I understand why people think that, when the access to pajamas, our laptop, and Rice Krispy cereal are within reach. But that’s exactly WHY  talking with confidence about what you do, about your business, and about what you’re passionate about.

There’s a stigma that bloggers can’t make a living off blogging and that new bloggers shouldn’t even enter the market because it’s so over-saturated. I completely disagree with this kind of thinking. There is always room for someone who is passionate about what they want to do and share with the world. It will be unique because you’ll make it unique with your own perspective. If you’re the kind of person that’s still not convinced though…

Here’s 3 reasons why stepping into your passions with purpose and confidence is so important:

  1. Networking. Talking with confidence about what you do is not only important when you’re around people from your industry, but also when you’re around strangers and ordinary people. It seems like it’s always a friend of a friend or that girl from the bar that happens to be the one person that will put you in connection with someone for a promotion or collaboration.
  2. Connection. Not only for networking purposes, but owning what you do and shamelessly telling people about it with that fire in your eyes creates an unforgettable connection. People remember you when you can talk about yourself and what you do with confidence. On a personal level, it’s not only more interesting when you can speak about what you do in this way but it’s a more accurate depiction of who you are as a person. Maybe you work a full-time job, but you’re SO passionate about your Etsy shop you recently started. By not telling people about that part of your story, you’re doing yourself a disservice. That’s part of who you are and you probably spend more time talking about that side hustle and that creative aspect of your life, than your office job.
  3. Put it out there in the universe. I think there’s some truth to this so-called secret to life. You know when you have someone or something on your mind that you’ve been dreaming about and suddenly it comes true or shows up in your life? I think the same goes for talking about what you love to do with that faith and conviction. When you do it enough, it’s bound to make an impact in your life and in others.

Ultimately, this fear just extends into caring what people thought of me WAY too much. The truth is that I still struggle with this today, but over the last year and a half I have come into my own confidence a lot more. Sure, there are conversations when people ask me what I do and it’s scary to lead off with that surefootedness of what I do and what I’m passionate about, but that’s first and foremost who I am. I know I can say without a doubt that I feel so much better after a conversation where I shamelessly described who I am and what I love. I know the same will be true for you when you lead off with that confident foot too. Check out my manifesto for a glimpse into how I want to lead with confidence.

Leave a comment below if this is something you feel you struggle with too, or have in the past! I’d love to hear from you!

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Talking With Confidence About What You Do in Work and Life

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