Are you one of them?
by Paula Jubinville
A self-aware, self-assured, successful advertising executive and mother of 2, Karen called us at the suggestion of a friend. For the last year, her friend had watched and listened as Karen's frustration and disillusionment with her work grew, without any specific cause. By the time Karen called us, her thinking had taken what we have come to understand as a predictable course. "I've been thinking of starting my own advertising and consulting business. I've been in the business for 12 years and have some very loyal clients, but I don't feel happy or satisfied with my work life. In my own business, I see myself providing the same high quality service but at a lower rate than the big agencies...what do you think?"
Callers are always taken slightly aback when I explain that I am more interested in why they want to start their own business rather than whether or not their business concept is a viable one. I have personally spoken to hundreds of women who are thinking about starting their own businesses to fulfill their need to do something important and worthwhile. In a world where 9 out of 10 new small businesses fail, an individual's skills and experience, working alongside the market's demands are vital prerequisites, necessary for any business to exist. From that basis, real sustained success, however, is dependent upon an individual's commitment to the business, something more easily sustained when that individual's interests, values and natural behaviours extend from their personal life into their business life.
Too often, I find change is confused with choice. Karen's struggle with understanding the subtle, yet important difference between changing her environment and choosing a new career path was evident in her initial call. Like so many others, Karen was having a hard time reconciling her personal value system with what was expected of her professionally. She was also feeling considerable stress from striving to fulfill her many responsibilities. Karen's initial response, common amongst individuals who suffer the strains of corporate restructuring, or who are overwhelmed in their attempts to achieve a balance between work and personal life, was to change her environment while staying in the same business. A more appropriate solution, however, may have rested less in "changing the form" of how Karen worked to "redefining the substance" of what she did.
Starting a business is a serious commitment, one that I believe is best considered as carefully as starting a family. In many ways the benefits, responsibilities and sacrifices are similar. When we think about sharing our lives with someone, or having children, we think about creating, nurturing and sharing. However, before saying "I do" or choosing the colour for the nursery, serious consideration to the significant responsibility, investment, sacrifice and lifestyle change is crucial. Generally, we choose to share our lives because we desire or want to experience the benefits our new relationship and inherent responsibilities provide, not just because we do not want to be on our own.
As a business advisor, I often find new business owners excited by the modern-day image surrounding entrepreneurship. The allure and glamour attached to the idea of creating and running their own show is a seductive distraction from the duller, more boring elements which are a fundamental part of business ownership – personal responsibility and investment, attention to detail and perseverance. Emerging entrepreneurs often think only about starting a business before they actually take their first steps. Career dissatisfaction is often the motivating factor. In the end, they may succeed only in changing their environment without having taken the time to consider whether or not business ownership will truly make them happy.
Do you want to start your own business? If your answer is yes, then the first question you should really ask yourself as a potential "emerging entrepreneur" is, more accurately, "Do I want to own and run my own business?" Exercise your right to choose. Create for yourself the business that you truly want, one that is a reflection of your personal goal and values. Karen did. She now owns and operates a successful business that advises large companies on their corporate sponsorship strategies.
As seen in Woman Newsmagazine – Summer 1997
AQUEOUS Advisory Group provides real-life, real-time business advice & support for Canadian entrepreneurs starting, running & growing their businesses. AQUEOUS has pioneered providing comprehensive business advice to entrepreneurs and is acknowledged for its unique and special focus on women business owners. So whether you are ...
Business advisor Paula Jubinville and best-selling author Joanne Thomas Yaccato have written "Raising Your Business: A Canadian woman's guide to entrepreneurship" - the ultimate how-to guide for women entrepreneurs based on their own real-life experiences.
You may purchase this book at a SPECIAL RATE of $19.95 (Regular $24.95) plus PST & $5 shipping by visiting our website at www.aqueous.ca/book or by calling 416-366-9669 ext. 26 to place an order.
If you are contemplating starting your own business and would like information on the Emerging Entrepreneurs ProgramÔ or the Small Business TeleAdvisor ProgramÔ sent to you and/or your current employer, please contact
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