Identify Your Passion
Ever since I started my company, I am constantly asked what it takes to venture out on an entrepreneurial endeavor. Lately, this question has been asked of me more than ever, so I am unveiling my secret with the hopes of inspiring a few more hustlers. You just have to go for it. Honestly, it is as simple, but also as hard, as this. The biggest difference between an actual entrepreneur and those who talk about being one, is the fact that those who achieve are those who have actually stepped out and gone for it.
“You just have to go for it.”
When I first became involved in business, I would constantly find myself in conversations with people who claimed to be “entrepreneurs.” They would talk all about their ideas, plans, and goals to no end. There was just one problem though, when I asked what kind of business they owned, they looked at me like I had asked something crazy. Well there was not an actual business, but there were really good plans to eventually establish one. Mmmhmm. You see, the reality is that an idea is only an idea until you do something about it. Business plans are not businesses, and domains are nothing until there is a company represented on the site.
“an idea is only an idea until you do something about it.”
Ever since I was a little girl, I knew that one day I would run my own company. From ages 8-12 year old, I was dead set on owning and running a gymnastics facility. For lack of a better reason, that was what I was extremely passionate about at that time in my life. When I hit high school, I traded in my leotard for a cheerleading skirt and a crop top. My love and dedication to cheering lead me to college where I cheered on the Purdue Boilermakers (Boiler Up!). And here’s one of the best displays of my passion fueling action: while interning at the Chicago Board Options Exchange, I decided that I was going to own my own brokerage firm one day where I would only employ females; this was inspired by the fact that I was one of the few females on the trading floor at the time (I still chuckle when I think of this).
Clearly I’ve strayed ever so slightly from these ideas, but at the same time, there is no way to truly know what the future holds. I have always been passionate about something in life, and this has led to action in some capacity. I knew that one day I would find something that I was so passionate about that there would be no question I would figure out a way to not only turn this into a career, but to OWN it. Check.
Get Ready to Work
After 26 years of learning from life, and 11 more long hard years of working “jobs”, I decided to test the entrepreneurial waters. I started with a small fashion blog [when I say small, I mean small] . The idea was to begin creating and testing opportunities outside of my corporate career. After an Instagram post connected to my blog landed me a spot on the Crain’s Chicago Business website, I began to see a light at the end of the tunnel, and that’s truly all it took. At this same time, I also got involved in a direct selling company on the side to continue to open doors for both entrepreneurial and financial opportunities.
As my itch to become a full blown entrepreneur strengthened, I took on another completely new endeavor and began to work in the hospitality and food industry on the weekends. After quickly working my way from a hostess to a server position, I realized that I could replace my corporate income by working only three days a week (yes, servers can make bank). This decision was not because I loved the crazy long shifts, at-times rude customers, and having a fluctuating income based on tips. The real benefit from this was having my weekdays freed up to pursue my passion and hustle hard to build the framework and foundation of my company.
The path for starting your own company is completely unique to itself; a series of absolute steps does not exist because the process looks completely different for everyone. You have to just go for it–take that leap of faith and put action to your idea. Hustle hard–there will be countless hours of work that you’re going to have to put in (you’ve been warned). Finally, be sure your pursuit involves your passion–being passionate about your work will help sustain the times you feel like throwing in the towel.
I know how intimidating it is to go from an idea phase to jumping all in and taking action; I can’t commend you enough for looking to move forward. Please know that I am more than happy to be a resource for you as you get started with your own company. DM me on Instagram @laurenewalsh with your thoughts and questions. I look forward to connecting!