Am I an Entrepreneur?

It is a good time to be considering alterna-lifestyle scenarios. Given the fact that it is customary to be up against hundreds of other people when applying for a job, many people are getting creative about careers. And those with entrepreneurial inclinations are doing just that—starting their own businesses.

A recent CNN Money article by Chris Isidore entitled “The Great Recession’s Lost Generation” (yikes, forget Gen Y or Millennials–now it’s the Lost Generation…) discusses how difficult it is for new grads to find jobs. One interviewee started her own business designing custom interior fabrics and carpets. Pretty cool.

But like tales of people who buy fixer-upper farmhouses in foreign countries, I both love and hate these stories.

Love because they represent possibilities. I am totally in awe of the young owners of Mjölk, a lifestyle/decor store in Toronto. When I read about them in a House & Home article about their cottage reno, the store name was familiar. Sure enough, I have seen their offerings featured in H&H before. Their store is, in just over a year, a design destination in Toronto! Now, I don’t think that their reason for opening their own store was abysmal job prospects. Still, this example of what you can accomplish in so short a time is inspiring.

Mjölk owners’ gorgeous cottage livingroom. Photo by Stacey Brandford, from House & Home June 2011

But I hate these stories for a few reasons. You never get the FULL story. Where do these people get the capital for their new business? Did they leave full-time jobs to get started, and how did they afford that, etc etc. And in many of these young entrepreneur stories, you hear about the initial leap, but not how successful (or unsuccessful) it has been for them.The practical details. One thing I’m sure of is that you can’t just wing it.

Nevertheless, the idea of bowing out of the job market to start something totally unique is … intoxicating. And it is a potentially logical step for someone like myself who has found the “standard” options less than appealing. Of course, it all depends on what the business idea is: some will offer lots of flexibility to take work as wanted/needed, while others could become an all-consuming commitment—fine if you love it, but not ideal if your goal in developing a self-styled life is gaining more time away from work. Again you teeter on that job-career paradox: do I need a fulfilling Career that reflects my passions, or just a job that pays the bills?

For me, a business of my own (maybe with occasional steady side-jobs) could be a great solution to build flexibility into a career that fulfills me but doesn’t own me. I am lucky to have a husband who is both an entrepreneurial dreamer and a very practical fellow–creativity and guts tempered by a mind for financial practicalities. We brainstorm constantly, thinking up ideas for one or both of us together. I think it’s just a matter of time…

My very supportive husband, with me at my graduation last year.

Do you have your own awesome business, or dreams of one?

12 responses to “Am I an Entrepreneur?

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  4. Yes, i agree with you, they never do tell the practical details, but even i want that same self-hied feeling with the option of flexi work hours and the risks associated with going solo, the hardest part is ‘the leap’

  5. Jean, enjoy the process of discovering your ideal path. Your thought process is so clear and eloquent, you’re already on the road to create your ideal scenario. Don’t stress, keep asking these types of questions- of yourself and of others…and continue to be a good listener. Your transition will be graceful. I look forward to being a witness.

    • Haha, I can’t tell you how often my husband says something like, “if I could only invent something Awesome…” It’s great to have that constant brainstorm though. At some point you’re bound to hit on a fantastic idea! Good luck to you guys!

  6. From an “I’ve had a career and am not retired” perspective, I was amazed at the various projects I fell into after retirement. I feel that what I do makes a difference. I value the intrinsic rewards that also offer some financial. It’s also fun to work with my husband after being consumed by my previous career. Things do fall into place. Best wishes.

    • Thanks Georgette! I very much appreciate your quasi-retired perspective. It definitely fits in with my mom’s advice to not worry about doing everything all at once. Thanks for the encouragement!

  7. Hey Jean! I didn’t realize you wrote a blog until I spotted it on facebook – I love it! This post just spoke to me because I find myself brainstorming ideas constantly about how I can concoct my own dream job. Being able to run my own company and be able to work remotely would be ideal, it’s just the $$ becomes the tricky part. I just have to keep the faith that things will eventually fall into place if I keep tirelessly working on projects I love.

    • Hey Lindsey! Likewise–I am reading you up now! I love Morningstar Project–it looks great!
      Thanks for checking me out. It seems we have similar desires in terms of forging our own path so we can indeed have it all! Totally, the money is a biotch, always bring us back down to earth. It seems like you’re doing very well so far though!

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