It takes a lot of heart to admit to yourself you're not what you wanted to be.
I watched a lot of Gary Vaynerchuk over the summer (ironically I still have to spell check his name). I was watching several videos a day, every day. I was deeply engrossed in an entrepreneurial atmosphere. I’d just been recruited in a multi-level marketing company (I still refuse to call it a pyramid scheme) and was hanging around real, proven entrepreneurs. I was still living off of my savings, so I had nothing to worry about except building my business empire. Something I was sure my Bachelor’s degree in sociology definitely made me supremely qualified for. As part of my process, I messaged people on Facebook throughout the day, giving myself the goal of messaging 20 people each day (and for anyone reading this who received such a message, I’m sorry. I honestly thought I was doing a good thing.) I started with friends and family, then progressed to friends of friends and other acquaintances. Eventually, I started going through other people’s friends to find people I could send messages to. I did this for months. Most people say no. Most of them are nice about it. Some of them are really mean about it. Oh and to the guy who told me to “get a real job”, thank you, you’re part of the reason I’m still striving to do what I do. Point being, this kind of work can get pretty demoralizing, as many who’ve been in sales will tell you. I am not made for sales. I already wasn’t a fan of the process, and the no’s could be incredibly disheartening. That got me watching, and listening to, a lot of motivational videos. You can find whole compilations of the stuff on YouTube. Admittedly, piles of it was the bland “you can do it, just believe in yourself” kind of thing, and I just let it drone in the background as I worked. But pieces tended to stick out, and they came from one guy. He was loud, animated, and completely empty of shit (Is that a saying? Can you use that? I’m gonna use it anyway). I transitioned from listening to general motivation videos to listening and watching his stuff. I got hooked. He vlogged in a way I’d never seen before, having someone follow him as he gets shit done, rather than just blabbing to the camera. He sought out questions from his audience and answered them for everyone to see, and he engaged with his audience (he’s actually replied to a comment I posted on one of his videos, which totally did not make me jump up in down in a happy dance).
So why am I droning on about Gary Vaynerchuk? Besides my unending fandom, he put into words a hard lesson I learned over the last summer. I’m not sure why I’m reminded of it now, but it might have something to do with the weather warming up. Between the propaganda I’d ingested from the multi-level marketing company I bought into and the (legit) entrepreneurs I’d managed to meet and interact with, I’d convinced myself I was an entrepreneur. Nevermind the fact I hadn’t sold anything in my life, or that I’d never built anything even remotely close to a business, I was convinced that entrepreneurship was my destiny. I told myself I’d just come into it late, and ignored any signs pointing to the opposite. As a disclaimer, I blame no one but myself for this. No one told me I was an entrepreneur, and no one convinced me of anything. I labelled myself as one, and the lovely people around me supported me in trying to become one. So now here comes the lesson.
I’m not an entrepreneur.
I never was, and I never will be.
It took a long time, and a lot of money, before I realized it. I tried to sell different things, I tried working with various companies that allowed for the flexibility I thought came with entrepreneurship. I spent a lot of money (for a broke 20-something) to come to this realization, but I’ll never say I wasted any of it, because I learned my lesson. Here’s Gary Vaynerchuk putting this lesson into words:
“If you’re not out there making it happen and running a business, you’re not an entrepreneur, you’re a person with entrepreneurial tendencies.”
He’ll be the first to say it’s fine, because it’s more important to be aware of who you are rather than convincing yourself you’re something you’re not. The lesson I took from it? I have some of the tendencies. I hate the 9-5. I want to work with people, not for them. I want to leave a legacy. I took a lot of risks when I thought I was an entrepreneur, because I believed so strongly in that. Those risks didn’t pay off in the way I thought they would; I’m more broke now than I was back then. However, I’ve learned so much since then that I’ll still say it was incredibly worth it.
I took risks when I fancied myself an entrepreneur, and I’ll take more now that I fancy myself a writer and an actor.