Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Starting a Business - Confidence or Ignorance?

When I started my business I didn't realize I was starting a business. I was simply doing what I liked to do - raising money for women candidates and causes - and had nary a thought as to what it might take to actually run a successful business.

In fact, it wasn't until I was three years into it that I internalized that I actually owned a business. And this was only due to my business partner wanting out of the business and being in a situation where I had to decide if I wanted to buy her out and continue or end my stint as an independent political fundraising consultant.

In order for me to determine that I wanted to continue with the business, I had to admit that I actually had a business.

You see, I never considered myself an entrepreneur of any sort. To me, entrepreneurs were people who went to business school, had investors and business plans, and invented things that didn't exist that you just couldn't live without - like cup holders in cars and movie theaters.

I wasn't innovative, financially savvy or had "business smarts" - or at least I didn't think so at the time. Now, here I am, 9 years and change into my business and I finally feel like the entrepreneur I always have been.

When I think back on the past decade, I can't help but ponder how I began my business and how I kept it going day after day. I think about what motivated me both then and now, and how much I have learned over the years; as well as how many mistakes I've made along the way and how much of what I do on a daily basis is going by my gut instincts. I don't know where I got these instincts, but I do think it's a combination of confidence that I'm doing the right thing, mixed with a bit of ignorance about not knowing or maybe not caring about the unknown.

Many woman business owners I speak with have a similar story. They began their businesses by doing what they loved as opposed to following a concrete business plan. And through trial and error, became successful at what they do.

I think that much of running a business is having the confidence to make decisions, the knowledge that you are an expert in your field, the understanding that people are human and make mistakes, the fortitude to continue moving forward, and the acceptance that anything is possible.

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