Thursday, June 20, 2019

what i've learned about entrepreneurship from my dad

I am absolutely and completely obsessed with self-improvement, business, success and entrepreneurship. I love reading books, website articles, listening to podcasts, or watching YouTube videos… anything that has to do with a great success story.  

However, my greatest inspiration has always been, and always will be…my dad.

 My dad is a self-made entrepreneur and businessman. For all intents and purposes, he came from nothing. He started his business from the ground up completely by himself almost 30 years ago. He’s had this business since I was a baby—so I’ve seen, heard, and watched the highs and the lows, the good and the bad, and the reality of what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur. Here is what I’ve learned from watching my dad:

You Don’t Have to Be a Rocket Scientist
Many people would be surprised to know that my dad barely made it out of high school. In fact, many people assumed he would never amount to much. He didn’t go to college and has no other formal education besides a basic high school diploma. What he did have though was ambition, drive, a strong work ethic, focus, dedication, a good gut instinct and common sense. You don't need to be a braniac, but you do need to be willing to work.

There Will Always Be Another Party
This is something my dad has always said to my sister and I. He was told this by his mother when he was a kid. The gist behind this is that anything you want in life is going to require sacrifice. When my dad first started out in his early twenties, he didn’t have much of a life besides work. From dawn till dusk, he was working. He missed parties, birthdays, nights at the bar, etc.. because he was working. Throughout my own journey, I’ve learned to switch my mindset from “I’m missing out” to “look at what I’m trying to gain.” Success requires sacrifice, and sometimes you will miss out, but there will always be another party.

Entrepreneurship is a Lifestyle 
Growing up, I always remember my dad being up at 5 am and out the door no later than 6:30-7. He would return home almost 12 hours later to eat dinner with my mom, sister and I. Fast forward 20 years later and not much has changed, except now we have advanced technology. My dad’s phone is ALWAYS on—answering phone calls and texts. As well as checking, sending and receiving emails. There’s been birthdays, holidays, even Christmas morning when my dad has had to take emergency phone calls or jump in his truck and head into the office. Entrepreneurship requires you to be “on” most of the time.  There is always interrupted sleep, continuous stress and a huge weight of responsibility on your shoulders 24/7. Just because the day ends, doesn’t mean the work stops. 

Pay Attention 
This is probably one of things I admire most about my dad—his dedication, commitment and loyalty he has always had to his business. It’s taken him almost 25 years to be okay with leaving his business for a week, or taking an afternoon off in the summer. However, I think it’s been a huge reason for his success—he pays attention. He knows absolutely everything that goes in and out of his office, he opens every piece of mail and knows the statistics and numbers behind his business like the back of his hand. Almost always has my dad chosen being in the office over attending a golf tournament or a business lunch. He’s the first one to arrive in the morning and the last one to leave. 

Willingness to Take Intelligent Risks and Make Quick Decisions 
Entrepreneurship involves taking risks, there’s no doubt about that (I mean, starting your own business is a risk in itself)…but my dad has always been great about taking intelligent risks. He has never thrown himself into a project just for the thrill of it. He identifies the outcome he’s looking for, calculates the logistics, actions, and timeframe, executes a plan, then gets going. He is also a strong, smart and quick decision maker. He does not waste time going back and forth about a decision. He’s more of a, “if we’re going to do it, we’re going to do it now,” type of person. In his eyes, time is money and it shouldn’t be wasted.
Perseverance and Time
I’m sure many of you have seen the “Success Iceberg” on the internet. It’s a picture about success that shows a small visible part of an iceberg sticking out of the water representing “what people see,” versus the huge other half under the water of “what really happens.” The part of the iceberg under the water represents the part of success that nobody sees: the failure, the setbacks, the naysayers, doubts, hard work, more hard work, more failures, sacrifices, risks, late nights, early mornings, courage, persistence and action. This is also the half of the iceberg that people talk about the least. I have heard my whole life people say that my dad got “lucky.” However, luck only comes to those who have paid their dues. It took my dad many years and a whole lot of patience and perseverance to get where he is today. Quitting was never an option. I learned from my dad that more often than not, the only difference between those that succeed and those who don’t… is that the successful never give up.

The Importance of Teamwork 
This is something I didn’t really notice until I got older, but when you are the boss/owner/CEO of a company, you are responsible for the livelihood of so many people. Not only does your family depend on you, but your employees count on you. They count on you for a job, they count on you for income, they count on you for leadership, they count on you for instruction. It’s a lot of pressure but also kind of a neat dynamic—the boss depends on the employees, but the employees also depend on the boss. There is no one without the other.  My dad has always emphasized the importance of being a team and working together. Morale, communication, appreciation and sense of support is so important when it comes to running a successful business. It’s true what they say, teamwork makes the dream work. 

You Have to be Willing to be Mocked, Hated, and Misunderstood
There’s a lot of people who love and admire my dad (like myself), but there’s also a lot of people who strongly dislike him. Unfortunately, criticism and hate are two major things that come when running your own business. When you’re first starting out, there will be people who won’t believe in you. As you gain momentum, there will be people waiting for you to fail. And when you’ve made it, they still won’t be happy for you. However, I’ve learned from my dad that haters are one of your greatest assets. Haters should be used as fuel to take you to the next level. 

What I’ve learned  the most from watching my dad on his entrepreneurship journey is that, it’s not easy.  It’s hard as sh* t and it’s not for everybody. Owning your own business is stressful, time consuming, and a hell of a lot of responsibility. However, the outcome and satisfaction of watching a vision come together is priceless. 

Dedicated to my dad, who dreamed it then real life’d it.

XX, Laura 

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful illustrated information. I thank you about that. No doubt it will be very useful for my future projects. Would like to see some other posts on the same subject! self business ideas