I recently published a post about being a non-traditional entrepreneur, and because I received a lot of “Yes! I totally know what you mean!”, I thought I’d continue the conversation in case you’re searching for an alternative to running your own business.
An alternative to running your own business (hint: help someone else run theirs)
If you’re like me, then you’ve probably had feelings of inadequacy as it relates to running your own business.
After I launched my first business, Kate’s Copy, (and then 6 months later closed the doors), I felt embarrassed and had an overwhelming feeling of failure.
Why couldn’t I make it work?
The answer to this question kind of shocked me, because as a result I did what I didn’t think I would do: I joined my boyfriend in his business.
But more on that in a minute…
What I learned from making the decision to move on from Kate’s Copy is this:
I don’t want to run my own business.
That was an incredibly freeing answer, one that I never would have come to if I would have continued to wonder what was wrong with ME, or why I couldn’t make my own business work.
I also realized this: within my broad answer – I don’t want to run my own business – there were a lot of other discoveries waiting to be made, and those discoveries relied on ME being curious enough to uncover them.
Here’s what I mean…
An alternative to running your own business
When John asked me to join the Entrepreneurs On Fire team back in January of 2013, my first response was “I don’t think so…”
I was nervous about working with my boyfriend – and even more, I didn’t want to work “for” my boyfriend.
I also still felt a bit of a sting from having to fold up shop with my own business, Kate’s Copy. Maybe I just wasn’t cut out for all this? Maybe I did belong in the Corporate world…
But when I realized I didn’t want to run my own business, I also realized I didn’t want to be back in the Corporate world.
“Isn’t that all there is?”, I thought.
No. I can’t go back to the Corporate world.
And so I set out on a mission: to figure out what the alternative to running my own business was.
Is fear holding you back?
In order to figure out the alternative, I thought it important to understand why I didn’t want to run my own business. Was it just because I failed the first time and I didn’t want to fail again?
So I started studying and really thinking about the way John ran Entrepreneurs On Fire – how he started it from the ground up – and how he was building it from… nothing.
That’s when I realized that John had a lot of things I didn’t have when I started Kate’s Copy, like:
- A strong WHY
- A willingness to face fear and TAKE ACTION
- An idea worth pursuing (plus A LOT of other BIG ideas)
- An ability to pivot
I had exactly ZERO of these things when I set out to start and run my own business, and these are all things I feel are REQUIRED of an entrepreneur who is running their own business.
Now, it’s not that I didn’t feel I could develop these things – of course I want to have a strong WHY, and I want to face fear, and I do have a lot of ideas…
BUT, the one thing John definitely had that my personality and skill set simply doesn’t lend to is this: being a visionary.
At first I thought this was a bad thing, but after asking myself “why” several times, I really got to the bottom of why I don’t want to run my own business.
Understanding your personality and skill set
Because my personality and skill set lends to something other than running my own business, and I decided back in 2013 that I want to lean into my strengths versus dwelling on my weaknesses.
My strengths include things like:
- Figuring out how to make things work;
- Implementing big ideas;
- Diving into new software programs and understanding how to leverage them;
- Creating systems and processes that help save time…
By giving myself the space to step back and understand what my greatest skills are – and where those skills overlap with the things I actually enjoy doing – I discovered my alternative:
I’m not going to run my own business and I’m not going to work in the Corporate world; I’m going to be a non-traditional entrepreneur.
I’m someone who works behind the scenes and implements big ideas for the entrepreneur.
And while I still do consider myself an entrepreneur in so many ways, I realize I’m not a tradition entrepreneur, and I own that.
Ten times out of 10 I want to be the one putting the puzzle pieces together versus the one coming up with the idea for the completed puzzle, and I’m good with that.
Aside from this post, you’ve probably heard a lot about what it takes to be an entrepreneur, and that starting your own business is a marathon, not a sprint. That you have to have a WHY, be willing to face fear, have an idea worth pursuing, have grit, and be able to pivot.
But what if you don’t have all of this?… Or what if you have all of this, but running your own business just doesn’t feel right?
It doesn’t mean you’re doomed to work in the Corporate world for the rest of your life.
I know, because that’s me.
There is an alternative, and all you have to do is choose it, and OWN it.
I’d love to hear your thoughts! If you’re a non-traditional entrepreneur like me, how did you first discover that? If you’re DEFINITELY a traditional entrepreneur, do you see the benefits of having someone like me on your team? Let me know in the comments section below!