Why I Believe in Entrepreneurs
Two years ago, I was required to take the class "Foundations of Entrepreneurship" for my business degree at Belmont. One of our first assignments in the class was to analyze our ability and desire to be an entrepreneur. I proceeded to write 10 pages about my aversion to risk, my desire to work in a corporate job, and, in a nutshell, exactly what I would never do now. Two years later, I found myself electing to take multiple entrepreneurship courses in my last semester of college, working through the beginning stages of starting my own company, and fighting tooth and nail to control my own career path. What switched?
I learned that it is impossible to love your job if you are not an entrepreneur.
When I first began to study entrepreneurship, I thought it was only for people who are unfathomably creative, completely unstructured, and/or like to code complex algorithms in dark basements while wearing pajamas. For some reason I will never understand, college students, especially business students, are urged to go after corporate jobs that are often marked by mediocre pay and mind-numbing tasks. Climbing the corporate ladder is made out to be a right of passage, but it sounds like the road to hell, in my opinion.
It took me working with multiple startups through my internship at Jumpstart Foundry and watching several friends start businesses in their twenties to realize that entrepreneurship is a lifestyle led by those who dream to make their career more than just a necessary evil. You don't always have to invent a product, and you don't have to have an endless supply of investment. But, you do have to invent your career path, and you do have to make things happen.
Working in the startup world also taught me lots of bad ways to live an entrepreneurial life. There are people who understand that entrepreneurship is for everyone, but they never actually do anything. If you have a blog or an idea that you call "your business", it's akin to being an artist who only has a YouTube channel and thinks they are actually going to make it. You can't change the community or the economy without actual transactions, even if you fall in the nonprofit realm. There is such a thing as dreaming too much.
Moving to Colorado Springs has only reinforced the fact that I believe in entrepreneurs above all else. The people I've met here who are actively doing things to make this city a better place understand that long hours don't matter when change is the end result. Talking about work over a meal isn't rude when work should be something you want to take home with you. In my opinion, entrepreneurs are often better at living the mission of serving others than many churches that I visit. It's one thing to pray for the community, and it's another thing to take action.
You can spend your life being afraid of risk, talking about ideas, and living for the 5 pm deadline, or you can embrace the fact that your career should say something about who you are and where you are going. If we could start inspiring passion for our work rather than drudgery, we could develop a culture of people who feel lucky to begin the work day.