Yo, I’m just going to get right to it: Building a business is the most challenging adventure I’ve ever attempted. But over a year ago when I decided to start my own digital marketing studio last year, I somehow convinced myself it would be easy. I was motivated, skilled and well-connected. That’s surely enough to overcome what I don’t know, I thought. Obviously, with the benefit of hindsight, I can chuckle at my naiveté and admit how misguided I was.
Don’t get me wrong: My determination, talent and network have definitely helped me along this uncharted path. But it’s not enough to sustain a profitable, successful business. I’m no special snowflake. My passion come with permission to cut corners. I, just like everyone else who eventually figured it out, had to train for the marathon. Because entrepreneurship isn’t a sprint.
I quickly discovered the missing link. I had no clue how to start, launch or grow a business. But identifying and admitting you have a problem is 80 percent of the battle. So I did what I always do when I want something: I rolled up my sleeves, mapped out how to get the result I wanted and worked my ass off to have it turn out.
It’s a process I’m quite familiar with. It worked when I wanted to be a newspaper editor (despite being the youngest and only Black person on the masthead). It also worked when I wanted a freelance assignment to cover New York Fashion Week (despite attending college in Texas and the publication preferring a NYC-based journalist). And it worked when I wanted a job working for Eva Chen at Conde Nast’s Lucky (despite not having any magazine experience and having to take a 67 percent pay cut from my previous job).
Surely, this same formula would unlock the keys to the entrepreneurship castle. But along the way, that formula was put to the test, as I encountered several roadblocks that almost made me give up on my big idea. To list them all would demand a full day’s time and more words than this blog post can accommodate. So I’ve decided to focus on the top five.
And whether you have aspirations of starting your own business or buying a home or relocating to a new city, I’m sure you’ll encounter them on your path too—if you haven’t already. I invite you to use my experiences as a cautionary tale to help you hurdle these dream-blocking barricades.Read More