School started yesterday. And, for the first time in about 20 years, I’ve been present to the first day of school. Not as a student, obviously, but as a proud uncle.
I was looking at the youngest kids there, the ones just starting school. Everybody was telling them something, everybody was raising their voices to be heard and created chaos. One kid could, at the same time, hear 3 things to do: “Stay here!” (from the mother), “Go there!” from the teacher and “Kid, smile to me!”, from the grandfather (or uncle, in my case) snapping photos.
Obviously, most of these kids look kinda lost. After all, the experience is completely new, they don’t know who to listen to, since there are so many voices of authority there, what should they do?
Entrepreneurship is not that different, actually. And, seeing that, as a kid, you will start listening to your teacher once everyone else is gone, being an entrepreneur might actually be a little bit more difficult. I mean, who are you listening to when starting your first business?
Your friends? Could be, though it is almost common knowledge that people don’t really like change and your friends will not like it either. And it’s not because they are bad people, not at all, it’s because they want things to stay the same. They can also lie to you when it comes to their opinion, so that they do nt hurt you. And this could be even worse.
Family? Well, the people that are most close to you don’t want you to suffer, they want “security” for you. Entrepreneurship doesn’t really sound like a “secure job”, is it?
Mentors? Well, that’s better. But how do you choose your mentor? Is anybody suited to be your mentor? As a kid you are “given” to a teacher, but as an entrepreneur you need to find that person yourself.
Finally, the other entrepreneurs? These are probably the ones you will connect with the most. They are encountering the same issues, they are experiencing the same frustrations, the same anxiety, the same challenges. They might not give you the best advice (especially if they are first timers, as well), but at least it’s some kind of advice that you can use. Of course, if they are seasoned entrepreneurs, they might even become mentors.
I’ve tried to meet as many entrepreneurs as possible (especially when I was just beginning). Now it’s easier than ever, since there are so many meetups and communities (offline and online) that you can join.
If you are a Romanian entrepreneur, I would recommend the Romanian Startups Facebook Group. If you are Eastern European, I would recommend How To Web conference (in November), in Bucharest. Of course, these are some I know of personally, but I am sure you can find meetups anywhere (use Meetup.com and Linkedin groups to find some events in your area).
I remember being so happy that I would go to school for the first time. A whole world would open in front of me. Entrepreneurship is the same thing. Just a lot better :)