In high school, I started my first business. I was finally going to call myself an entrepreneur!
I was in JSS. 3 at the time, my third year in junior high. Typically called ‘secondary school’ in Nigeria. I’m not sure what that’s called in Canada, but if you are non-Nigerian reading this, I guess you understand what I mean.
We were a group of friends. Somehow I’ve always had a clique of friends all through my schooling years.
Anyway, three of us decided to start a retail business. We were going to buy cookies and sweets in dozens and sell them in units. By the time we started selling the first set, we were barely making 4 cents in profit.
We were making about five Naira (Nigerian currency).
It was a big deal for us, but the economy had just started to dwindle so we couldn’t necessarily afford all we would have loved to with that amount, just as we’d have done the year before.
Also, we were three people going to share the profit. How many more batches would we need to sell before we could make enough profit to split into three?
This was about thirteen years ago if my memory serves me right.
We eventually sold off the third batch of stock and right then, I was certain that we couldn’t continue the business. There was no motivation for us as far as we were concerned.
We eventually ended the business at some point.
I lacked the patience to continue. I just couldn’t. To be fair, we all did.
I never tried to be an entrepreneur afterward. I focused on my books and admired my parents’ corporate lives (although my dad later started out a business), so I wanted to be a professional as well.
Somewhere deep within me, I admired those who had the courage to start out new things. A venture, business or anything at all and I gave them that respect.
That explains why some years after, a few friends and I considered starting a business. But somehow it never pulled through even after we had a friend design us a logo.
All along, even before my high school days, I’d always been involved in diverse forms of art but had no clue there was anything like ‘creative entrepreneur’.
Years would go by and about two years ago, I decided to start another business: a shoe retail company. I called it ‘Feet First’ before I eventually realized that there was another shoe retail company in the US with the exact same name.
I added a ‘.ng’ to the name to avoid any form of passing-off and decided that if I was going to get the name registered, I’ll have to give it a different but similar name.
I just wanted to be sure it was worth registering in the first place.
I opened up an Instagram account and Facebook page for the business, started a website, made a few sales, but along the line I just knew I couldn’t go ahead. Also, I had to relocate!
I told myself: “Entrepreneurship isn’t for me”.
Maybe I was right. Maybe I wasn’t.
Why did I think so? Why conclude when I couldn’t see the future?
Then, I learned about the difference between a product or service entrepreneur.
“Maybe I fall under this category: service”, I told myself.
I also got to know that there were different types of entrepreneurship: technical or non-technical entrepreneur, individual, government, private or public entrepreneur and so on and so forth.
There’s even one termed ‘migrant entrepreneur’!
I did a couple of research and discovered that I wasn’t alone in this debate. I guess it’s safe to say that entrepreneurship means different things to different people.
And you can very well apply the entrepreneurial spirit to the workplace even as an employee — intrapreneur.
A lot of controversies out there, but I particularly enjoyed reading this article on 8 Differences Between ‘Entrepreneurs’ and ‘Employees’ and I love how the author ended the article.
There is also the possibility that you may be in the right profession, but the wrong position for your personality. Remember when I wrote an article on personality clash at work?
Basically, someone most suited as an entrepreneur may have the potential to tolerate and manage higher risks when compared to an employee. And I think that’s where the thin difference comes in.
I don’t admire the name calling or shaming that many entrepreneurs or wannabes indulge in. Many entrepreneurs tend to look down on the idea of 9-5.
I believe that everyone should be allowed to be themselves whichever way they choose to express it: employee or entrepreneur.
Should we really give ourselves tags?
I could very well be an entrepreneur when I consider the fact that I see myself to be a creative too. It doesn’t mean that I don’t like being an employee.
So what if everyone begins to start up businesses or discover innovative ideas? Who will be the employee to actualize the goals or objectives with you? Who will be of assistance and support to you?
Who will work for you, when you finally start out your empire?
You see where employees come in?
Also, at some point, I think entrepreneurs gradually become employees. I mean, at some phase, these entrepreneurs create standard businesses that require them to work specified hours to an extent.
Because at this point, someone else has to do some aspects of what was formerly your duty. Also, if you have to sell a part of your business to another party, you’ll still have to work a certain number of hours regardless of your position.
In the end, as long as you are going to be involved in your business, you’ll definitely have to work a number of hours. Although as the founder, you may have more flexibility.
The world will certainly be boring if we all decide to call ourselves entrepreneurs or employees. Let’s have that variety and respect every other person putting in hard work and smart work, whatever way they choose to.
After all, variety is the spice of life, not so?
Major point: let’s learn to be more inclusive and worry less about the tags. Employee or entrepreneur!
Please share in the comment section, do you see yourself as an employee, entrepreneur or both and why? I’d love to hear from you.
P.S. And while we are at it, if you are an entrepreneur or business owner who reads my blog (I’m happy to know that by the way), please let me know if you actually benefit in any way from this blog. I share some ways to be of better help to your team and would love the feedback.
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