While I’ve been getting my entrepreneurial feet wet since 2003 with side-projects here and there, the past four years I’ve gotten way more serious. Since 2012, I’ve functioned, essentially, as a business and marketing strategist for my own my entrepreneurial experiments. Here are the ideas and personal projects I took action to create and test over the past four years:
- The Textured Hair Institute (2012).
- I was a finalist in a local entrepreneurial contest (Credo Financial) for a salon suite concept called Textures Salon Studios (2013).
- I worked with mechanical engineers to explore the invention of a hair detangling tool I envisioned for Detangled Textures (2015) before confirming it was already patented and on the market. 🙁
- I produced a treatment video for a hair reality show concept called Healthy Hair House Calls (2015).
- I also explored and tested a statement Tee Shirt concept called Cool Brave Statements (2015).
- BONUS: 2004-2007, I listed approximately $3M in multifamily properties and closed a bit over $6M.
These rich layers of experiences could be equivalent to earning credits toward an MBA. For me, experience really has been the best teacher and I’m super proud to be teaching myself business in real life.
Speaking of self-teaching, in the course of my many professional reinventions, I have discovered a raw and prolific knack for conceptualizing businesses. I’ve also discovered my strengths and weaknesses and the areas I need help to make at least one of these ideas a permanent and profitable reality. The latest example in my idea generation practice is Goodbye Broke and The Clear Perspective Show.
The Million Dollar Question
So, the million dollar question is, “What happened? Where are the sales? Why didn’t any of these ideas ever turn into a business? Answer: My DNA. According to Joe Abraham BOSI Entrepreneurial personality test, my DNA is an Opportunist-Specialist. And after reading the results, I agree. It was a spot on “aha” moment. Basically, my dominate trait is opportunist. According to BOSI (VIDEO #2), that trait inclines me to be unable to focus on one idea because my nature is hyper-sensitive to new possibilities or opportunities. In other words, my strength is also my biggest weakness.
At the same time, my secondary strength is specialist. This is my strategic, analytical, task-oriented, time to make the donuts side. The side balances me out and can enable me to focus on long-term systems & processes needed for traction and growth–if I let it.
A Little Back Story.
See life, for me, is a series of discovery experiences. There are three things that run constant and consistent in my life:
- My faith and commitment to Jesus Christ
- My love and commitment to my family and friends
- My commitment to stay true and transparent with myself.
No one who actually spends significant time with me is ever confused about these three things in my life. They are constant and reliable.
Everything else is transient and exploratory.
For my competitive advantage in life is that my identity has never been tied to a career path, a job, or educational pedigree.
God has never allowed my soul to get comfortable with ideas of grandeur associated with titles, degrees, and income statuses. Paradoxically, while I do have high standards and goals and do see myself enjoying the rewards of accomplishing them, I can never bring myself to attach. It’s unwise. I’d rather enjoy vs. attach.
So, engaging these very necessary life experiences (education, jobs, and career) has been as much about self-discovery as it has been about making the income necessary to sustain my independence.
For, I’m not only a student of life; I’m a student of myself.
I see education, careers and jobs, as necessary tools to give me new information about myself in order to chart my next course. That is, what I like and don’t like. What I want and don’t want. What I can tolerate and what I can’t. What I do well and what I don’t. What circumstances made me thrive and what circumstances deflated me.
Note: Being single, without the responsibilities of a family, makes this life approach possible. If I were married with kids, this life approach would be totally different, I’m sure.
More Back Story
Although, I don’t have a horror story relative to my childhood, there were definite emotional deficits I inherited that left me suffering a chronic and annoying self-doubt. Self-doubt that has sabotaged some of my best efforts at success and consistency over the years. For example, I grew up without my father’s love and guidance but with a loving mother who abused alcohol (and, consequently, left her emotionally unavailable).
Imagine, the two people in your life who are to be the most into you, the very first people who are to know you and “notice” what you are good at so as to set you on a course to develop and master those gifts and talents (while guiding you through life adjustments) –were not available. To this day, as much as I adore my father and mother (don’t cry for me, ain’t nobody mad, they did the best they could with the understanding they had), they do not know me as a parent should know their child. They do not know my core.
Add to that–a very rural southern environment with little creative outlets, where most people play it safe, rob Peter to pay Paul, make payments vs. own stuff, entertain defeatist-victim mindsets, have no courage or energy to defy or outsmart racism, and lack interest in self-awareness–and you get an environment where any dormant entrepreneurial talent is truncated–if it even manages to emerge at all.
I’m totally convinced this is why God sent me on the first thing smoking out of that environment a few weeks after high school graduation. Not to mention, I could not find five people around me I wanted to be like.
But guess what?
Like everyone who finds themselves handicapped in some way, I made adjustments and adapted. I do not give you those details as an excuse but for the sake of understanding. Self-awareness is about understanding “why” you are as you are and getting under the hood and confronting the problems that emerge. It’s about revealing the importance of a positive, focused, productive environment in the development and success of most human beings and how breakdowns in home life affect children’s self-esteem and confidence well into adulthood. But again, we must learn to adapt positively–turn lemons into lemonade.
And, my adaptation looked like giving my self permission to take as much time as I needed to explore opportunities and figure myself out. I feel like I’m on a Divine scavenger hunt to discover the business best suited for me. Consequently, I’m arriving late to many parties my peers have long been at having drinks and living it up. Some parties, I either can’t get into, yet, or will never be invited. But, I’m taking my sweet time and is full of peace while I do so. I’ve been at this for a few years and am just now feeling the confidence I’ve lacked bubbling up to enable me to see my next business opportunity all the way through to the success I’ve envisioned.
So life for me, up to this point, has been this laboratory where I figure out who I am, what I’m good at, and what I’m made of–trial and error. For, since I left home at 18, it’s been: Research. Explore. Calculate Risks. Try It. Learn. Repeat.
So how does all this relate to entrepreneurship and my DNA?
All I just described, simply exposes the flaws and beauty when you pop the hood of a dominant “opportunist” entrepreneurial DNA type. For, the experimental way in which I’ve chosen to live is costly and lonely. It has and does cost me opportunity and creates longer routes to destinations.
Also, I’m not easy to describe or explain (working on that, though) which can, also, be costly depending upon the opportunity or partnership I’m seeking.
People or partners want to be able to say, “This is Tish. She does ______(insert one thing).”
See, the problem with narrowing me down to one thing is this dominant opportunist in me is driven to multitask. It sees multiple possibilities, sometimes at once, while curating how those opportunities connect to a main idea or big picture.
Again, this is a blessing and a curse. For, there are many times I have to play catch up to the warnings my specialist side raised five thoughts ago. That is, I’m forced to back peddle, wipe egg off my face, say I’m sorry, or pay some sort of stupid tax because I acted too hastily in descending like a vulture upon an idea or seeking “partners” or advisors, prematurely.
Self-Awareness & Emotional Intelligence
Although, much love to my specialist DNA for getting me out of situations, I hastily got myself into, just in the nick of time without too much collateral damage.
For example, although those hair industry ideas above were very good ones and ideas someone else could, likely, pick right up and execute on with better results, at the end of the day I discovered two things that prove wise to pay attention to:
- Doubt and indecisiveness in communicating my vision became noticable and it deflated the people I was seeking to work with–not to mention the other warning signs my emotional intelligence was quietly informing me about the venture.
- My personality and worldview were not compatible enough with the demands of the beauty industry for me to be willing to do all the things necessary to stand out as an influencer (with the exception of my salon studio idea–which is worth a revisit with right team). But #2 is likely the root reason #1 kept reoccurring.
It has been this kind of deep self-awareness and emotional intelligence that lead my instincts to abandon those ideas before they created excessive stress in my life and the lives of others. It was better to abandon the idea vs. holding on to it for dear life in the face of chronic poor results so as to save face and avoid feeling embarrassed. Ironically, these “failures” are actually my greatest success to date.
I’m most proud of these business bruises because I was able to avoid creating bigger scars and stress for others and myself. I was able to maintain my personal peace even though others were unhappy with me for the quick decision I made to move on and press reset. From that experience, I learned that I was quite courageous and was, consequently, comforted.
Looking for the One
So practically, none of my ideas have gotten traction because I’ve simply been dating my ideas–looking for the ONE to marry. You can meet many great people and even get along well with them, but still lack a sustaining compatibility. I just have not found the ONE.
So there you have it–my story. These are my humble beginnings as an aspiring entrepreneur. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it–mistakes, flops, and all. I will not stop until I find the ONE idea I can marry. For, I am determined to finish everything I’ve started and to change my family’s financial family tree.
Check back within 12 to 24 months from today for blessed profits! 🙂