That’s right, you heard me, it’s boring!
Being an entrepreneur, at least at first, does not turn you into a glossy, young trend-setter. You can drink all the organic coffee you want and go on talking about your business, but that will probably put you in a state of caffeine over-drive and bad work habits.
Let me break this down.
Being an entrepreneur nowadays is a buzz word that most people associate with a super cool person that challenges the norms of society, by breaking down barriers. What does that even mean, breaking down barriers? Barriers are your own mental manifestations, so, you can simply break them down by shifting your focus. You don’t break a thing.
Envisioning a business idea is quite fun, but it takes quite another set of skills to skillfully implement concrete actions towards business goals.
So, thanks to colorful and glossy MBA brochures, we’re now all of a sudden secret entrepreneurs waiting to be unleashed. Entrepreneurship has become synonymous with creativity, uniqueness, and non-conformity. It seems like everyone is an entrepreneur these days, just like every young traveler has now become a professional photographer. You just need a Canon camera, right?
That’s like saying you just need to have google translate open to translate.
Some of these adjectives may hold true, as an entrepreneur starts a business by developing a unique skill or product well-enough to create a viable market demand. This, in turn, generates sales and allows them to take control of their vision to forge their economic destiny.
But it doesn’t take a glossy trend-setter to accomplish concrete business goals, in fact, the glossy trend-setter may have too many ego-blocks and bad work habits that will lead to their eventual demise.
Now, this is not to say that entrepreneurship is boring within itself. But, it has become a lifestyle so overly sensationalized that it often overlooks and under-describes the details of the repetitive, and yes, boring tasks you will have to complete day after day to achieve any grain of financial success in your business.
This is the reason why many first-timers entranced by their potential entrepreneurial image fail; they simply don’t do the work.
The more I take ownership of my financial autonomy and destiny, the more I realize that an authentic entrepreneur is not some special trend-setting person with amazing teeth, but rather an individual that possesses the ability to firmly decide on a strategy and execute it. That’s it.
Entrepreneurs are simply committed individuals that take on the responsibility of their financial autonomy, and thus, the mundane and boring tasks required to drive towards excellence and ultimately, success.
When people ask me if it is super inspiring to build my own business or if I feel lucky, I say, no and then no again. It’s not super inspiring, it’s a decision. It’s not luck, it’s consistent and calculated tasks with expected results and returns on long-spanning initial time investments.
This is not to deter individuals from starting a business or perhaps selling their services, but rather, as a wake-up call to look beyond the glossy brochures that MBA and business schools issue every 3 months to sell their programming to young confused people.
So, boring aspects. Let’s get into them, shall we?
It varies. But, it can include getting up at the crack of dawn day-in and day-out; being consistent about your emotional and professional attitudes; being productive even when you just want to kick-back and do nothing; endless data entry for your next outbound marketing campaign; learning new skills on your own with little to no guidance; and being strategic enough with your time on a consistent basis in order to bring in real results.
What do real results mean? Revenue.
These tasks don’t take a creative trendsetter for effective completion, they require a very consistent, routine-driven, and hard-working individual.
So, perhaps, business schools and translation departments training future linguists shouldn’t be asking if the student is creative, unique, and different enough to start a business, but simply ask: “will you work and will you be consistent?”
In fact, some of the most successful entrepreneurial freelancers I have met, in the language services sector and beyond, are really conservative sticklers; they have very neat work and home spaces and are on strict daily routines.
What else? They set schedules with tasks set months in advance and work hard during non-traditional hours and times of the year times when most workers have left for the day or are in holiday mood.
Being up by 6 am to meditate in order to maintain focus and add 50 potential leads to your leads list isn’t fun or glossy.
Doing 30-40 cold calls to medical centers to sell your interpreting services isn’t for the faint of heart.
Going to a conference on your own to sell your services takes real planning and strategic networking.
Entrepreneurs are people set on their goals and committed to their vision, and they are hard-workers, to the bone.
I came to this realization the other day while sitting down and reflecting on my why my first business failed. It hit me just as quickly as I asked myself the question, the keyword; work. I did no real work the first time around. Go figure.
That is not to say that I stood around all day, but that, my efforts were essentially pointless, because I simply wanted to be an entrepreneur, in the buzzword sense of it, rather than doing the real actual work it takes to just build a business.
I wanted to be ‘cool’, ‘different’, and ‘unique’, hey, I was a 20-something multicultural entrepreneur, right? No one cares.
Remember, it doesn’t matter who you think you are, it matters who you decide to be.
Essentially, you need to stop looking for external approval and be willing to give it to yourself, day in and day out. Building a business takes extreme focus and dedication, as in, less talking, more doing, less complaining, and more strategic thinking.
So, before you take the plunge, know this budding entrepreneur: You will do boring things, you will get bored, and that is fine, expected, and natural. It usually means you are doing the actual work of building a business!
Accept the boring tasks as necessary actions to build your bigger vision.
Remember this my fellow entrepreneur, you don’t need to like everything you do, but you do need to understand why you choose and prioritize certain tasks over others, despite that inner pleasure-seeking voice that tells you to put them off and be more ‘exciting’ in your vision.
You don’t have to be exciting, but you do need to be strategic, the former is easy, but you can only do the latter by working and learning from your mistakes. It’s a slow process.
I truly believe that when one accepts this, they leave fantasy world and make real decisions around what they want and so step into their authentic entrepreneurial identity.
It isn’t glossy, your teeth might need a second brushing after your third coffee, but that’s the deal you have been dealt. Now you need to decide if you want to play and how you will.
Tell me, fellow entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial linguists:
Are you willing to face the boring aspects of building your business?
What is the most boring task you find yourself trying to be consistent with?
How do you build creative work strategies around your mundane tasks to ensure you get them done?
Your thoughts and opinions are very welcome!