When life gives you lemons, make lemonade is what they say. Funny thing is, when life is kicking your ass the last thing you want to do is sit back for a cool refreshing drink – but maybe that’s not such a bad idea.
Starting a business? Stepping into your entrepreneurship mood? All of these are great in theory, but what about the stuff that everyone doesn’t see? You know, all the foolishness before the success. You remember, when the dream was pretty and you didn’t see any chance of it not working out the way you envisioned. Yea, those were the good ol’ days – right before reality stepped in the mix and really showed me what business was all about.
Let me set the scene for you. I was 22 and had just graduated from Norfolk State University and like every other recent graduate I was looking for a job. And not just any job – I’m talking about the job I was “promised” to land with my brand-new shinny degree. Months and months went by and I ended up working at a law firm making $12 an hour (some return on my money huh?). Listening to my peers, I learned that 1 let alone 2 bachelor’s degrees was simply not enough in today’s world – so I did what everyone else did…went back to school to get my masters. 5 long stressful years later, I finished with 2 master’s degrees (I am somewhat of an overachiever). Now armed with 10 years of collegiate education and 4 degrees, I just knew that that high paying corporate job was around the corner.
Have you ever heard the words “over qualified”? Well I have – at least 243 times based on the number of jobs I applied to on Indeed.com. So here I am – 4 degrees and doing a serious doggy-paddle in student loan debt chasing society’s idea of the perfect job. Go figure! Crying to mom, like most adults tend to do, she asked me what I wanted to do with my life. I told her I had a dream of starting my own marketing and branding company. And like all mothers, she said “that’s great” and “go do that”. Umm, exactly how was I supposed to make this happen?
So, I looked into starting my own business and it literally scared the shit out of me. I just wanted to do marketing stuff – I was not ready to be this responsible. Hell, I was just beginning to adjust to life after moving out of my parents’ house. And this is when I realized I had sour lemons.
Sallie Mae is calling my phone twice a week, fighting the urge to use my credit card, making next to nothing in my full-time job and I had the nerve to want to start a business – with absolutely no startup money! I sat depressed for a good 2 weeks and decided it was time for me to look for a new job because let’s be honest, I was no position to start a business. Resume` was set and I was ready to start interviewing for “the job”. But I knew deep down that this wasn’t what I truly wanted to do.
I saw a post about a $50 consultation special that a friend of mine was running for her business and decided to take the first step. The meeting was great, and I was truly inspired until the notion of money came back into the picture – I didn’t have any. But this time was different. I didn’t let that stop me. I saved my pennies and with a helpful payment arrangement, I had a new business plan and some free motivation.
It became clear that some lemons are sour because they require you to do a little more work to make something good out of them. Your entrepreneurship journey will not be like mine or like anyone else in your industry – and it’s not supposed to. Do what you can to make the best out of every situation. And if you don’t know what that is, just do something towards making your dreams come true. I promise that many lemons will be sour, but they make some damn good lemonade!