What is means to be an entrepreneur…

As my kids look at colleges and careers, I was horrified to learn that one of my kids “would never want to be an entrepreneur”.  When I asked why my teenage baby replied. “You work too hard, you are alway working, and it’s way too much stress”.  I almost cried… Is that how you see it?  I’ve rarely missed a game, a practice, or snuggles, so this is about me waking up at 6 before you get up and working after snuggles and bedtime, me working as you sleep in on Saturday mornings….

A few weeks went by and as I snuggled with another baby- this teenager asked… “what is your day really like?  I mean start to finish?”  It took me 45 minutes, he was fascinated… as I explained in the most goofy way possble … that:

Entrepreneurs are Politicians

This morning I had a meeting with someone very important who wanted something that we did not want to give them and how we worked together to compromise…. I’m a politician.

Entrepreneurs are Engineers

After that, someone called with a problem, their website was not generating the leads that it used to, so I figured out how their site was designed, what was wrong and gave them ideas on how they should rebuild it and came up with a blueprint for how things should be changed going forward.

Entrepreneurs are Consultants

That person wasn’t sure, should I invest in fixing this, so we looked at their financials, their models and at the return on investment to make sure it made financial sense to make these changes, we determined they were necessary, and I made the sale (woo-hoo).

Entrepreneurs are Olympic Champions

Sales have a dirty name but being a consultant and showing a client how you can help them win feels like winning the Olympics (okay 1/100th the joy) but it’s seriously exciting, exhilarating and feels like you won a great prize when you help them win!

Entrepreneurs are Psychologist

Running a business means that you are responsible for the health, financial stability, and well-being of every member of your team. Sometimes, there are misunderstandings, hopes to be understood, emotions to understand, so I listen, diagnose emotional issues before they erupt… And I encourage, so maybe I’m also a cheerleader.

Entrepreneurs are Writers

I’m not a great writer, so thank goodness I have editors but I know my clients, I know my region, so I write about it, it’s part of my job and I love it. I write about the region, the islands, the camping, and marketing as these are my passions.

Entrepreneurs are Marketers (well… in my case… that may have been obvious)

I find the truth for each client, what makes their product or service special unique or why we should want it and help them tell that story and get that story out. This is FUN!

Entrepreneurs are Artists

Well, not really, I get to work with amazing artists and because I spent lots of time reading and learning about typography, leading, kerning, white space, the color psychology, how design impacts leads, (conversion rate optimization).   I get to help my designers improve their art and design better.

Entrepreneurs are Students

Like most entrepreneurs, I’m always learning, so on my way to work, I listened to podcasts on how to improve my agency and learn every day.

Entrepreneurs are Talent Agents

We are growing, we are growing like mad in one division so we are already hiring again. We’ve learned from the best that you look at 100 prospects for one perfect hire and we take that one step further and sometimes look at 200 for just one hire, this new person, is your life blood, your health, your future, it’s the most important thing you do, so as I called my top pick today, I was elated as we had dug deep to find an amazing person who will flourish in our world.

Entrepreneurs are Leaders

This means that I sit in meetings and although I think I know the answer I bite my tongue and chant in my head, “be the last to answer”, I let others find the solutions, I admit when I’m wrong and sometimes even when no one else agrees with me after hearing their reasons, I say “I still want to do it my way”. It means that I have to laugh at my obvious shortcomings (which everyone in the company knows) and accept those of others. It means that I’m trying desperately to be a better person and help my team be the best they can be.

So, why do I work so much, because I love it, I love each of my jobs, it’s varied, challenging, there is always more to learn and it’s rewarding.

So, is it too much work? No, it’s too much fun – who else gets to wear so many hats!


Dearest Julia,

Happy Birthday my even sweeter Sweet 17! Normally, I would write about you in your blog at juliamannix.com but you are getting sick of my ramblings and I’m not allowed effusive praise.  I need an outlet and since no one reads this but my mom – this is a safe outlet.  I secretly hope that someday you will come over to this site and read this and truly know how much I admire you and think back to this age and be proud of all you’ve accomplished so far and who you are at this age.  It’s quite amazing to me.

Last week, the guidance counselor at school smiles at me and says that you are doing “very very well, top 5%”.  That means that out of 280 students you are in the top 14.  Wow!  The grades are not weighted at Queensbury and you are taking the most rigorous courses the IB program, that makes it even more meaningful.

That alone would be a great accomplishment, but on top that you juggle having friends sleepovers almost every weekend, spend time nurturing your friendships, your family, hang out with your boyfriend, and participate in a sport every season, dedicate hours to Madrigals, chamber, orchestra, and chorus! You are president of chem club planning activities each month and volunteer for the afterschool programs and on weekends for Double H and volunteer leading the preschool at church.  But it really doesn’t stop there…

You are an emotional rock.  You choose to be positive no matter what happens.  You are the first to see when I’m breaking and tell me, “you are doing a great job mom”, hug me and comfort me.  You are the one I go to when one of your siblings needs advice because they don’t listen to me and they do listen to you.  You are the first one they go to for advice and I’m so grateful as I know your advice is wise.

I hear you chatting with Sean, asking about this person and that, you know all about is social circles, his friends and care about each one as if they were your friends.  You seek out information on his circle and show interest, concern, and love in your conversations and I marvel at how you have this rich world with your brother that I know nothing about.  You have always had that relationship with your sister, but this relationship with your brother has grown quite deep over the past year and I am overwhelmed with gratitude that he has you in his life.

What makes you amazing in my mind is simply your personality and attitude, you take the highs of life in stride, you take the lows and disappointments and shake them off and move forward.  You look at a mountain and take it one step at a time.  You refuse to be scared off by the size of the mountain.  You laugh easily and put others first.  You light up the room.  You are so creative and innovative that you can make the most boring activity fun.  You can look into a person’s face and see what they are feeling instantly and adjust to their mood and empathize with them.  You are not a bossy leader but someone who is followed because you care so deeply for them. I can’t say you are everything I dreamed you would be because you are so much more.

I love you sweetheart, Happy even sweeter 17! xoxo mom


This past summer, I had the awesome opportunity to visit Costa Rica with my mom and eldest daughter Julia and fulfill a dream of learning to surf.  I was both scared and excited but as soon as we got out on the waves, my fears turned to determination and exhaustion.  I had the best guide, he stayed with me the entire time, helping me get on the board and feel the waves.  It was the most exhilarating experience.  It was amazing to see my Julia catch on right away and look back at my mom sitting in the chair with the camera rooting us on.  If I could go back to 19, I think I would have skipped college and just been a surfer girl.  Not really, my life is wonderful, I’m truly blessed but I totally get the draw of just surfing every day.  So much so that I’m going back to visit Dante and Dantes Watersports again for more surfing lessons in Manuel Antonio – Costa Rica!  Can’t wait to hit the waves again!

 

Costa Rica Surfing


So I fell in love with this crazy sport because it makes me feel my age – 25!  OK, not my the age that I am if you calculate the exact year I was born (1966) but my real age.  It’s the me that’s inside that I’m not letting go of.   Not yet… possibly not ever. We’ll see how long I keep her (the 25 year old inside) alive.

So, three hundred spills later, I learned to surf.

Then I wanted to learn to spin, I tried, fell, fell again then on the 50th fall, I hurt my coccyx bone and could not walk well for a few months.   I got better, fell another 100 times and learned… then I decided I want to learn to surf goofy, I surf ‘regular’. This was hard, it’s like a righty using their left hand to write cursive, but another few hundred spills,  I learned that too… not so well.. as you can see I”m pretty floppy here… but I learned.

 

Now I want to learn to do an “Acid Drop”… not quite as cool as this one, but you get the idea:

So, I try, I jump high try to land my feet on the board and PHFLOOUUUF, my arm yanks out of it’s socket and goes in one direction, my knee bends in an inhuman way and feels odd for about 5 minutes, my back scrunches… but I rest a few minutes and try again, this time, I miss the board completely, I try again, again, again, and again. I didn’t know it until now, but I’m hurt,  I have to take some time off my back hurts.  I know that kids 1/3 my age figured it out in under 10 tries, but it will probably take me a few hundred more (at least). Just for laughs I will probably video my many falls until I learn, but I will learn.  I won’t give up.

Sean, Julia and Kristina – when you want something, you have to risk failing, getting hurt… it will hurt, hurt like mad.  As I’m writing this I really can’t walk too well, even sitting hurts but I don’t regret it, because I know that the pain is temporary. In a month or two, I will be back on the board and I will achieve my goal and it will feel good because I’m tenacious.  Not because I was born that way because I CHOOSE to be that way and you can too.  Choose to be tenacious, take calculated risks and don’t be afraid to fail, because it takes 100+ tries to succeed.  So many people don’t try.  Stay in the safe zone but there is so much more out there for you if you jump out of your safety zone.

I don’t think of my attempts as failures, they are simply part of the learning process.  In fact, every time I fall and get up again and try again I believe the falls and “failed” attempts are just the opposite, they are my  HUGE successes.  Although I’m scared, although I don’t want to fall, I keep going because I know that if you fall enough eventually, you will land it, and you will succeed and you will feel great about it.


My youngest wrote an article about what she might like to do when she gets older and she was struggling as she didn’t know… I asked her what she wanted.  She answered to help people.  How?  Who?  We talked on and she decided she wanted to help the poor, before long we were discussing their plight, food, water, sustainable living and she decided on water and she wrote about founding a non-profit to help the poor around the world.

She wrote that she would need to be innovative and tenacious to make this happen and I agree.  I am impressed by their visions of what is important.

Tenacious….

Gives me pause, I try so hard to help them see how important this is.  I was pleased to see it in her essay.  Yes, I want you kids to be tenacious.

See my post on surfing and you’ll understand.


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