The Entrepreneurial SpiritSat 24 November 2012 by Xitij Ritesh Patel
I’m what many would define as a serial entrepreneur. I work very hard on my own ideas and projects. Over the last year, I’ve had varying successes with Desktop Bridge, contract work via Pulsecode, and developing the concepts for taab. In this last year, I’ve made a lot of new contacts, made some great friends, and made in-roads into new areas. While not everything has worked out for me as expected, I’m more confident and psyched about the future than ever before!
Some of you may know that I recently got engaged to my long-time girlfriend of 7 years. I went a bit over-the-top with the proposal (which I may detail at a later date). All of it was funded by securing work helping a company increase their customer funnel top-end by nearly 50 %. I’ll probably detail the project in a future case study, since it’s a good story.
What I love most about being an entrepreneur is the flexibility that you have in determining what projects you try to tackle. Sure, there are some not-so-fun parts to it, but overall, the ability to produce something of value and make your clients happier (i.e. profitable) is something that is difficult to replicate. As an engineer, it’s in my nature to make, produce, and fix things. I’m a producer, rather than a consumer. In fact, my idea of procrastinating is developing a solution to some problem I’m having, rather than watching YouTube or TV (Seriously, do people even watch TV anymore?).
The entrepreneurial spirit is something that is difficult to convey to others. Others view entrepreneurship as risky, scary, and not for the faint of heart. Bless them, because at least they recognize it’s not for everyone. Indeed, while entrepreneurship allows for the potential of flexibility, independence, and financial freedom, it doesn’t come easy. You really need to work at it. For many, they simply cannot afford to forego a steady income.
Be that as it may, I’ve tried to express these sentiments to my lovely fiancée for years now. If you were to ask her, she’d say that I’m scatter-brained, unfocused, and she’d feel better if I were to get a “real job.” We’d fight, argue, and get upset, but to be fair, she is looking for stability. And there is nothing wrong with that. Millions of people in the western world live their lives in such a capacity, and have meaningful and happy lives. Certainly I can resign myself to living such a life if I need to. But I yearn and strive for something more.
So it was with great surprise that her and I engaged in a deep conversation about entrepreneurship, and how she could get involved. For the last week, I’ve been perusing articles by Patrick McKenzie (aka. patio11) on his blog. Turns out I’ve casually read a few of his posts over the last few months, but it was his latest article about How he went from $100/hr programming to $X0,000/wk consulting. that really caught my attention. So when my fiancée came over, we were talking about his advice, along with Ramit Sethi’s material on his I Will Teach You To Be Rich site.
One of her first sentences were, “I would love to be able to earn another $1,000 on the side, but I don’t know how.” Neither did I! I know what my skills and strengths are, but I wasn’t sure what she had that could be marketable. We thought for a while, until she started talking about a project she had worked on at work. She had discussed this particular project at-length with me before, so I was already up-to-speed. After we discussed it, I remembered that I had personally encountered it in my own endeavours as well. As she described it to me, my eyes lit up. Here was a completely niche market that was going to be completely under served. Moreover, the number of potential clients she could obtain was practically immeasurable. And she has the skills and know-how to accomplish the necessary tasks, where few others could. Even if she only had limited success with 1 client, she would still double her salary.
She left after a 4 hour discussion, completely energized and hopeful. She now understood the entrepreneurial spirit.