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“Let Me Take You On This Rollercoaster Ride:” Managing the Ebbs and Flow of Entrepreneurship

“Let Me Take You On This Rollercoaster Ride:” Managing the Ebbs and Flow of Entrepreneurship

You may not have noticed, but I’m a little ratchet, so a lot of my blogs have a hip hop influence. When originally planning a blog for my business, I sat down with my Creative Director, Ifie Natasha Brandon, and basically said, “If we must blog… Can we do it for the culture?” Probably not those exact words, but she went with it and it gives me secret joy to look at the titles and think “yasssss.” (That’s your nudge to read our blogs.)

In the past week, I’ve had one too many conversations with entrepreneurs who are feeling the downside of entrepreneurship, also known as “the ebbs.” So many, that I need to address this phenom in long form.

In the past week, I’ve had one too many conversations with entrepreneurs who are feeling the downside of entrepreneurship, also known as “the ebbs.” So many, that I need to address this phenom in long form.

Entrepreneurship is equal parts liberating and exhausting. It is also both inspiring and depressing. Why? Well, if you are an entrepreneur then you know why. But for those contemplating the leap, I will make it plain. Entrepreneurship entails a level of pressure and discomfort that most of us spend our entire lifetimes trying to avoid. Additionally, even when we experience discomfort on a traditional pathway, we more often times than not put up with it because it’s expected. Most people hate their jobs, are underpaid and overworked, but ain’t no body trying to get rid of that stable pay check… okay?

Entrepreneurship requires a consistent breaking and shifting of self to achieve the impossible. Consistently.

Whether you have the dopest team, the best foundation, the most supporters for the launch, a huge email list, or billions in venture capital- almost everything you do is about performance. And you know when you feel it most? When things start going wrong. Which is typically every day, so there’s that. Again, it’s the ebbs.

But the flow is glorious.

The flow is when clients are pouring in, people are singing your praises, you have more money than you can count and you are 100% certain you chose the right life path. People trust you. They aren’t being passive aggressive in the office, because well, there is no office. The flow is success in whatever way you define it. It’s exactly why people sign up for entrepreneurship in the first place.

But you know what I’ve learned. Entrepreneurship requires the same amount of effort and energy in the ebbs and the flows. It actually may require more energy in the flow to ensure the ebbs actually don’t break you. But my entire point is that this is apart of the journey.

In talking to entrepreneurs who haven’t seen “success” in the ways that they’ve wanted to, the first thing I notice is there are a slew of unrealistic expectations running rampant in their minds. One of the biggest is that there’s a place that they’ll get to that won’t feel like “this.” And I disagree. At each stage of success we’ve seen, we’ve experienced panic, stress, uncertainty, panic (again), and it’s pretty much expected at this point.

So now my expectation is not that I will get to place where I won’t experience discomfort, but that I should always be prepared for it. I ask myself, “How can I strengthen my infrastructure?,” “How can I build trust?,” or “How can I continue to get my brand out there?” On top of therapy, building a good supportive network, and getting comfortable with cutting things away that don’t work. This is how I manage the rollercoaster that is entrepreneurship.

Have some tips that would help someone else? Drop it in the comments.

Takia Lamb founded TK Consulting & Design in 2016 and currently resides in southwest Atlanta, GA with her husband and four boys. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Spelman College and her Masters in Social Work from GA State University. She has spent most of her professional career in nonprofit management.

Her passions include strategy, storytelling, and photography. Outside of her work, she is all about community and is dedicated to supporting nonprofits and social service organizations.

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