When Nicki Minaj first released her hit single - Pills N' Potions - it felt as if someone had read my deepest thoughts and put it to music. The lyrics were real - at least real to me. They pulled on my heartstrings, giving voice to lessons I had learned or that I was currently learning. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that she was singing about her journey to fame as a music star but, to me, her words were a symphony of entrepreneurs' thoughts all over the world.
You see, a few months ago, I was in a funk. It was like I had just given birth to a newborn baby, the excitement had worn off and reality had hit me right in the face.
Previously, I was satisfied with the normal life. I finished high school, went to college, graduated and got a job. I received paychecks, had a strict budget, saved a little bit of money every month, went shopping and hung out with friends. Not bad, right? It was a stable life. However, I'll be honest with you, the minute I purposed in my heart to pursue my dream, everything changed.
First and foremost, three things became a constant in my life: tired, busy and strapped for money. It seemed as if I pulled every single resource I had to build my vision. Late nights were normal, coffee was a must and multitasking was a necessity. I remember people telling me to slow down, to come "chill" and to relax. Yet to me that all equated to being lazy. I mean I had stuff to do! It couldn't wait. Didn't they understand I had a dream - something that I believed was my destiny, my passion, and I didn't take it lightly?
Eventually, those tidbits of advice dissipated, simply because I began to get some good exposure. I thought 'Great! They see I'm serious about this. They understand my dream.' However, I was sadly mistaken.
I began to experience what I'll label "the loneliness of building an empire." It was not a new concept to me. I had heard about it. In fact, a former high school teacher had mentioned it me at the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey. But, the truth is, I didn't expect it to happen to me.
I found myself in the same position of a newborn mom. Not only did I have to take care of something very precious to me but also I felt like I had to put myself on the backburner and divvy up what little time I had left for others. I truly thought that was the way to go so I skillfully practiced using my full 24 hours to the max. After a few months in, I realized that I had no ROI - which simply means my sales did not increase. I was spending money, giving discounts and the whole works but besides more likes on social media, my bottom line showed no changes. Something had to give so I began to focus on the things I could analyze and monitor. What I discovered almost put me in a state of depression. I was working so hard - a part time job, grad school, and running a business - yet I faced resistance and a lack of support from my circle of influence. There was always something, some excuse as to why they couldn't. I ignored it initially but I soon became frustrated and angry. Soon, those emotions turned into indifference, which then became a lack of motivation and a strong urge to give up.
I know it's not the popular thing to do - to admit to such an atrocity but it is true. There was a legitimate love/hate relationship going on plus things seemed to be so stinking hard. I thought I was the only who felt that way but several talks with my business colleagues proved me wrong.
So many business owners feel as if pursuing their passion has cost them many things, particularly friendships. They feel as if they are constantly required to prove their worth, and are on trial for why they choose to stay home to work, rather than spend all night socializing. They get labeled with the stigma of busy instead of productive, and aloof instead of focused. It's quite sad, really but I'm not going to whine about it. I want you, the entrepreneur reading this, to be encouraged.
I know you're tired of all this, and I know you roll your eyes every time someone who is not an entrepreneur tells you not to give up but I just want you to know something - YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Listen, I understand. I'm right in the trenches with you. I know you get exhausted and overwhelmed and feel like you have no one to turn to. I know you sometimes feel like success is forever away. Trust me, I have been there but the key is, I didn't stay there. Besides accepting the fact that building the life I want depended on me, I learned something else of critical importance - I needed to dump the fans and create an inner circle of supporters - people who desired to see me succeed.
Like Nicki said in her song "people will love you and support you when it's beneficial" and they might even wish bad on you. Nevertheless, let the space between where you are now and where you want to be inspire you. And as you move forward and do great things, let your haters know that you have more things coming for them to be mad about and they just need to be patient.