In 2004, I officially set up an LLC (Limited Liability Corporation). I was a business owner…well, technically. In reality, I was a business owner on paper who still held a full-time job. Why did I set up an LLC if I wasn’t going to do anything with it? I set it up with the intention to play in the consulting arena, and I did use it periodically for consulting and coaching jobs here and there. I had this longing on the inside to be my own boss and to be a business owner. But, fear and being a single mother of one got the best of me. So, I continued to work full time for other organizations. While working, I held onto the dream of being a business owner and carried my entrepreneurial bent with me into every role I held.
Throughout the years, I developed and cultivated competencies I needed to be an entrepreneur. Competencies such as: independence, creativity, innovation, strategic thinking, great communicator, team player and leader. While I was developing professionally, I quickly came to the realization those same competencies for entrepreneurs were also some of competencies to being a great leader. AND… you can still be an entrepreneur inside of an organization. The work I put into my professional development paid off. I achieved success in my work. I produced great products and in 2008, I was recruited to my first leadership role as a Diversity Manager in a healthcare system in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. SCORE!
My dream of being a business owner became slowly buried. I was focused on my career. I moved from Cincinnati, Ohio to Lancaster, Pennsylvania to help build the organization’s Diversity Initiative. Six months into holding the position, I was promoted to Director and had become the the owner of the Initiative. It was in Lancaster that I honed my skills in being a strategic and innovative leader. In reflecting back on that experience, this is where my entrepreneurial bent shined. I would be remiss if I did not mention that I had a great leader, who played a vital role in my development as a leader. One particular conversation we had stood out to me and I still hold it close all these years later. She asked me if I ever thought about being a CEO or a consultant one day. I lightly dismissed the notion and responded, “I don’t have what it takes”. She quickly dismissed my lack of confidence and told me “You do have what it takes and you will see in time”. Those words were planted in my heart and my dreams and now they are yielding fruit. In Lancaster, I grew as a person and as a leader. I went on to work for two large healthcare systems in Delaware and Ohio in leadership roles in the areas of Diversity, Communications, Talent Development. SCORE again and again.
Although I achieved success working as a leader in the healthcare industry, I was longing for something more. It was in my last role; the longing became a loud noise in my spirit. I was working as the Director of Talent Development and Coaching. It was a new role in the organization. It was also my third role in the same organization. I joined the organization during a time of major transition as it was finding its footing in the new healthcare world that we are facing today. As the organization was transitioning, so was I. I was not happy, I was not fulfilled, I faced a few health scares. I was hitting a major wall both personally and professionally.
In January 2016, I decided enough was enough and was intentional about getting healthy and clarity about my life. I started a weight loss journey, which led to me being healthy. As I started to heal physically and mentally; thoughts of entrepreneurship started to rebirth in me. I started to explore all things entrepreneurship. The church I attend has a strong entrepreneurship ministry and presence in the Cincinnati area. I attended their monthly meetings. I began to read books on branding. I explored business card designs and even changed the name of the LLC I started in 2004 from Provision Training & Consulting to Provision Consulting. This fueled my soul and got me through my days at work. I started to feel good again. And finally, the confidence I needed in 2004 to be an entrepreneur was starting to manifest itself in my life 12 years later. I was confident as a leader inside the safety of the four walls of an organization. I had no problem with uncertainty, change, or thinking outside of the box. I actually did well with those things. Then I started to think, “If I can do it for them, why can’t I do it for me”. One day I was meeting with my boss. He was talking, but I was not present. All I could hear was the voice on the inside saying, “I am done”. This time, I responded. In November 2016, I quit my job. MAJOR SCORE!
Before ending this first part of this post, I want to share with you my first key learning of entrepreneurship. The first key learning is that you must have confidence. Confidence in yourself, your dream and your “why”. Confidence will anchor you as whether the highs and lows of entrepreneurship. Trust me when I say you will experience both.
In Part 2 of this journey I will share with you additional key learnings that I have gained thus far in my journey and how my experience as leader and coach equipped me in riding the waves of entrepreneurship.
Are you thinking about entering the world of entrepreneurship? Maybe you are already an entrepreneur. What is your why? Why do you want to be an entrepreneur? I want to hear from you. If you don’t know just yet, take the time to reflect and journal. It’s on the inside of you.
Are you in need of coach to assist you? I am here to help, please feel free to contact me