After three months working a 9-to-5 at my first job out of college, I knew the cubical lifestyle wasn’t for me. I discovered my entrepreneurial spirit at the ripe age of 9 with a handful of candy vending machines. I put all the money toward my college education, and over the years, I couldn’t shake the feeling that entrepreneurship was the career path I was destined to take.
The main reason? I didn’t want to work every day making someone else rich, and I wanted to live a lifestyle of freedom and flexibility.
Much like Ruzwana Bashir, one of Fortune’s 10 Most Promising Women and a Personal Capital Financial Hero, I too sought independence of the financial variety.
What is an Entrepreneurial Spirit?
An entrepreneurial spirit is a way of approaching your life, work, and finances. It’s an attitude for pursuing change instead of reacting to change. It’s a mindset that drives problem solving and ongoing development.
I don’t believe you have to study business to become an entrepreneur (I majored in Theatre & Communications), but I do believe that it takes a certain mindset and an incredible amount of drive and determination to work for yourself.
Following are three key steps to driving your entrepreneurial spirit.
1. Provide a Solution to an Urgent Problem
I started Her First $100k as a side hustle when I watched female friends get paid less than they were worth and be denied career opportunities. Women hold the majority of student-loan debt in America, and they invest less of their money than men yet live seven years longer on average. On a mindset level, more than half of women feel disadvantaged in their careers when compared to men. So I knew that I had to fight back.
That’s why I created Her First $100k as a money and career platform for millennial and Gen-Z women. I identified a need through my own experiences with sexism, talking with peers, and reading up on issues of equality.
2. Be Willing to Risk It All
On the topic of entrepreneurial risk/reward, Bashir said it best: “You’re not able to take a large salary upfront, and that is something that has risk associated with it. However, it is pretty amazing to create something from scratch and control your own destiny, so I think it’s worth it.”
I quit my corporate job to run Her First $100K six months before I was planning to. This decision had me feeling scared, anxious, and wondering if I could afford to cover my expenses every month. But simply put, I knew it was time.
By making the leap, I was giving myself more time, more space, more room to breathe. With my 9-to-5 off my plate, the sky was the limit as to what I, and Her First $100K, could accomplish.⠀
And I did it. In my first full month of entrepreneurship, I made $30,000 — five times my 9-to-5 income. With a lot of hard work and a pinch of incredible faith, I took the leap, and it was worth every single risk.
3. Channel Your Entrepreneurial Spirit
To succeed as an entrepreneur, you need these three very important characteristics:
- Persistence. Bashir, in founding Peek.com, told Personal Capital that she needed to “have a strong commitment and work ethic.” She said startups add another layer of stress and even more persistence. When the going gets tough, when the workdays seem too long, when you don’t receive the outcome you had hoped for, you need the persistence to keep fighting. Consistent persistence is what will ultimately determine the success or failure of an entrepreneur.
- Communication. Whether it’s talking to investors, pitching to the media, or managing a team, solid communication is key to being your own boss.
- Drive. Similar to Bashir, I strongly believe that money shouldn’t be the primary motivator. My goals have always been driven by my mission: to fight the patriarchy and get women the financial power they earn. I would recommend digging out your “why” and letting that propel you forward as the forefront of your drive.
As far as I’m concerned, nothing is more challenging and more rewarding than chasing the entrepreneurial lifestyle. I wouldn’t take back the time or tough decisions for anything. The freedom, flexibility, and financial independence has been a far greater outcome. Along the way, Personal Capital’s free tools have been invaluable to helping me keep my finances in check. I can organize all of my financial accounts in one place and make sure I’m on track with my spending and saving, investing, and planning for retirement.
Personal Capital compensates Tori Dunlap (“Author”) for providing the content contained in this blog post. Additionally, in a separate referral arrangement between Author and Personal Capital Corporation (“PCC”), Author is paid $70 and $150 for each person who uses Author’s webpage (www.HerFirst100k.com) to register with Personal Capital and links at least $100,000 in investable assets to Personal Capital’s Free Financial Dashboard. As a result of these arrangements, Author may financially benefit from referring potential clients to Personal Capital and/or be incentivized to present blog content that is favorable to PCC. No fees or other amounts will be charged to investors by Author or Personal Capital as a result of the Referral Arrangement. Investors that are referred to PCC and subsequently subscribe for investment advisory services provided by PCC’s affiliated adviser, Personal Capital Advisors Corporation (“PCAC”) will not pay increased management fees or other similar compensation to Author, PCC or PCAC as a result of this arrangement. Additional information about PCAC is contained in Form ADV Part 2A available here.