In the not-too-distant past, I was an ambitious 22-year old who had driven 1,400 miles from my home in Mission, Texas to attend graduate school in Louisville, Kentucky.
With less than $100 to my name, I needed a job, and quickly. The country was in the thick of the Great Recession at the time, and my options were limited. I considered taking a job as a package handler at Louisville’s largest employer, UPS. But before pressing the “submit” button on the online application, it hit me: I didn’t just want a job to pay the bills; I wanted to build a career in the midst of going to grad school. I wanted to create a life of invigoration and contribution with my work.
Having just earned a music degree, I realized I would get more personal fulfillment (and eat more than Ramen noodles) by being a private music instructor. I developed a rough business plan and set out on my entrepreneurial journey. What started as a few online advertisements turned into a business with several hundred clients and nearly 7,500 lessons over the course of seven years. I eventually branched out and created two more businesses, and in a twist of irony, I eventually put grad school on hold to focus on my business pursuits, which are still growing faster than I can keep up with them, it seems. The relationships I’ve built along the way have been priceless.
The Case for Pursuing Your Entrepreneurial Dreams
I can fill up a notebook with people I’ve met who’ve gotten solid degrees but have coasted through their twenties afraid to try new things and unsure of their purpose.
If you’re like me, you were fed the expectation that you’d finish college and immediately get lined up with a fulfilling job that utilized your knowledge.
But unless you majored in a very specific field, this is rarely ever the case. We take the safe route, bounce from one unfulfilling job to another, and stay weighed down by indecision. We develop experience, but we don’t often acquire new skills. Many of our hidden gifts and abilities go untapped in favor of doing what seems practical. We often exchange opportunity for a sense of security, and we end up unfulfilled.
For those with an inner entrepreneurial drive, we end up hardly taking the risk of trying to bring our crazy business dreams to life—and building a business could be exactly what God designed you to do.
If there were ever a time for entrepreneurship to flourish, it’s now.
It’s easier than ever before to start a business.
All you need to be in business is an idea, a computer, an Internet connection, a phone and perhaps an Amazon account. Many businesses have successfully launched via online crowd-funding campaigns.
The Internet is the ultimate equalizer, and if you’re willing to put in the work and be smart, you can find ways to connect with clients and customers. There are countless free resources online to enable you to build your business quickly and soundly, and earn a little extra cash.
It’s easier to quickly learn new skills and develop specialized knowledge than it ever has been.
Another benefit of the Internet is its strong educational potential. If you know where to go and how to go about it, you can learn almost anything about anything, usually for free. There are online courses easily accessible to the public that can equip you with knowledge and skills to develop products and services as an entrepreneur. Additionally, there are loads of great resources for helping you get your business off to a healthy start.
Developing new skills might be easier than you think.
Specialized skills are in high demand.
If you want to increase not only your financial security but your personal freedom, you have to find ways to add a specialized base of knowledge and skills (what economics calls “market value”) to yourself. Our evolving marketplace trades dollars for the value you offer to it, and the need for specialized skills is increasing rapidly. Developing more of these skills or services may help you devote more time and resources to building God’s Kingdom, pouring into your family, into others, and making the most of your time on earth.
The Apostle Paul set a fine example of using his skills in the context of his earthly ministry. In Acts 18 we learn he made tents, which was no menial task. He had likely studied and practiced intensely as an apprentice to develop the skills required to make tents, and the tools he used were portable enough to allow him to conduct business along his missionary travels.
Because Paul had a specialized trade that earned respectable compensation, he had relative freedom to give his life to the precious work of Gospel ministry.
There’s nothing wrong with working for someone else, but if God has given you an entrepreneurial dream, now’s the time to start working toward it. Learn. Experience. Try things. Fail at them. Network. Get to know people who are doing the things you’d like to do. Don’t be afraid.
Over the years, I’ve realized something: you can always make more money, but you can never make more time. It’s your most precious resource. And few things seem more painful to me than the thought of lying on one’s deathbed, regretting wasted time. I was determined to spend my twenties trying anything and everything I could, at least to say I did, and to see what contributions I could make to the world.
Today, I have the awesome privilege of being a life and leadership coach. I work with people from all walks of life, and I help them develop better perspectives, maximize their personal potential, set huge goals for themselves and take the steps to achieve them. I love what I do! I’ve been able to help hundreds of clients over the years, and connect with hundreds of thousands more through online writing, and none of these things would have happened if I didn’t have the time or freedom that entrepreneurship has afforded our family.
Not everyone is built with the entrepreneurial drive or skill set. But many people are, and don’t take advantage. Perhaps you’re one of them. If you feel a spark toward starting a business, go for it. It’s worth a shot.
Jared Lafitte is a life and leadership coach who serves individuals, businesses and ministries. Check out his website at lafittecoaching.com and follow him on Twitter @jaredlafitte