National Entrepreneurship Month: Toward the New American Dream
Three years ago, President Barack Obama proclaimed November as National Entrepreneurship Month. In his proclamation, he recognized that entrepreneurs are the backbone of the American economy. Entrepreneurs represent the New American Dream that has become more than materially having plenty. Americans now dream of the freedom to start and grow their own enterprise. According to the Small Business Administration, entrepreneurs foster growth in job creation, workforce development, business tax revenue for local, state and federal government as well as economic development in communities. However, the New American Dream is often crushed by the complex barriers business development. This is especially evident in disadvantaged populations. As other self-made entrepreneurs around the nation celebrate their achievements this month, I choose to celebrate by helping others to navigate around the Top 3 Barriers of Entrepreneurship toward the new American Dream.
Miriam-Webster defines an entrepreneur as “a person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money.” I would go further to suggest that you should be the first person willing to take the risk to invest in yourself. If you can’t convince yourself to invest in your business, how can you expect to convince anyone else? Start by committing a piece of your monthly income to your “Legacy Fund.” Even if it’s only $25 per paycheck – commit. Once you have the ambition to invest in yourself, you need to prepare to pitch your idea to your friends and family for feedback and financial support. Setting up a GoFundMe account is simple. Use it to get support from your friends and family, $1 at a time. Then, seek crowdfunding, angel investors, venture capital funds, venture philanthropists, commercial bankers and lenders. There are plenty of resources to get access to the money you need to start and grow your business. You just need to risk investing the time, money and effort to fervently pursue those resources. As Steve Harvey says in his video on entrepreneurship, you must take the risk and just leap.
I once believed that I didn’t have time to start a business because I trusted in the security of having a job with a steady paycheck. The paradox of entrepreneurship is that there is more security in making a living by your own bootstraps than working for a company that sees you as an expendable line item in their labor budget. They can cut you out as quickly and insensitively as they cut premium toilet paper in the restrooms out the budget. Besides, you cannot build a legacy of generational wealth by working for hourly wages because few jobs offer living wages. In fact, some jobs today resemble yesterday’s forms of slavery. The master is no longer a man with a whip. Rather, the master is now green paper, and the whip is a biweekly paycheck. You get your lashings during the weeks in between that you suffer from wondering how your family is going to make it until the next paycheck. I challenge you to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit this month by taking a few dollars out of each paycheck to save for your business. Save for your freedom from the lies of “job security.”
Knowledge & Skills
Lastly, there is an assumption that you must be highly educated, experienced or skilled to be a successful entrepreneur. While it is important to pursue personal and professional development opportunities, there are no job requirements to be an entrepreneur. You don’t have to interview for this position in life. Contrarily, you must be willing to learn and passionate about the vision for your business idea. There are business experts all over the nation who want to help you achieve your business goals, to include SCORE mentors and Small Business Development Centers across the nation. These experts already have the skills and expertise and are focused on helping to connect entrepreneurs to the training and resources they need to grow. Also, you can hire people, who may be smarter and more skilled than you are, to follow your vision and run the business. You don’t need an ivy-league education to be a successful entrepreneur. All it takes is having the right attitude and determination to rise up beyond your circumstances and do whatever it takes to live the New American Dream.
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