I am fortunate enough to have had a front row seat to see the amount of dedication it takes to make an entrepreneur great. This includes staying up all hours of the night, waking up before the sun rises, fighting for what you believe is right no matter the pushback, and the heartbreak that comes and goes from the business cycling.
I always thought that I would never want a career like the one I grew up watching my dad have. As a young girl, I didn’t understand why he was doing what he was doing. It wasn’t until later in my life that I realized how strong his passion was for his businesses and that those grueling aspects were all a part of something much greater. Well, it was only a few years before I started putting the knowledge I had gained to use.
I created my first business venture when I was nine years old and saw an opportunity for a summer day camp. My two “co-founders” and I started by brainstorming fun activities to do, which later formed into an agenda for this three-day camp that was later named Critter’s Camp. After the agenda was set, we started coming up with our budget to put the camp into play. Each of our parents loaned us money, and we had to decide how much to charge in order to pay them back and turn a profit. Critter’s Camp went on for three more summers.
I started my next venture as a freshman in high school. A lot of time had passed since my first entrepreneurial adventure, but the drive I felt inside never went away. My friends and I started a student-run organization called Beading Cancer. These were the same friends with whom I had worked on Critter’s Camp. It was starting to become clear that we all shared the motivation and passion to make a difference, and this was probably one of the reasons we were always able to maintain such a strong relationship with each other. Being able to build those relationships at such a young age has helped shape who I am today. I have a safety net of people I trust, so it allows me to push the envelope and leap off the cliff. My eagerness grew to where I was ready to start my next venture.
Beading Cancer would make unique bracelets and sell them throughout our community with all proceeds going to the American Cancer Society. We had more to overcome this time around because we had to get the organization recognized by the school, and we needed to recruit members in order to grow our organization. However, we remained persistent and overcame these obstacles, which allowed Beading Cancer to accomplish its mission and make a real impact. Even after all our founders graduated from high school, the organization survived and the Beading Cancer legacy lives on.
I started to feel the pull and sense of pride that came from creating my own craft. In a way, it allows you to put yourself into an object and help yourself grow from an outside perspective. When it succeeds, you succeed.
To me, what makes someone great at what they do is the passion and fire they feel when doing it. I have seen what it takes to build something from the ground up. It takes hustle and determination. This has stuck with me in everything I have done. I have seen the fallouts as well as the payoffs of being an entrepreneur. The hours are excruciating and everything you do is for the business. There is a great deal of sacrifice and reward that comes with being an entrepreneur. Being able to see a company that you built from the ground up with your blood, sweat, and tears become successful is extremely satisfying and even addicting.
The Junto team members have such passion for making a truly remarkable experience for the companies that go through the program. Helping leaders become better at what they do is not something that can be done overnight. It takes hard work and countless hours to build this leadership program into something bigger. In the month I have been here, I have gained a wealth of knowledge from observing the way the program works. There are multiple facets put into play that benefit the many different entrepreneurs that come through our doors. I am ready to take on this challenge and once again make a difference.