I attended an event last night through Women Who Code San Diego. It was the first event I attended where they touched on entrepreneurialism which was cool.
In previous events I always felt like the odd-woman-out because everyone I would meet worked at some cool tech company or was finishing their undergrad or graduate degree in some awesome computer science program at some awesome local university.
I have neither. No fancy tech job and no fancy CS degree. (although I did attend a programming bootcamp).
Either way, I always feel welcome at the events and continue to make wonderful connections within the tech community in San Diego.
So back to last night- the speaker was an entrepreneur who had launched her own co-working hub for women which was cool. I had considered her co-working space for myself but have my heart set on Moniker Commons for many reasons.
When we reached the Q & A part, a woman asked, “How can I find out if I would be a good entrepreneur?”
The speaker gave a number of really good tips on what she knows and then suggested the girl look up articles where you can take a quiz to help you determine if you would be a good entrepreneur. This is where I felt inspired to speak up, and finally, I had something to contribute.
My voice was shaky, my throat dry. I am not used to speaking up and once the mic was passed to me after I reluctantly raised my hand, I felt a little nauseated. (Anxiety much?).
The advice i shared was this- that whatever information you find that may tell you if you will be a good entrepreneur or not should be taken with a grain of salt. You will never know if you are good at something unless you try. If you feel called to start your own thing- by all means! Set up a plan of action, gain support from your community and dip your toe in the water.
I went on to share that had I listened to everything I read about being an entrepreneur, I would never have made it this far, to be fair- I probably would have never started at all.
Information I had read would say:
If you are risk-averse, don’t be an entrepreneur
If you like routine, don’t be an entrepreneur because there will be too much fluctuations
and more limiting advice
Trust me, I’m no cheerleader and tend to waiver on the skeptical side when it comes to things so I’m certainly not advocating for the “jump and the net will catch you” mentality. In fact, that mentality makes me want to barf in my mouth. Gross i know.
But after being a freelancer for a bit, I developed my own answers to the above advice that may offer some light on if you would be a good entrepreneur….
If you’re risk averse, you may be able to set up processes for yourself and financial safety net cushions if you are organized and disciplined enough.
If you like routine, you can TOTALLY set up a routine for yourself as a freelancer or entrepreneur. Just decide on a schedule that works for you and stick to it. Be honest with your clients about your schedule and don’t waiver unless absolutely necessary
If you don’t want to wait for clients to pay up- make a contract that allows you to collect a 50% deposit at the start of a project and then the other 50% at the end of a project
If you have clients wanting to renegotiate your rate because you finished early, stop charging by the hour. Why should you earn less because you are getting more efficient at your work? I rarely charge by the hour if at all.
So how did the event end? Well, I had three ladies come up to me at the end asking questions about my path and some things I swear by as a freelancer. I don’t know if any of the information I shared will help guide them but at least they know they have a friend and contact to reach out if they decide to pursue a freelance career as a women in tech. And I suppose, yeah- I learned to be fearless and speak up.
Guess I should do that more eh?