Many of us work in small and medium-sized enterprises. Companies run by dedicated entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs passionate about their work, helping their customers, developing their business.
I’ve spent my entire professional life working in small businesses (if you ignore any summer jobs). Over the years, I’ve always been interested in this entrepreneurship thing, and those of you who also work in small businesses will know what I mean. It’s easy for business and entrepreneurship to become breakfast, lunch and dinner.
After all, I’m a podcast nerd. Various podcasts about entrepreneurship are a recurring feature. I recently listened to a podcast where Freelance Finance founder, Stephen Schad, was interviewed. Stephen talked about his first business, and it turned out we shared an experience. Stephen had come to the same conclusions that I had. He told me that the first company he founded was not a business. It was a music group. That’s how he learned marketing, sales and planning. These were important lessons he took with him into the corporate world.
I share that experience, and I was glad to hear about his experiences. The first venture I embarked on was to start a music group. It was about hunting for the right talent, rehearsing and booking gigs. And to play at those gigs, there was more practising, practising, practising. It was about finding venues to rehearse; it was about raising money to be able to buy equipment. It was about selling out to get more gigs or gigs. And once you sold out those gigs, you had to market them.
When I was 13-19 years old, I put a lot of energy into building up this “business”. You could see it as my first start-up company, where I slowly built a brand with limited resources but with the right why. Back-drops on stage were sheets we sprayed with hair dye. Posters were copied at some parent’s job and put up at night—lots of fun, valuable experiences.
But then, in the break between youth and adulthood, we stopped playing together. There was never a definite and explicit breakup, it was probably just the fact that I was the one who most of all pushed it all forward, and I started focusing on other things. But what I take away from this is several important lessons.
- Confidence – to feel, as a young and perhaps naive person, that you can go far in the skills you develop by practising, practising, practising.
- Goals – setting goals and surpassing them is not just in sport, although there are many similarities.
- Why -think the concept of finding your Why came into my life a few years ago. But of course, we reached far because we had solid drives and a strong why.
- Interest -if you like something you do, it’s straightforward to put a lot of time into it, even if it’s late nights, long days, or just a long drive in a rented, rusty van with no heat and shiny summer tires in the middle of winter. You learn to overcome obstacles if you do something that interests you.
- Constant development – the best way to go far is by pushing the boundaries.
There are many ways to develop, and for me, playing music was something that gave me more on many levels. The path to entrepreneurship doesn’t always have to start in the most obvious way.