Is entrepreneurship for you? This is the question that drove the discussion amongst five emerging and experienced entrepreneurs at WLI Washington’s ‘Taking the Plunge: Insight into Action’ event. The panel was moderated by Wendelin White, Director at Goulston & Storrs, and included Elinor Bacon, President of ER Bacon Development; Melina Duggal, President and Owner of Duggal Real Estate Advisors; Ursula Mead, CEO and Founder of InHerSight.com; and Paola Moya, CEO and Principal at Marshall Moya Design.
A common theme surrounding the panelists’ first steps of starting their own businesses is self-evaluation. They recommended asking ‘are you happy at your current company or do you feel that you have to move on?’ Do you have a passion for your career that will help you get through the late nights and potential hardships? When you’re an entrepreneur, work is life. As the business owner, you have to be both a visionary and an operator. Working efficiently in different capacities is the key to balancing both roles. Make time for continuing education and training, so you can innovate continuously and keep your business strategy forward-thinking and relevant.
Regarding partnerships and team members, freelancing has been a successful tool for many of the panelists. This strategy allows business owners to provide a trial run that can help determine best fit, require less resources, and offer flexibility as the work ebbs and flows during the initial setup. Panelists looking for a support team are drawn to independent and entrepreneurial-minded self-starters. And if you’re looking for intrapreneurship opportunities within your existing organization, the panelists’ advice is to take ownership. Do not come to work like an employee. Take responsibility and find opportunities for unique initiatives within the company. Learn about every aspect of the company, so you can discover ways to find new market opportunities and different revenue channels.