Since concentrating on Access Regional and other projects full time, I’ve become accustomed to this dreaded question, and nervously waited for their reaction to my response. When you tell people that you don’t have the security of a contracted job, working for someone else, they go one of two ways. They either light up, and gush about how brave a decision it is, and congratulate you on exploring that opportunity, or they give you a very confused look and question you, their judgement written all over their face. I don’t blame these people for their negative reaction, I think many can’t comprehend why you would try something new for yourself and not rely on someone else’s money and the security which comes with that.
Particularly initially, this reaction was a little disheartening and made me question myself and my objectives. However, there are then those on the polar opposite side of the spectrum. The more networking events I’ve attended and more young professional groups I’ve found out about and joined, the more common this positive reaction has become. Of course this makes sense; these groups are set up to attract likeminded individuals, who all share similar goals and beliefs. I recently attended a two hour networking event which flew by, and left, buoyed by all the productive discussions and enthusiasm shown by fellow networkees.
I’ve also come to use this question I used to dread, positively. The ‘elevator pitch’ is common in the business and investment world. The concept being that if you were in a lift with an influential business personality, how could you sell your idea to them before they get out. So I now use the opportunity given by this question to try and sell my concept and practice my elevator pitch. I’ve also found that it is a great way of carrying out market research. Even if you speak to someone who doesn’t understand your career path, they may still give you some insight into their thoughts through their reaction.
However you respond to this question, I implore any budding entrepreneurs not to get disheartened by people who don’t respond positively and who only offer unconstructive criticism. There are several thousand people around who will be hugely enthusiastic and willing to offer constructive thoughts, and networking organisations and events are a great place to unearth them.
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