Finding success as an entrepreneur is more about being open to what can happen than sticking to a set plan.
“I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to an entrepreneur who really knew everything that was going to happen,” Fox School of Business Assistant Professor Marilyn Anthony says. “It is a path of discovery; so don’t be held back because you don’t know what’s going to happen next.”
Anthony shared her views on entrepreneurship during a recent appearance on RadioVision Network’s Career View Mirror with host Joyel Crawford, motivational speaker and certified career strategist, and fellow guest Atisha Patel, Health/Tech entrepreneur and co-founder of NotiCare and Teenpreneur, Inc.
“You really have to be on the journey, open to the journey and prepared to deal with whatever comes your way,” Anthony says.
A good first step for an aspiring entrepreneur is to look at the landscape and consider how to make a difference.
“Start with a better understand of what you’re competing against,” Anthony says. “Who else is already doing something like it? If there’s nobody doing something like it, why aren’t they? If other people are doing it, how are you going to do it differently and better?”
The driving force for most social entrepreneurs is their desire to solve a problem they believe can have a better outcome.
“Empathy is often the motivation for entrepreneurs,” Anthony says. “It’s not their problem, it’s somebody else’s problem. But they get it and they feel like ‘I can come up with a solution working with the people who are struggling.’”
Recognizing ways to make a connection — or “bridges” — between the problem and the solution is a key strength of being an entrepreneur, Crawford points out.
“It’s almost like an emotional intelligence piece, it’s self-awareness,” she says.
But knowing that you are headed in the right direction can be challenging. Patel tried several things before finding success in her current roles.
“It’s networking, having connections and leveraging them,” she says.
Crawford believes it’s very important to keep and sustain the relationships you have made. “It’s not ‘hit it and quit it,’” she says.
But establishing yourself as an entrepreneur can take time and rarely happens quickly.
“I waited to figure out my passion,” Patel says, adding that if anyone asked her when she was younger what she wanted to be, she answered “a boss.”
“I don’t know if that’s exactly what I wanted, but you know what, I enjoy it.”
To see the full interview, click here.
This story was originally published in Fox Focus, the Fox School’s alumni magazine.