The Life of an Entrepreneur
(Life-Changing) 2021

Light bulb with Entrepreneur spelled in filament

Let’s cover the good, the bad, and the ugly experiences I’ve been going through as an entrepreneur and small business owner.

Hopefully, shedding some light on this will help others not feel alone on this journey.

So, sip on your nice cup of tea while I spill the knowledge.

What is an Entrepreneur?

To be completely honest with you, I never heard of this term until I was in my early 20’s. When I heard the word, “entrepreneur,” I didn’t know what to think nor did I understand why it was so important to some people.

When I asked around, I couldn’t get a straight answer from anyone. Some people said that an entrepreneur was someone who took risks. Other people said that it was someone who started and operated a business. I even hear others say that an entrepreneur was someone willing to take on financial risks in order to do something.

It’s all those things and so much more.

I can tell you this from experience. As a business owner, I have definitely taken a lot of risks. I didn’t know if what I was doing would pan out positively or negatively. But the important part is that I continued on. I kept moving. If I failed at something, I tried it again and again until I figured it out.

No one in my family owns a business and I don’t have any close friends that are business owners who could guide me. I had to create my own path, stumble a bunch, and learn the way. That is why my ideal definition of an entrepreneur is someone who is not willing to quit. It’s not about the risks, it’s about moving forward regardless of how many times you fail.

Why did I start a business?

Growing up, I saw so many people around me working hard, sometimes working 2 to 3 jobs, and still struggling to make ends meet. As I got older, I started to be in different environments where people were more stable in life. I realized these people didn’t have a job, but they owned a business.

I wanted to break the cycle of being poor. Not just financially poor, but emotionally, physically, and mentally poor. But I was a single mother, struggling to make ends meet. I didn’t want to live like so many I knew in my childhood. The only way free was to educate myself on business and I did what I could to take classes on business management at a university.

I learned that I had to enrich myself and my child to break the invisible chains that weighed us down. Women have a tougher road ahead of them. They are often less prepared financially, receive less pay, and often face a “motherhood penalty” that makes things tougher. The only way out was to create a way out by building my own business.  

Coffee Cup displaying entrepreneur related words

Behind the scenes of operating a business?

There is a big reason why everyone doesn’t own a business, especially a small business. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, reported by Fundera “20% of small businesses fail in their first year, 30% of small business fail in their second year, and 50% of small businesses fail after five years in business. Finally, 70% of small business owners fail in their 10th year in business.”

As a small business owner with limited funds, you truly wear all the hats in the business. For Outwoken Tea, I’m the business owner, the shipping and receiving department, customer service, digital marketer, brand ambassador, salesperson, and controller. On top of that, I’m still a mother, a wife, and a woman.

I would be lying if I told you that juggling all of this is easy. It’s not.

I’m not saying these things to discourage anyone from starting their own business. I’m saying this because the word, “entrepreneur,” receives a glorified definition that is only defined by those who are most successful. We hear about Elan Musk or Jeff Bezos and how they make billions of dollars creating businesses. But we never hear about Aureal Ojeda or other people pursuing their dreams.

For anyone on this journey or thinking to start, I will always say, “Do it.”

You will learn so much and evolve as a person. I have done things that I never thought I would ever be able to do. Opening my business has shown me how much I’m capable of doing.

How to overcome the ugly?

Remember the failures I wrote about before? Business situations can get ugly regardless of how hard you try. I have hired and fired people. I’ve had to hire people to do jobs that the last person didn’t do. I’ve had to do things over because they weren’t done the right way. Each failure was a lesson learned and made my business that much stronger. These are not failures, but lessons.

There aren’t any secrets to overcoming the ugly.

This is why I strongly believe that your business’ reason or mission has to be bigger than yourself. Making money isn’t a mission. Garnering fame isn’t a mission. Both will lead to failure.

A mission that serves a greater purpose, that helps others, or helps achieve something that you feel strongly about, will help you overcome obstacles. With a great mission you will keep fighting and have a desire to keep going.

Small business burnout is real, and I can testify to that. The only reason why I can overcome the ugly and keep going is because I desire to make a difference for the present and the future. My mission drives me.

What was the good?

If you didn’t know, my business partner is my son! He’s so amazing, supportive and is the best barista in town. I’m so thankful to have the ability and resources to start a business and have my son play an important role in it. I have found great people on the way that have been so supportive of me and are strong in my weak areas. I’ve learned so much about myself and improved throughout this journey. Honestly the best part is meeting people.

I have been fortunate enough to meet other great successful entrepreneurs on the way. I probably wouldn’t have had the same opportunity if I wasn’t on this journey. Other people have different perspectives that have given light where things were dark for me. When I felt like something wasn’t possible, I had others showing me it was possible.

Having people in your life that have the same mission as you or are already at where you are trying to be is a huge game-changer. Not only is this beneficial, but it’s living proof that you can truly do whatever you put your mind to. It may not be easy but having a team or other supportive people is the best thing you can have as an entrepreneur. Being an entrepreneur is a lonely road so it’s a bonus to have those individuals in your corner.

Aureal with her son

Is it worth it?

The short answer is YES!

All the headaches, the long nights staying up, the frustration, and the roller coaster of emotions are all worth it. I still have long nights and will continue to have them. You probably wonder why I would want to go through all of this. Well, I enjoy and appreciate the learning process. I also enjoy teaching my son how to operate a business, so he has a head start on entrepreneurship. Plus, I enjoy breaking boundaries within myself that I didn’t even know existed. I’m thankful and truly appreciate everyone on the way that has believed or ever supported me. Thank You!!

Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to read my blog. I truly hope this was insightful.

Until next time stay happy, laugh, and love genuinely.

stay #outwoken