When you decide to announce to friends and family that you are going to pursue starting a business, the haters will rear their ugly heads and tell you the three thousand reasons why you won’t be successful. They say these things as if it’s news, but you’ve had all those doubts swirling around in your head for weeks or months, maybe even years. But deep down in the core of your being you feel the tug. There’s something that wakes you up at 2am and whispers to you, “This is a great idea and you can do this.”
You might not know it yet, but you’re an entrepreneur and you are driven to take risks, learn by doing and control your destiny.
I was a 15-year old sophomore at Reedley High School when I first said out loud, “Ten years from now I want to own my own company that helps other companies run their businesses.” It just so happened that my audience to this declaration was my high school career counselor. This is the person who should help me see my potential and encourage me to achieve. Or so I thought. Instead, Mr. Minor tipped his head down and looked at me over his bi-focals proclaiming, “THAT will never happen, and let me tell you why.”
Wait – what?!? His biting words overtook me. To that point in my life, no one had ever told me I couldn’t achieve something. Maybe my parents were too supportive, but they always believed in me and encouraged me to be the best. How dare Mr. Minor tell me something I wanted would never happen!
He proceeded to explain: “First, in ten years you will only be 25 years old and that’s too young to have your own business. You have to start at the bottom and work your way up, and you just won’t have enough experience at that point to know what you’re doing. Secondly, you’re a female and it’s rare that a woman would own a business. That’s a man’s world. And finally, you’re Hispanic and people of your heritage work for other people, not for themselves.”
As the tears welled up in my eyes, I realized I couldn’t speed up time, change my gender (well, I could, but didn’t want to) or change my ethnicity. Was what he said true? I don’t remember how the career planning session with my counselor ended because everything just became a blur. I called my mom to pick me up at school and take me home. I was devastated.
Somewhere, somehow I found my resolve, and every time someone asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I would respond with, “By the time I’m 25 years old, I want to own my own company helping other companies with their business.” And sure enough, 21 days before I turned 26, I obtained my business license for JP Marketing and began my operations, helping other businesses with their advertising and outreach needs. That was 1994, and today I still own and operate this business and love every minute of it.
That’s what entrepreneurs do. They ignore the naysayers. They believe in their ideas. They give everything they have. They love what they do. And they prove to their haters that they were right, quietly reveling in the fact that success is indeed the best kind of revenge.
–Jane Olvera Quebe, President