The other day, I was telling a friend about the early technology issues we had streaming our HD video education for entrepreneurs into rural parts of the country. I jokingly referred to that period in GoForth Institute history as Chapter 3 of my memoirs – The Rural Disaster. Of course, the technology issues are a distant memory, but I remember at the time clearly believing this was the end of my company.
My friend asked if I was serious about some day writing about my journey into entrepreneurship and the building of a national company. “Nah, every entrepreneur who builds a successful company has a story to tell. Mine isn’t special,” was my quick answer. She challenged me on this, saying that other entrepreneurs would benefit from learning about the many challenges we faced at the beginning and how we overcame every one of them.
Sometimes it’s hard to relive the bad decisions, stupid mistakes and strategic oversights that are part of building a new company from scratch. The last thing I want to do is publish a book about our journey – parts of it are painful.
But then, what if I could save even one entrepreneur from making the same mistakes – wouldn’t it be worth it? You bet it would.
A few weeks ago I spent a wonderful day with Aboriginal youth entrepreneurs at the CANDO Aboriginal Youth Business Dreamcatcher Program in Edmonton, and took part in the opening celebration which involved an elder sharing stories of his life – the hardships of residential school, challenges of living in the traditional and western worlds, and his successes and failures. He wanted the youth to learn from his journey.
Each of us embarks on a journey when we start a business. If I could rewind back to the very beginning of GoForth, I would record some of the events in a journal – the highs, low and in-betweens. Mistakes and oversights can seem embarrassing at the time, but every entrepreneurial journey is rich with insight, experience and knowledge. Remember that when you feel as if someone up there is laughing at you. Prepare as if you’re going to get an invitation from Oprah to tell your story one day.