Entering the Business World Knowing Your Passion

This past week I was approached by a graduating college senior, and she had an excellent question.

“While my first choice is to find a job on my own, my family owns a business and they’d love for me to join them. Given the current state of the economy, should I consider joining the family business my best option?”

And after talking with her, I started to realize that is about the time when students are planning to set foot into the “real world” and are unsure about what’s next and which direction they should go. So to answer her question and to try and calm the fears of other students in her position, I say…

Don’t alter your passions. Do you really want to join the family business? Is it part of your passion? Or are you altering your passion for security? Will it make you wake up in the morning excited and ready to take on the world? That said, it is an option, and it’s one to consider temporarily if no alternative rises to the surface. In the meantime, here are a few things to consider when making your decision:

· Are you passionate about your family’s business?

· Is joining the business your dream—or is it your family’s dream?

· Do you have experience in the field, or will you have to learn?

· Will you have equal share in the decision-making, or will that evolve over time?

· Will there be times when you feel awkward because you came on board as a family member?

To all you graduating college seniors, find your passion, build your personal brand and start searching for companies with cultures inline with your passions. That is where you will prosper. And to future employers, start building a culture that will attract our Gen Y workers. They are entering the work force and desire inspiration!

Time to enter the family business?

The question of whether or not to join a family business is a tough one. You have been given an opportunity, that’s for sure, but it is smart to carefully evaluate the situation before you jump in. I recommend asking yourself the following:

  • Are you personally passionate about this business? If you’re not, it may not be right for you.
  • Do you have experience in the field? If not, are you willing to learn, and do you think you have what it takes to be successful?
  • What does the future hold? Will you be an equal decision-maker, and will you be able to grow with the company?
  • And perhaps most important, will joining the family business be at all awkward? You may feel like you have to justify your existence to outsiders down the road. Some folks deal with that better than others.

As you contemplate these points, consider who it is that will be teaching you the business. The answers to your questions will help you decide if joining the family business is the right decision. Good luck!

In times of transition, follow your instincts

When faced with big career choices, it is often hard to know what the right decision is. It is during these times that I always say go with your gut! It seems it’s these moments in life that allow us to identify and follow our passions. During these times, don’t compromise your dreams. If you do, you will pay for it dearly down the road in the form of frustration and lack of fulfillment.

I tell people to take some time off. Get away. Spend some time alone. Then use that time for retrospection. What did you dream about doing when you were a child? Most of us can trace our passions back to a time in our lives when we were much younger—a time before our lives were clouded with the thoughts of others. Sure, it’s great to get other people’s opinions, but don’t let those thoughts complicate—or pull you away from--what you truly want to do in life. Simply said, follow your instincts.

One of my passions is writing. What are some of yours?

Believe in yourself, as there is always another option.

Perhaps you’re experiencing a setback in your career, or maybe you’re faced with a new challenge, either personally or professionally. It could be that you’re bored with your current situation and you need something new and inspiring to set things in motion once again. Don’t panic. There are options. You just need to uncover them. Begin by reflecting on a similar situation in your life. Then use the memory of that experience to help you plan for the future. At the same time, identify your most resilient attributes. Are you flexible, determined and/or confident? Once you’ve identified some key attributes, combine them with what you’ve learned from past experiences, and move forward—all the while looking for new options.

Karen Hough, founder of ImprovEdge LLC, knows what it means to be flexible. She has taken her background in improvisational acting and applied it to the business world where she uses it to provide training and consulting to businesses. By doing so, she looks for ways to help people communicate, behave and work differently. Why? Because people can get stuck, and when that happens, they need to look for another option. Quite simply, they need to get unstuck. According to Hough, it’s not that hard to do—as long as you believe in yourself and remain open to other options.

What about you? Are you temporarily stuck? Do you lack motivation, or have you hit a roadblock in your career? Now is the time to look for options. Begin with Real Fact #1 in Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs—It All Starts With You. Then learn more about Karen Hough in RYI’s featured entrepreneur section.

Become a Featured Entrepreneur
Do you have advice based on your journey to entrepreneurship? Become a RYI featured entrepreneur by e-mailing me, or tell us your story in the Share Forum!

Women in business have clout-lots of it. And we're gaining more every day.

MAKE IT HAPPEN: What about you? Do you dream about a career that affords you more clout? Do you think about how your life might be different as an entrepreneur? If so, trust your gut instinct and decide that now is the time to make a change. Next, take care of yourself. Remember, if you’re not happy, and if you can’t be there for yourself, you can’t be there for anyone else. In addition to that, don’t go it alone. Reach out to others and tell your story. Don’t be an island; that is too isolating. Finally, separate yourself from negative influencers, or snarks. Put simply, don’t worry about society’s expectations for you. Instead, do what feels right.

TIP IN ACTION: The statistics prove it. Women are starting businesses at twice the rate of men. In fact, every 60 seconds a woman starts a business. From home-based businesses to high-level entrepreneurs, women are taking control of their professional careers in a variety of ways. Why? For starters, it’s a way to break the glass ceiling. Women who are tired of taking a backseat in Corporate America are turning to entrepreneurship as a way to get ahead. But most of all, women are looking for a better way to align their personal life with their professional life. Some call it balance, but it’s really about pursuing dreams. Entrepreneurship is a means for accomplishing that goal.

Looking for more inspiration? Go to http://www.RealYouIncorporated.com/ to find out what other women have to say.

Write your own job description based on what you enjoy doing.

Think about what it means to be, act, think and look like you. It’s not necessary to mimic other people. Instead, strive for authenticity. Now, bring out the paper and pencil, or start up the computer, and write your dream job description. When you’re done, make it your goal. With that as your focus, you’ll be surprised how quickly things start to fall into place.

Rachel Anne Mazur, CEO of DASCO Home Medical Equipment in Westerville, Ohio, is all about having passion for what you do. Although her father started the business more than 20 years ago, it wasn’t until Rachel started working for a similar company that she discovered it was her passion. Already very much a family person, Rachel returned home to join the family business—and there’s been no turning back. Why? Because she loves her job as CEO, and her fun, upbeat attitude is an example for all the employees at DASCO.

If you’re looking for more tips about finding your passion, check out Rachel’s profile or Real Fact #2 of Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs.

Get your life priorities straight first.

Deciding on the balance that you want to have between business success, family success and leisure time is the difference between judging your own success and failure.

In Real You Incorporated, I suggest spending some time alone—a night, a weekend or even a few hours. Then, with pen and paper in hand, establish your goals and write down your top priorities. Your number-one priority should be where you spend most of your conscious time, and so on. Remember, it’s never really been about work-life balance. It’s more about integrating work and family with your personal goals.

Meet Tanya Baker, an independent contractor with HelmsBriscoe. In her continuing effort to meet the needs of busy meeting planners, she keeps this tip top of mind. With a husband, two small children—and a challenging career—she constantly strives for work-life balance. But it’s not easy, and frankly, she admits that many women she knows have been unsuccessful in this area of their lives. “I live near a cemetery and walk through it occasionally as a shortcut going to local businesses. I have yet to see a gravestone that declares that the person six feet down was a vice president of sales or a great manager, but you see plenty engraved with ‘Mother,’ ‘Father,’ or ‘Wife/Husband,’” she says. “In the end, how you lived your life for the benefit of your family will be how you are remembered.”

What about you? What’s important in your life? Have you established your priorities before jumping head-first into an entrepreneurial lifestyle? Hear what other women have to say at www.RealYouIncorporated.com

To create a real brand, people inside and outside your company need to believe in you

Not just your product or service. At the end of the day, it’s all about you. That means your personal brand and your business brand are one in the same. I encourage you to begin by choosing one word that defines you. Here’s a hint to get you started: Think about what you do well.

Let’s use Oprah Winfrey as example. Everybody knows Oprah’s brand. Much of her success is due to the fact that people feel like they know her. She defined her career in a real way—as an extension of her personality. By sharing her story, she got people to believe in her. It’s the reason why she’s been successful at building a phenomenal career.

How about you? What’s your story? Get started now at RealYouIncorporated.com.