Entrepreneurship: Taking the First Step

by Saleha Jogiyat

At a young age, we are all told to just get a job, go to work and earn money to be able to provide for your family. This is often reflected as the key to living the American dream. Corporate America instills this theory into practice: you live to work and then you die. Where is the joy?  What about those who want to live their lives and not consider their careers as “work”? Entrepreneurship?

After 20 years in corporate accounting, Corporate America turned me into a “yes” robot. I was not enjoying the job or the work. The 9-5 was no longer the norm, it was the minimum. There was a guarantee of at least 65 unread emails first thing in the morning with another 100 flagged as the to do list for the day. All the positive results of yesterday, were not appreciated today. Unproductive meetings with no solutions to problems, ended all the same way, do more with less, be efficient, get it done!. It was an endless loop of unrestful nights sleep, stressing about the day ahead. “Here we go again” was a negative mantra uttered every morning.

I needed a new mantra; a new career. Weighing the possibility of leaving that corporate grind opened the floodgates of emotions and questions. I was scared, worried, and nervous. How will I ever pay for a house without a job? Where will my salary come from? How do I remain competitive in the market? What happens if my family gets sick and we have no health insurance? I chose to lean into these questions and the possibility of entrepreneurship and opened my eyes, mind, and heart. These questions and concerns fueled my curiosity and my excitement for the dive into entrepreneurship and self employment, as well as the joys of being my own boss.

I could work how I wanted, which made me better, and happier. Instead of scheduling another meeting to brainstorm a solution, I did something different. No tools needed, no whiteboard, no emails, or text messages. I used what works for me: a long walk on the pier overlooking the Manhattan skyline. I cleared my head and focused on my clients’ needs, ultimately enabling me to do my best work to deliver a more thoughtful strategy for my new entrepreneurial clients. It’s amazing what a little great outdoors can do, especially when you aren’t bogged down by multiple emails and red flags.  

As amazing as it sounds, making this leap was not easy. The vision, process, and success took time. The first and main decisions had to be made quickly. I evaluated my emergency fund, brushed up on the skills and qualities needed to showcase my experience and sought advice from mentors and partners. I had to be even more disciplined in setting my hours, workload and delivering client results. I set goals based on realistic expectations. I researched and chose partners who supported my endeavors. As with all great rewards, there were some great risks, mistakes and failures along the way.

We will go over my experience in a full series, with three articles to follow. In these articles, I will continue to share my entrepreneurial journey from overworked and unsatisfied to now self-employed and living my American dream.

Mitesh Gandhi, Advisor, Breakaway Bookkeeping + Advising. Mitesh Gandhi is an experienced financial leader with 20 years of Corporate Accounting experience in the automobile industry. He is passionate about analyzing the business to provide ideas on driving revenue and increasing profits. Ensuring businesses have a foundational focus on a strong balance sheet, cash flows and income statement.

First step stock photo by ben bryant/Shutterstock

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