Birthing The Elephant Part 3

Posted by Chrys on May 23rd, 2008

Have you seen Loving Heart Mommy?
A lil’ bit of this & a big tad of that..

Part 1 is available here and Part 2 is here – or you can visit this post to learn more about Crystal’s Book Club.

Chapter Two: Real Stories behind Real Start-Ups

This chapter was VERY inspiring and I have to admit, picking ONE nugget to share here was very hard. I seriously recommend you pick up this book because you will get SO much out of it. In this chapter, we looked at 6 different women who started successful businesses and examined the reasons why they started them.

Like so many other major decisions in life, launching a start-up is frequently fueled by a volatile mix of desire, destiny and dissatisfaction. Ultimately, it’s not one big thing that seems to drive women to the entrepreneurial edge – though one event, like a layoff, usually pushes them over it. Still more revealing is teh fact that many of the women we interviewed weren’t even considering launching businesses when the idea that sparked their start-up came their way. They fall squarely into the “emerging entrepreneurs” category described earlier. Their early careers offer little or no evidence of the entrepreneurial fever.

The story in this chapter that I found most inspirational for myself was Liz Lange’s. Her early job and education history shows no sign of interest in design or business. In fact, she majored in Literature and worked as a writer. She even considered psychology at one point. At 25, she meet a small time designer and loved what he was doing and came on board as an unpaid intern. When her friends started having babies, she saw the need for a maternity line that was stylish and sexy. She had an idea, but no intention to start a business. In fact, her thought was to give the idea of the designer she was working with, but he didn’t get it.

“I didn’t really want to be an entrepreneur,” Liz notes. “I had a Geronimo maternity line all planned out in my mind. I proposed it to my boss, who said what everyone else basically said: ‘I don’t get this.’” But, as Liz puts it, “I couldn’t get the idea out of my head! I think that’s one thing that all entrepreneurs share in common. I didn’t have this burning desire to start my own business, it was just that I felt the idea was right and it really grabbed me. It kept me up at night.”

So, Liz – with no business experience or design training, decided to do it herself. Retailer and business people told her it wasn’t a viable market, but she did it anyway. She ended up having to open her own store, because retailers would not back a line they believed wouldn’t work!

“I spent so much time thinking to myself, ‘If this were a good idea, someone much smarter than I am would already be doing it. It must be a bad idea.’ And I think that if I had had a better business background, I probably wouldn’t have begun my company. I think you almost need a certain amount of ignorance if you want to start your own business.”

I found it very interesting how every single woman profiled – both the “born entrepreneurs” and the “accidental entrepreneurs” faced obstacles in their start up years that left them thinking if might be the end. The one thing that all these women had in common? They all choose to push forward, no matter how huge the obstacle seemed. So – next time you feel discouraged in your start up, and you think maybe you just aren’t meant to be a entrepreneur – remember Liz Lange, who’s collection can now be found in her own boutiques and 1500 Target stores nation wide and has graced the bodies of countless pregnant celebrities. EVERYONE said she couldn’t make it work.

You can pick up your own copy of Birthing An Elephant for $10 in the ChrysAnTheMoms Book Store.

Written By:
Crystal is the founder of Chrysanthemoms, and a mother of 3. She is a graphic designer, specializing in wedding invitations, baby announcements and photo greeting cards. She is also an avid blogger and loves to write.Visit Crystal’s Website

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