An Entrepreneur's Fastball to the Face
For those of you close to me, you know that I have been thinking about creating The Dad Book for close to 2 years now. In those 2 years, the key word here is "thinking", as opposed to any actual doing.
But just over a month ago, I decided I would no longer sit back and find excuses as to why I shouldn't start. In that exact moment, I realized the one thing any founder, visionary, or business owner can attest to:
Entrepreneurship isn't easy.
It's as if life knows the moment you start actually creating your next big "thing." Life knows that you're stepping up to the batter's box, looking to take your first real swing in the game. But as confident as you are, as much as you think you know from a four-year degree in business, and for all the real life knowledge you think you've gained from those 3 podcasts you religiously listen to; entrepreneurship is an all-star pitcher winding up with a 95 mph fastball aimed straight at your face.
My first entrepreneurial fastball to the face would come on my first attempt at introducing The Dad Book to someone other than friends and family. It was Western Michigan University's Pitch Competition, an opportunity for students to pitch their innovative ideas to a panel of judges. I spent two weeks in preparation, creating what I believed to be a sound pitch that would surely WOW! the judges and score me enough points to advance to the final round.
Feeling a sense of defeat, but understanding that feedback was my most valuable asset at this stage in the project, I stayed around to collect the judges' scorecards and to see what I could take back to the drawing board. Here's one of the responses from a judge:
Ranking is on a scale from 1 - 10 (10 being the highest)
Critique me for being a naive entrepreneur. Critique me for having never published a book. Critique me for not having it all figured out, just yet. But critiquing me for having an idea that "isn't feasible" with no "realistic" opportunity for success, well that's the kind of fastball to the face that gets a batter ready to [charge the mound] hit one out of the park.
As I brushed myself off from the first fastball and stood back in the batter's box, life would wind up again, this time coming in even faster, clocking in around 98 mph.
Being a recent college grad, my most valuable asset was the forgotten gallon of milk in the back of my fridge, and my '05 Mazda 6. Knowing that I planned to live out of the back of my car while creating The Dad Book, I knew that my Mazda would barely make it to the Michigan-Indiana border before breaking down. With that in mind, I was getting ready to sell my car, pocket the money, and begin saving it towards the purchase of a mini-bus.
So here I am about a week away from selling my car, sitting at a red light and following all of the traffic laws that exist. Wham! My girlfriend and I were rear-ended by a car that "didn't see us" (or the entire line of cars in front of us).
With damages to my car in excess of $5,000, I was forced to quickly learn the beauty of Michigan's No-Fault Insurance. A check for $1,000 was sent to me and I was able to scrap my car for a hefty $250. My '05 Mazda was originally worth $3,000 and after crunching the numbers, that's a good ole loss of about 58.3% (I knew my finance degree would come in handy, but never so soon!).
This time, the "fastball" literally hit me.
I say all of this not to complain, but to recognize that the road less traveled will have plenty of bumps and bruises along the way.
It's staying up until the wee hours of the morning and finally publishing your website. It's 24 different takes of the launch video, just to get that one perfect shot. Although the road less traveled is difficult, it's these moments that make this the most rewarding path one can take.
Thank you for reading, and I look forward to sharing more stories of the fastballs thrown my way, but knowing that when The Dad Book is finally published, it will be the home run of entrepreneurship!
See you next week; heading to watch a Tiger's game with my dad,