After 50,000 plus hours, I became the first African American woman who is a Nurse Practitioner to receive The Dallas Minority Business Award in the State of Texas and yet it took a team to sustain my marriage to entrepreneurship.
Many ask the question, “how did you even get here in such a short amount of time?” I respond by saying, “I just started. Ask me, how have you sustained?” In reflection of the countless hours, long days and long nights, networking, workshops, the many books read, mentorship meetings, researching, planning, financial courses, getting licenses and permits, learning the business accounting system and do not forget you have to actually sleep, maintain your own life, bills and so much more…asking that question may scare you away from proposing to your dream.
To begin is but the easiest thing to do; to sustain is an obstacle but overcoming the highs and lows of entrepreneurship is but a reward.
“Taaka take $1000.00 dollars and start a business. I don’t care what you call it but put your talents to use” from the words of my noble mentor Dr. Robert Strayhan, Privy Oasis, LLC was formed on May 20, 2013.
I put my plan into action less than twelve months later.
Unbeknownst to me, my mentor was asking me to take my dream out on a date. I learned that you have to court your dreams. Have a relationship with your future. Become engaged to your vision, love your mission and marry your purpose. Sustaining what you create as an entrepreneur requires a commitment. Your efforts dictate the outcome of this marriage. When you first start a business, you never know which direction you or the business will go from one day to the next. You have no idea where the money will come from or how you are going to do it alone. I can recall in the very beginning, early mornings and late nights at my kitchen table creating a solid business plan. Through trial and error this business plan developed and changed over time. As I learned, I had to adjust. I would have “meetings of the minds” at my home with friends and colleagues. We would brainstorm over our individual business ideas, where we wanted to go and what we wanted to do. I recall at one of these meetings, I asked my friends “do you want in now?” I didn’t think of money, I didn’t think of time, I didn’t even consider the rigor, I just knew those sitting before me were qualified and that I believed in them.
In hindsight, I laugh.
It takes more than just being qualified and believing in someone to sustain the marriage of business. This entrepreneurial alliance was going take some work. Most take out loans to start a business, I did not. Not because I didn’t think about doing that, I knew that I would have to pay that money back. The first six months, I chose to work while building my practice and gave myself a hard date of Dec 31, 2014 to transition from a traditional job to full-time entrepreneurship. I could no longer cheat on my purpose with my vision. Although my vision (traditional job) was my investor for my purpose (building a company) at that time. I had fulfilled what I went to school to do and now it was time for me to hone in on my purpose. This hard date was vital because I knew that I would never make the type of impact that I wanted to make working for someone else so I stuck to it.
I took the leap.
I don’t recall ever being scared in the beginning. You have to be obsessed, oppressively constant and incessant on your vision. You have to be so bullheaded with your vision that you see no road blocks; you see no obstacles; you see no end. For me, that’s how I progressed, maintained and sustained. I realized there were no outs, just more levels to attain. I was falling in love with the ladder of what I committed to and on this ladder no one was spotting me. If I fall or if I fail, I have no choice but to get up and start climbing again.
Through the process, I don’t recall ever wanting to quit.
My vision was my next paycheck. When you have a purpose that pays nothing but fulfillment, how could you even think of quitting when you have only just begun? Just like in any relationship, you have to be cautious but like marriage, this was a business. I was learning what it looked like to become an investor of creation. “How much money have you made?” is a question I often get. I literally despise this question. What you are essentially asking me is, in my marriage with entrepreneurship, my purpose, “is it worth the risk?” Similar to any relationship, you have to understand the risk, benefit and bump into your success. This is truth: being committed to entrepreneurship and figuring out your recipe for success before you can even think of reaping a financial reward.
Here are some tips that worked for me.
You are your greatest investment.
When that check finally comes… no matter how big or how small… and your name is at the end of it, it is by far the best feeling in the world. Please understand, you are the last one to get paid. Even after roughly 5,000 hrs over a six month period, you are the last one to get paid and you may not receive a check. Being an entrepreneur is one of the hardest jobs you will ever have. Don’t allow money to drive you in your relationship with entrepreneurship. Let your will for your purpose be the fuel for your financial reward. I am not ready to divorce my dreams quite yet.
Even after 50,000 hours, you will still be climbing. I am still climbing.
Be Contagious With Change,
Dr. Taaka Cash, owner and founder
Privy Oasis, LLC