Never judge an entrepreneur by their cover

by smithstandard
Room of people looking at stage with speakers.

I went to an Entrepreneur Summit a couple of months ago.

If you’re anything like me, you screwed your face up at the very mention of the word ‘entrepreneur’.

I think I have come to loathe that word because it has been hi-jacked by ‘multi-level marketing’ folk. You know the types. The ones who decide to call themselves that when they quit their jobs and start privately messaging everyone on Facebook about how it’s been so long since they last spoke. And then start weaving comments in like: “I’ve found this amazing product that allows me to work from home” and “it’s not like all those other companies”.

Yes they are. Those companies are all the same. Oh and while we’re on it, that stupid Loom thing that everyone was doing on Instagram about a month ago is an old-school ponzi scheme, which is very similar to a pyramid scheme in that you’ve got to get all your friends to buy in and then people can pull out at anytime and leave the new people BROKE AF, so stop trying to tell me it’s ‘legit’.

Deep breath.

On that note, I would like to make it clear that my view on entrepreneurs (real ones) has since changed from attending this workshop. So bear with me.

For those of you who hadn’t guessed by my ranty tone at the beginning of this post, attending this workshop was not my idea. My partner Josh asked me if I would like to go and I said yes for two reasons:

  1. I had a moment where I caught myself saying ‘no’ once again to something that might help me grow and learn, but was way out of my comfort zone.
  2. I might get to eat dinner at a nice place in Brisbane that we wouldn’t ordinarily go to (let’s face it, this was the main reason).

So, off we went to Brisbane.

I gave up my precious weekend time of potential beer-drinking, couch-sitting, napping – to sit in a room with some very enthusiastic people and possibly learn a thing or two.

As the first day started my anxiety was off the Richter, but Josh assured me as we walked in that it wasn’t going to be how I expected. There’d be no hugging or dancing or praising Jesus (or the speaker on stage – whatevs) and that the people there were genuinely there to improve on their businesses, skill-sets and to learn from the speakers and other people in the room.

There was complimentary tea and coffee (real coffee), fancy baked goods and stalls of different people advertising their businesses or products. The fact that I got to eat a sugar-coated pastry whilst pretending to be interested was an okay start I guess.

Until it actually started.

When the main speaker for the day walked up on stage, music came on and everybody cheered as he said “Can I get everybody to stand up please?” I shot Josh a swift glare, but didn’t say anything as I begrudgingly rose from my seat.

“And can we all stretch our hands up to the ceiling?! Are we ready to learn some things today?!”

People cheered in response. They actually cheered guys. And then old mate on stage said, “alright now turn to the person next to you and give them a BIG HUG.” I looked straight into Josh’s eyes and muttered something under my breath like “you fuck”, before sitting back down and folding my arms. I’m pretty sure I wanted to die at the moment.

But guess what?

I didn’t die. Whilst the beginning of the seminar set weird expectations for me, I think when the same introduction occurred on the Sunday, I hugged Josh. A couple of times we were split into groups and I had to force small-talk with strangers which I hate doing with every fibre of my being, but I didn’t die. And I learned a lot. I also got to have a coffee that was in a paper cup and had a butterfly printed on the side of it (I kind of thought it looked like a vagina/cat’s bum, but I guess it was still pretty).

Coffee cup held in a hand of a girl with black nails. The pattern is of a multicoloured butterflyNot only did I have ‘a-ha’ moments, learn new things about myself and what I could be doing to move forward with my own projects, I learned that there are genuine entrepreneurs out there who are nice people.

A quick Google search will let you know that: an entrepreneur is an individual who, rather than working as an employee, founds and runs a small business, assuming all the risks and rewards of the venture. And I met some very impressive ones.

Don’t get me wrong, some people there were just there to sell their idea and look big and important in front of their peers – definitely. But the majority of people I spoke to seemed driven. They were there because they wanted to know more and educate themselves further. They seemed sensible and yet took risks I could only dream of taking if I had the skill-sets they had.

What really turned my opinion around on the term ‘entrepreneur’ were two of Josh’s friends.

The ultimate power couple, these two people were some of the nicest, kindest and most successful people I have ever met. I picked up little pieces of the journey they’d been on as we spoke during the day and then over wine at dinner (and also Josh told me). These guys have been smashing goals, sold businesses and started new ones, and are climbing up the ladder following their dreams in ways that legitimately blew me away.

And not once did they rub that in my face. Not once did they make me feel inadequate because I was so far behind in that respect (my own insecurities were telling me that). They wanted to know about my blog, what I wrote about and suggested ideas I could work with that had never even crossed my mind. They were passionate and open to feedback and just wanted to be supportive.

They made me re-think how I viewed entrepreneurs.

I definitely had the wrong idea about what an entrepreneur is/does and I am so glad I said yes to something that wasn’t ‘my thing’. I guess what I am saying is next time an opportunity comes along where you would automatically say ‘no thank you sir’ – take a moment and ask yourself why you’re saying no. Is there potential for you to learn or experience something new? Could stepping outside of your comfort zone be a good thing? The answer to that one is nearly always yes, so maybe think about it the next time you’re presented with a similar situation.

And I did get to eat at an amazing place in Brisbane by the way. The Spaghetti House – REAL Italian. It was so amazing and we ate so much food that we practically rolled out of that restaurant. I want to review it, but I had had several beers and some wine by the time the food came out, so there’s not much point, other than me saying it’s a solid 10/10 for everything. Cos it was.

Han x

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