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Kevin Simcock
Founder/Director of Possibilities
Vancouver, British Columbia Canada
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I’m not who I used to be. I’m an Entrepreneur

Navigating the road from being an employee to being an entrepreneur. Sharing the trials, tribulations and inspiration.
Written Mar 17, 2011, read 1927 times since then.
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Like many people out there, over the past couple years I have gone through some significant changes thanks to the economic landscape. I used to be an employee, at a very large advertising agency working with Fortune 500 companies. All that changed with one unexpected meeting. Well it really wasn’t that unexpected. I knew it was coming. Which was a little stressful in and of itself.

 

The thing that most large companies in any sector do to cut costs when they absolutely need to is to cut head count. As a former Creative Director being in charge of an entire department of people I know this all too well. It was still hard to take even though it was predictable. Perhaps it was the selfish assumption that senior level employees are more insulated from this kind of thing. Or maybe it was the company saying just a week prior that they were doing fine and there was no need to worry. Regardless it happened. So myself and a number of other senior level employees took our expertise and our pink slips and moved on.

I took a short period of time off to think about what I wanted to do. I looked at it as an opportunity not as misfortune. As someone who has worked in my field of advertising for 13 years, as many others out there are in the same boat, I felt I had a great deal of expertise to offer but I wanted to do it my way. I knew I could provide a greater service than the companies I was working for. Plus I knew I could offer it at a more realistic price. That was when I had the idea to start my own company.

 

The next part was the hardest part. Having a vision and a passion for something is just 1/3 of the equation. I didn’t know what to do next, how to start it, what I needed, how much it would cost and a slew of other stressful thoughts. I found a great quote and I’m not sure who said it so forgive me if I paraphrase it but it goes something like this.

“You need to know what you don’t know so you can know it.”

Sounds a bit confusing but read it carefully. It was something that stuck with me and resonated with me. I didn’t know a lot about starting a business or what it took to run one. In fact I didn’t know anything. How could I? I spent my entire career as an employee in a specific part of a business. Sure I new the importance of profitability, client relationships, operations and finance but I didn’t have to perform them on a daily basis. So I needed to find out or  “know” what I didn’t know. So I enrolled in a business course. It helped out a lot. I learned how to put together a business plan properly and the importance of having one. I learned how to put processes in place for operations and financial organization. I learned all the things I didn’t know. It was so valuable and I continue to learn from my fellow entrepreneurs.

I look back on where I was just a couple years ago and compare it to where I am today and I have to say I’m glad I took the plunge. There is no security in any job out there. Sure there are companies that truly take care of their employees and provide them with great benefits but he reality is the profitability of a company will always come first, especially with the larger companies. There is no more stability in being an entrepreneur, by any means, but there is one factor that in my opinion out-weighs being an employee. You are in control of your own destiny. As an entrepreneur you call the shots and do so in the way you know to be right. That is very empowering and fulfilling.

Being able to help businesses achieve greater success is very rewarding for me. I take my client’s business goals very personally. I see the risk they take and understand them. They invest their hard earned money with me and it’s my job ensure a return. It’s both humbling and exhilarating at the same time.

As an employee you always were told of this or at least held to some regard but it doesn’t resonate as clear compared to being an entrepreneur.

So for those just venturing out on your own or contemplating on taking the plunge I say dive in with both feet. Take the time to “know what you don’t know” and do it right. Entrepreneurship is both scary and exhilarating at the same time so enjoy it. You will get out of it exactly what you put into it, not what a company thinks you should get. So put your heart and soul into it and spread your passion.

 

Here are just a few tips I can offer.

 

  • First - put together a proper business plan, complete with mission statement, vision statement, target market, competition and financials. It is crucial.
  • Second – talk to a certified accountant. They will be your best ally and great resource for you.
  • Third – develop your brand properly. Don’t cut corners. Speak to professionals not the neighbors kid going to school for design.
  • Fourth – be honest and true to your USP.
  • Fifth – develop a network of peers and like-minded people you can fall back on for advice and information. It goes farther than you think.

I’m sure there are more that others can add but these for me where the ones that really stand out.

I’m not who I used to be. I’m now an entrepreneur. It still feels funny telling people that but it’s also a great sense of pride. I’m glad I took the plunge and I wish you all the best of success in yours.

Learn more about the author, Kevin Simcock.

Comment on this article

  • Business Mentor and Author 
Seattle, Washington 
Gerald  Grinter
    Posted by Gerald Grinter, Seattle, Washington | Mar 23, 2011

    Kevin! I love your article. It's funny how many of us have backed into becoming entrepreneurs. Not knowing we may have had it in us all along and only now that that we have been pushed off the rock and into the water, we must now learn to swim in the ocean. Great tips! Looking forward to your next article. Best of luck and be well.

  • Founder/Director of Possibilities 
Vancouver, British Columbia Canada 
Kevin Simcock
    Posted by Kevin Simcock, Vancouver, British Columbia Canada | Mar 24, 2011

    Thanks Gerald, I appreciate the support. Glad you liked the article. I'm working on a few more. If there are any advertising or marketing areas you want to know more about let me know.

    Cheers

  • Professional Bookkeeper 
Englishtown, New Jersey 
Josephine Licata
    Posted by Josephine Licata, Englishtown, New Jersey | Mar 25, 2011

    Love the article! I decided to start my own business because i was so tired of having to start over in looking for another job after getting laid off. I, too, believe that I have the knowledge in my industry that can help others at the right price. The hard part is getting noticed.

  • Founder/Director of Possibilities 
Vancouver, British Columbia Canada 
Kevin Simcock
    Posted by Kevin Simcock, Vancouver, British Columbia Canada | Mar 25, 2011

    Congrats Josephine on your business! Keep up with the networking and sprinkle in some social media and you'll get noticed in no time.

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