September 5, 2013 by Sarah Legg
I am not your typical career-minded, entrepreneurial chick. I spent numerous days of my youth at concert venues in Omaha, Neb. at local and national shows. I have tattoos. I’ve had multiple holes purposely punched into my face. I love music – it has been my motivator since I received my first CD on my 10th birthday. I had an internship with a major label. My whole life plan has revolved around how I am going to be able to continue going to shows on week nights without having to worry about waking up for work at 7 a.m. Seriously.
Most people I know can remember their first concert. I have no clue which concert was my first, but the first one that made an impact on me was a local show. This was my first time seeing local bands and the support of the fans for the bands was awesome. Even more awesome was the accessibility in actually getting to meet the people creating the music as well as those who were involved with making the shows happen. Many of the people I met that year (and through the many years after) are still my good friends to this day both professionally and personally.
Last year, my partner and I started my first business – a health and wellness company in the Kansas City metro. I have learned many things from my varied situations and people, which I try to apply in my every day life as an entrepreneur.
As a 5-foot-nothing girl, pushing my way through a crowd isn’t always easy. Through years of show-going and fighting for a spot where I can see without get my butt kicked, I have learned the best way to get through a crowd is by politely passing through people and acknowledging their presence whilst doing so. This also applies to trying to stand out in a crowd as a company. Being pushy or obnoxious might help you ‘be visible’ in the crowd (social media abusers, anyone?), but it will be in a negative way. You shouldn’t step on the ‘little people’ to get ahead and never forget those who were there from the beginning supporting your crazy ideas and ventures. Don’t be that guy who became too good … we all know someone like that and chances are no one can stand being around him.
Know conformity doesn’t always equal success
Even now, in 2013, there is a silly stereotype that people with tattoos are low-lifes when in reality, I would be hard-pressed to find someone with whom I work that doesn’t have tattoos. Life lesson number two: you can’t judge a book by its cover. It’s what’s on the inside that counts. Some of the smartest business people I know have full sleeve tattoos, piercings and non-traditional hair colors. There’s a reason we don’t work in Corporate America.
Remember that others are willing to elevate you
Crowdsurfing. Yeah, I’ve done it. I’m not proud, but I was 16 and well, it was fun. The great thing is that people are willing to help you ride to the front. It’s like the support system we build as we take on a new business venture. Find those supporters who are willing to elevate your cause and help you ride to the top. Those who are in the same boat are always there to support and provide guidance in the right direction. Kansas City has a strong entrepreneurial community, and every small business owner I have met has been supportive and willing to help out wherever he can.
… but if you fall there’s always someone helping to pick you up
We’ve all been at a show where we’ve seen someone (or have been that someone) who’s had too much enthusiasm for the act and falls to the floor whilst dancing like a fool in the mosh pit. And every time I have seen that someone fall, those around him reach out to help him up. That’s what happens as an entrepreneur. Any article you read about entrepreneurship warns of inevitable failures. That, coupled with the daily ups and downs, is enough to make you want to fall and disappear into the night with your tail tucked between your legs. Luckily there are many riding the same roller coaster that are willing to be part of your support system to help you get back on your feet when you need it most.
Don’t bury your face in technology
Have you been to a show where half the crowd is standing with their phones out texting? It’s annoying and rude. There’s someone standing on the stage, bearing his or her soul while those in the crowd can’t keep their eyes off their iPhones for more than 30 minutes. I can’t tell you how many times I have been in meetings where people are sitting around the table checking emails, texting, Facebooking, whatever. Not only is it rude, but it doesn’t help with the decision-making process. Be in the present. Let others know you’re worth their time by keeping your eyes off your phone.
Get out of the pit if you can’t stand the heat
Some shows just aren’t for the weak of heart. I’ve been to some pretty intense metal shows where girls (and some guys) look like they want to cry from the intense atmosphere. Unless you can handle yourself, stay out of the pit. That’s how I feel about entrepreneurship. Some people have the mental and physical capacity to handle it … others don’t. Starting a business is intense. You’ll wake up at 3 a.m. wondering how you’re going to go on without having a premature heart attack while making enough money to pay the bills. It takes a special, crazy person to live the entrepreneurial life.
At the end of the day, you’re at a show to have fun. That’s what entrepreneurship should be with all the ups and downs. It’s important to remember not to get too caught up in the day-to-day and let yourself have fun. Life is too short to take everything too seriously. Have fun.