Why Entrepreneurship made me a better employee
Our very first social media post was Thanksgiving Day 2020, after nine months of grinding out business plans and working on product development, the post was a simple thank you to the team. Two days later, I was unemployed; my then current employer had seen the post and was not as thrilled as the rest of us. While I have no qualms working for Hare Motorcycles full time, after all that is my goal, I would make the argument that the process of entrepreneurship made me a better employee.
Our first IG post
Developing a business model from scratch has been no easy task. Capitalizing off experiences got me so far in the process, and researching introduced me to a plethora of business practices I was completely unaware of before. I was engaged in observing emerging trends to interact with highly connected consumers, and analyzing supply chain management strategies. These were topics we engaged regularly with in our business plan, but would rarely make my work week. At my day job I was operating on all cylinders because at night I was returning to these deeper underlying questions about business practices. Now that I no longer am returning to this job it is easy to look back and see how my employment and entrepreneurship were linked in a symbiotic relationship of continual improvement.
Understanding actions of the ownership in a new light As an employee, ownership actions are often hard to understand or justify. Sometimes actions are taken that make you think twice about the direction of the company, or lack thereof. One of the major benefits I saw in my entrepreneurial journey was a deeper understanding of why certain actions were being taken by leadership and ownership. Additionally, I became more in tune with the aspirations and desires of the ownership. Renewed interest in operational procedures and practices My former boss once said that I was a bit of a maverick. I was accomplished in getting things done, not always playing by the rules. However, as I began to delve deeper into operational procedures within our business plan it gave me a renewed interest in examining and improving the operational procedures at my day job. I learned a great deal from looking at the work flows that were successful and those that cried for change, identifying improvements and working through the process. Engaging deeply with the customer's experience I have always been a deeply customer focused employee, and have tended to succeed at customer facing positions. However, entrepreneurship fundamentally changed my view of the customer experience. Learning the difficulty in receiving and retaining customers, engaging, and converting from customer to brand ambassador I began to look at each interaction we had with a customer as the opportunity of a lifetime. Willingness to take risks for business improvements Part of my process in developing our start up was to see what others are saying about the state of affairs in business. I began to look more at business blogs, editorials, audio books and articles regarding business success. I was living in a world of improvement, and of course that followed me to my 9-5. I would think about ways to integrate a more robust CRM into the business practice. Develop ideas for experiential retail and improve our product interfacing at events. I had thousands of improvements for the day job floating through my head, because I was living in an entrepreneurial world and willing to take the risk.
Understanding of business costs Lastly, having shelled out the money to develop our first prototype, register the business, and pay all the associated fees with starting a business, I really began to understand the overhead involved in running a business. Every expenditure was coming out of my pocket, and as Tyler and Bill became more involved out of their pockets too! I became increasingly aware of the costs of running a business, and the areas in which business can nickle and dime to save. There are always improvements businesses make to save funds that are wasted in current practices, and being part of a bootstrap startup makes you realize how truly wasteful some business practices are. So my work starting my own business made me a better employee because through entrepreneurship I gained a skill set, knowledge base, and willingness to take risks. However, there were the drawbacks. I was not fully committed to the day job, my mind was always on Hare; the day job was a thing I had to do to achieve that goal, and experiment to see what entrepreneurial skills I could learn while still there. I really believe if you are an entrepreneur you can capitalize on that drive in a day job, but is that all you really want? For me it would have never been enough.
~Steven Harter, Founder