WHY AND WHOM ARE YOU DOING IT FOR?
Not once, not twice, had I asked myself – why and whom am I doing this for? I heard other entrepreneurs asking the same question in their journey of entrepreneurship. This must be a universal question in entrepreneurship; if you are an entrepreneur, and you have not asked yourself this question or never heard it from your fellow entrepreneur, you are one in a million!
Why and whom are you doing it for? It is a very strange question. For, when it is asked it does not suggest that one has given up, nor does it suggest that one does not know why he/she is an entrepreneur. It is asked for the sole purpose of reaffirming one’s conviction and commitment to the entrepreneurship journey and reconfirming staying on course for the cause. I tell you; this question cannot be taken to a therapist for unpacking or assistance. No matter how many times it is asked; the one who is asking has to answer him/herself, as the best answer has to come from within. Sometimes when asked, it is like an entrepreneur is looking for a fix, once asked, the entrepreneur gets clarity and mobility in her/her stuck state.
In my entrepreneurship journey, I still ask this question to this day. It is one of those questions you can ask every day and the answer seems to be new yet the same- stay on course for the cause.
What could be the cause for accidental entrepreneurs like myself, who got into the business by sheer accident? Evidently, the cause for me is not the baton that is passed on me. I don’t have to take the reign from mommy or daddy. I am not on family duty in preserving the family legacy. No, no, no. Mommy was a kitchen girl and daddy, -a garden boy! I cannot for the life of me say, I am preserving the family legacy.
I found solace in my heart though, in the discernment that: I am not doing it for my mom and dad. The temptation to think, I am doing it for my kids comes and still lingers in mind. This thought scares me a lot, as, I am not sure if my kids would ever want to agree to this. Let alone, taking over the business one day, as they have come face to face with the horrific reality and drab side of entrepreneurship. They are the ones who witnessed furniture being attached and repossessed by the sheriff. They saw household items sold at a pawn shop just to survive another month. They are the ones who had to downgrade from fancy luxurious cars, just for mommy to buy a machine for the factory. The brunt of absent mom who either is late or never pitches for school activities was felt by them. With all this and more, to think I am doing it for them, I guess I am kidding myself.
The entrepreneurship dream we probably bought into, (myself, and kids) was: living large and, them -being a bosses’ kids, and that, was just a dream or a fantasy, to say the least. Everything they witnessed and what I went through at the start of my business, is nothing that can inspire a child to say; ” one day I would like to be an entrepreneur like my mom”. Under the circumstances, I was not under no illusion to think I was doing it for my kids.
This is a hard realization, especially for a mom/female entrepreneur, because, I am a mother before I am an entrepreneur, and I take suffering as a mother on behalf of my kids. I guess this is the suffering that is exclusive to me only. Why then am I doing this? I know I am not preserving a family legacy. A thought that I am doing it for the kids is rather foolish.
In the previous blog, I wrote about the power of listening to your own noise as an entrepreneur. I guess, to answer this, one needs to listen to her own noise to find the “Why”. Having sifted all the emotions. Information was, packaged and reframed in my mind. In the end, I know exactly why I am an entrepreneur. I am doing it for myself and those who will come after me (they don’t have to know, agree and appreciate it, but they will thank me later)! I am a trailblazer (umkhomba ndlela). No legacy is built overnight. If I want to breed a culture of entrepreneurship or business in my family and my community, then this is the reason I am an entrepreneur. This is MY MISSION!
Lethabo Mokoena, a budding entrepreneur from Daveyton township, who owns a sneaker cleaning clinic (Walk Fresh) always say- “The kids are watching” I guess, ours, as entrepreneurs who have no reference, is to model for the next generation, rewrite the narrative for our families and our societies. Entrepreneurship is bigger than oneself or the individual!