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The literal jump from the corporate arena into the world of business ownership often times has the chilling awakening that comes from a dive into Lake Superior in mid February. One of the advantages to being employed under someone else’s corporate logo is the infrequent, but essential mental relief that comes from being able to leave the job and go home. The physical and mental separation provides the psychological comfort of distance and the charm of being able to unravel the corporate threads, if only for a short amount of time. The role of business employee is, at minimum, to do no harm to the organization, sustain its existence and contribute to its growth and success. The same holds true for the new business owner engaged in building their business while trying to define its distinctive competitive edge. However, there is one important difference that is rarely known to new business owners until they attempt to find the psychological distance between their business life and their personal life.

“I have yet to find that distance,” laments Akilah Rashidi owner of Digital Marketing. “Most of my waking time is spent actively managing, promoting, marketing and selling my business service. Sometimes I don’t bother to ask what day it is because every day is devoted to getting my business off the ground.”

As many of her contemporaries have discovered, the path to business ownership is a 24/7@365 energy consuming activity that makes little distinction between midday and midnight. The comfort and security of a highly structured work life is replaced by a seemingly random series of unrelated activities dedicated to amplifying your voice in a chorus of good singers. The real challenge lies in identifying as many viable business and social networks as possible for marketing your business and establishing contacts.

“It’s not something that a painfully shy or moderate social recluse should take up as a career move,” says Akilah “There is rarely a moment when the business owner is not on center stage trying to engage as much of the audience as possible. Bill Gates still attends tekkie conferences even though he could probably buy up most of them. He understands that you can never stop selling the business and the business has to be about what you can do for others.”

The website provides a downloadable Strengths and Weaknesses Checklist for small business owners as a way of assessing interest and skill level. 5 of the 8 skill categories specifically address the outward social networking aspect of business ownership. The willingness to take on the responsibility of running a business is the hallmark of most of the entrepreneurs abandoning the corporate ranks. The ability to engage in an unparalleled form of marketing savvy is one of the primary reasons why so many fail to get past the first year of operation. The checklist provides a quick assessment for determining the degree of help you may need in the social interaction area.

Akilah has spent a large amount of time making sure her business is known directly by people she’s met and by others who’ve heard of the business. “Sometimes I feel like Uncle Martin from that 60’s television show ‘My Favorite Martian’. He would raise his antennas every time he was ready to disappear. My antenna is raised higher and tuned into a broader frequency in order to pick up on networking opportunities.”


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