I have been speaking in auditoriums filled with budding entrepreneurs for years – nowadays they seem to call them ’Start Ups.’ Wikipedia says “an entrepreneur perceives a new business opportunity and often exhibits biases in her perception and subsequent decision to exploit the opportunity.” Not quite sure what this means, but what I do know is this. First and foremost, I have always been an entrepreneur. I have never had the inclination to work for anyone else, but myself. This means basically that you have the entire responsibility for the success or failure of your venture. Last night I gave this subject of entrepreneurship a great deal of thought. I was sitting at my long kitchen table sticking labels on 400 lavender body oil bottles that had just arrived from my farm in Italy. Someone forgot to put the labels on properly, so guess who is up at midnight doing the tedious job?
the entrepreneur. Then this evening, guess who gave a talk about the wonders of Extra Virgin olive oil to a group of lawyers at a fabulous new
shop (Olives en Folie) owned by a good friend, a
favour for her new venture..
me the entrepreneur. And any day now that same entrepreneur will be helping send out 800 bottles of my organic olive oil that I picked by
hand, drove to the olive press and organized the
Fedex across the pond. This is all at the same time as I have been shooting my documentary Dolce Debbie, help design my new furniture line
at Sears, develop a wonderful DT Pinot Grigio for the LCBO and run my production company. That is what entrepreneurs do
… basically everything.
Last week I spoke to an excited group of young ‘entrepreneurs’ in Alberta about my ’10 Commandments for Success.’ I looked out over the
sea of hundreds of eager businesswomen as they stared back hoping to catch at least a nibble of wisdom to help them fulfill their own
dreams. I wondered if they really knew what they were getting themselves into. They often ask if it gets easier.
it doesn’t. A born entrepreneur doesn’t sit back when the business takes off, they are always
onto the next idea.
Starting a new venture is the most exciting stage. The ideas are thrown around, the enthusiasm, the passion. All these ingredients are necessary. They
are the fuel to get that venture off the ground. Then the work begins. As I sat into the wee hours putting on those super sticky labels while stripping
off the top layer of skin from the tip of each finger, the question of why am I doing this never really crosses my mind. A true entrepreneur puts
in the endless hours because they love and believe in what they do. I believed 20 years ago that every mum at home wanted to stencil their living
room or grab a sponge and splatter their walls with paint. I never listened to the naysayers – I just bulldozed forward. I did well out of those
thousands of painted walls. The number one question asked at my Girls Getaway in Tuscany is ‘why’. Why am I doing this? Why do I fill my new, gorgeous,
Tuscan villa with strangers? Well,
it’s quite simple. I love it. I love it more now than painting someone’s walls or making television shows now. I am like Madonna – I have
reinvented myself. I firmly do believe that if you have a passion for what you do (which may change over the years) you will be successful. You
may not make millions but you will wake each day invigorated with new ideas and plans. You will fall
asleep exhausted yet exhilarated because your day has been filled doing what you adore. You will cry from your mistakes and scream at the
constant challenges. You will feel painfully guilty about the times you missed with your kids, the lunches not taken with girlfriends. These are
the ‘ perils’ but the ‘ pearls’ are numerous, solid and shiny. You will feel just as thrilled from the sale of a single item as you are from that
big corporate deal. Your passion will rub off on your children and your friends and it will inspire them to follow their own dreams and that in
itself is the gift of success.
AND YES FOR EVERYONE WAITING FOR THE OLIVE OIL AND LAVENDER OIL THEY’VE ORDERED – IT IS COMING – I JUST NEED TO FINISH THE LABELS!!