The 10-Year Itch of Entrepreneurship

This July marks 10 years since the birth of Bennis Public Relations, Inc. For a few years now I’ve been feeling called to again take a leap in scaling my business in new ways, but this year that feeling has turned into a vision fueled by a commitment to bring it to life. I’m grateful that this has been a slow burn that I’m not ready to act upon because the vision I have now is grander and more refined than what I might have chosen two, three years ago. And most importantly, I’m ready! I will surely be sharing more details of what this vision looks like, and the journey I’m on to bring it to life. But for now I wanted to first examine what I think is a fairly common phenomenon. I have to believe other professionals (business owners or not) get a similar “itch” from time to time in their career, particularly around the 10-year mark. Keep reading to learn why I feel this makes perfect sense, and why we should all listen to our urges and intuition in our professional careers because they just might launch us to new heights we never thought possible. 

You’ve lived, you learned, and now it’s time to apply that wisdom.

Looking back to the entrepreneur I was at age 23 when I was building my public relations consulting business from the ground up – I had no experience as a business owner or entrepreneur. I was hungry to learn, but that wisdom would simply take time to earn. Now a decade later, I certainly don’t have it all figured out, but I know a lot more about running a successful and scalable business than I did 10 years ago. What will I do with that knowledge? This has been the burning question on my mind as of late. As professionals, I think we would all do well to pause and apply our wisdom as we walk into any new season in life. For me, the 10-year anniversary of my business feels like the perfect time.

You (hopefully) have moved out of the chaos bubble.

Yes, entrepreneurship and chaos often go hand in hand. I’ve had my fair share of chaotic days/weeks/months and I’m always happy to be on the other side of that storm. Sometimes the chaos comes from correcting missteps, overcoming obstacles, or taking on too much. Other times, chaos comes from a burst of growth, new opportunities, or leaps of faith. The hope is that this chaos rolls in and out, but doesn’t stay for too long. As I matured in my entrepreneurial journey, I learned to identify chaos on the horizon and take proactive steps to mitigate it. In this next season of my career, I want to build a sound business structure that isn’t subject to chaos on the regular. I can’t say I’ve found myself in a chaos bubble for quite some time, so I know I’m headed in the right direction. I want to be even more intentional about preserving peace in my professional world.

You’re ready for a new experience. 

Most entrepreneurs build more than one thing in their lifetime. Even if they’re dedicated to one business, it’s likely that the business will evolve regularly and may look nothing like it did on day 1. In fact, the most successful entrepreneurs know that new experiences are not just an adrenaline rush, they are necessary to sustained success. It’s complacency more than anything else that kills businesses. So, as I celebrate 10-years of business ownership, I want to heed the advice of not falling into complacency or “things are successful as they are.” Because what the outcomes could be so much great? Or what if things are about to change whether you like it or not? Keeping a constant hunger for business growth means you’re prepared to respond to new opportunities or obstacles.

You need to plan for the future.

And finally, I’m 10 years older and wiser, but also 10 years closer to someday not having to work – or at least only work when I really want to. My retirement will not be the traditional retirement many other careers afford. No, there will never be the day when I pack up an office, relinquish electronics and email accounts, and bid farewell to other employees. My retirement will look different – selling a business or continuing to work and save for the future when I can choose to take on projects at my leisure while also fully enjoying freedom and flexibility. I’m not that far off from this reality right now, but I do want to be intentional about building a solid business that can sustain my future ambitions, while possibly becoming an attractive acquisition for someone else.

As I prepare to move into the next chapter of my entrepreneurial journey I’m inspired that regardless of what changes may come, and even if none come at all, there are always new opportunities on the horizon. As the captain of this “ship” I’m also grateful that I control the journey and can open the sails when I’m ready or choose to cruise when the time is right.

Can you relate? Have you experienced a similar, undeniable urge to grow? I’d love to hear your story and how it played out in your professional pursuits. Join in the conversation in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “The 10-Year Itch of Entrepreneurship

  1. Good post, thank you. My spouse and I founded a publishing services business in 2006. In 2014 (so not quite ten years, but close!) we relaunched as a communications consultancy. It has proved the right thing to do, both commercially and in terms of rekindling enthusiasm. I’m interested to read that such a move might be part of a more general trend.

    1. Thank you for the thoughtful comment. That’s very exciting to hear about your own business. Communications has become an essential service for every industry and from what I’ve found there is more than enough demand to go around! For business owners, I think evolution is the key to success. It doesn’t have to be major changes, but rather a consistent refining of services and processes to ensure we don’t become complacent.

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