The dilemma of first generation entrepreneurs 

by: ellis j. still 

I recently had a conversation with my best friend Kevin. We don’t talk over the phone often, but when we do, it’s for hours. We talk about life, our respective families, careers, the newest Marvel Comic movie to come out, or re-capping what happened at the end of the credits from the last movie. 

During our last conversation, we talked about our respective businesses.  His gift and passion is photography (see Since before I knew him in college, he has always been, not just taking pictures, but studying the craft.  Being mentored by others and finding new ways to be creative… and he is really good at it.   For my wedding, I was hard pressed to find a photographer equivalent to his quality, but at a decent price. Kevin, who was supposed to be my best man, decided to play double duty as wedding photographer and best man as his wedding gift to Tina and myself.

One of the things we talked about was the challenges of being first generation entrepreneurs. Statistics show that people who grew up in and around families that owned a business were more likely to own a business themselves… even if the business was not one that was handed down from the previous generation. They grew up around business minded people and therefore certain skills and capital come natural to them. 

As first generation entrepreneurs, things are much harder for us.  Some have had many years in corporate America, and use their the contacts they have built up through the years, pension and/or savings to start a business.  Many of us do not have that luxury.  Many of us have relevant experience, passions, and skills, yet have challenges that seem insurmountable in breaking through into entrepreneurship.  However, where there are second and third generation entrepreneurs, someone had to be the first.  Someone had to break the barrier, which means that it can be done. I do not have statistics to back it up, but I am sure that many first generation business owners did not have an abundance of resources readily at hand to start their business, yet they found a way to get it done and build it into a profitable venture; they did the research, they networked, they were patient and they were unwavering.

I guess the point that I am trying to make is to not give up. You may have seasons of failure along the way, and some people may even want you to fail. God put something in you that makes you different than everybody else. He put that vision and burning passion inside of you, but it is up to you to follow through on it…. it is up to you to work your faith.   :- )

© 2010, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved