Gina Rinehart: First Australian Billionaire
Madame CJ Walker: Hair care products for African American women early 1900s – first female millionaire from her own business endeavours
Mark Zuckerberg: Creator of Facebook
Frederick Banting: Canadian scientist who discovered insulin
Angela Merkel: First female Chancellor of Germany
What do the people in the above list have in common? They are all trailblazers and pioneers. The first in their respective field of work, politics, and business.
A “trailblazer” is defined as a person who blazes a trail for others to follow in an unsettled place. A pathfinder. Every country, city, organization, and business was birthed by people with a trailblazing mindset.
My wife and I often think of our trailblazing forefathers. My wife’s family moved to Canada over 50 years ago from South America to start a new life in a cold new land. My own ancestors made the life changing move from Europe to Canada nearly 150 years ago to forge a new life. Both our ancestors were involved in business whether farming, retail, or office work. They plowed the ground under their feet and made life work for them, their families, and the generations who came after them.
Going into business has many similarities to migrating to a new country. Firstly, it’s going to cost you something. But if you’re a trailblazer and a true pioneer, the price will be worth it. Some of this cost comes dressed as unpredictability. Finances can be sporadic and there’s no manager or boss motivating you on a daily basis. You and you alone are responsible for your business. No one is coming to bail you out when times get tough.
You’ll need to be okay for potentially long periods of time with no paid sick days, vacations, registered retirement matching program, or medical benefits. In the initial stages there will be no profit-sharing plan, annual bonuses, company pension plan, life insurance policies or company social events.
Hear me out, despite the lack of perks and benefits there’s nothing like being a trailblazer in the business world. It’s a special space where you can take a completely original idea and add structure and substance to it. In doing so, you watch it transform from a concept in your mind to a living, breathing entity. This new creation has the ability to make profit, provide jobs, bring solutions to problems, and positively impact society through sustainable strategies.
Before you take the plunge into business you may want to check your internal fortitude and determine if you have what it takes. Ask yourself the tough, probing questions to reveal your true motivations.
Questions such as:
1. Have there been times in my life when I've exhibited a trailblazing attitude?
2. Have there been instances where I’ve taken risks, jumped boldly into a new activity, relationship, or position at work?
3. How did I feel when I took a risk? Did I hate the awkward and nervous feeling or did a part of me come alive? Did I tap into a new level of creativity?
4. Would I be ready to leave the benefits and the predictability of a paycheck to start my own thing?
If you answered “no” to any of these questions or have some misgivings about being a trailblazer, that’s perfectly fine. Through this self discovery process you may realize that a traditional employment situation works best for you and you’re going to flourish in that framework.
If you were able to answer “yes” to these questions you may have the mindset to start something of your own. Don’t be afraid to start the process of moving into a new chapter of your life!