Bullish: How To Whip Your Life, Finances, And Brain Into Shape For Entrepreneurship


Jennifer Dziura writes Bullish, a career column, for The Grindstone on Fridays and Bullish Life, a life coaching column, for our sister site TheGloss on Tuesdays.

In last week’s Bullish: This Year’s Most Aggressive Lady-Advice (and Bullicorns!), I shared that my project for 2012 was to start many companies that work together, sharing resources. In Bullish: Screw New Year’s Resolutions – Try Designing Your Career, I talked about how this shit seriously does not happen on its own.

So here we are! It’s January 6th, and so far I have:

  • Been collecting a list of business ideas for years (the list has about 40 ideas on it).
  • Categorized the list by topic area (nearly half the ideas are in education, where I’ve spent most of my career).
  • Prioritized the list, starting with things I’m pretty sure I actually know how to do (or at least begin).
  • Named many of these companies and purchased domain names (my best domain name, for a Christmas tree delivery service: Treelivery.com!)
  • Taken some time off from paid work to do a hell of a lot of research (again, see the designing your career column).
  • Made my apartment into a better workspace.
  • Drastically cut my personal expenses.
  • Drastically cut my time-wasters (my celebrity magazines are going directly in the recycling – that was my last major time-vice! I haven’t seen a movie since outside of an airplane since Black Swan was in theaters).
  • Signed up for some educational seminars, especially in accounting.

Things I don’t plan to do:

  • Get an MBA (people often ask me about this, as I am a GMAT instructor and have a very nice GMAT score; I also hate groupwork).
  • Get investors (only one of my businesses is likely to require outside funding, so I’m saving that idea until later).
  • Learn more about financial statements so I can put made-up numbers on one! (The main purpose of financial projections is to satisfy investors, which I won’t be needing.)

Ooh, everything is so scary because we’re girls!

The Internet is rife with articles like this, about the deep, probing questions you should ask yourself before taking the entrepreneurial plunge. But really: what are the other options? (See Bullish: How to Motivate Yourself to Be Motivated for more on lighting your fire with fear, disgust, and revenge.)

When I was in college, by the time I was 20 or 21, I felt pretty ridiculous still being a student. I dissembled at every opportunity, trying to get people to think I was a “real” adult. I passed off the mailing address of my co-ed fraternity as a business address. I’ve had business cards since middle school. I think I caught on early that, in capitalism, you’re basically a pimp or a ho. If you’re the pimp, you can choose to operate differently and ethically; you can change the system. Otherwise – not so much. (For a related metaphor, see Bullish: Basing Your Career On A Resume Is Like Competing In A Brothel Lineup.)

Personal finance writer Ramit Sethi recently wrote “I found that career advice for women is almost unreadable. With phrases like ‘You go, girl’ and approximately 68,000 references to shoes and ‘climbing the ladder,’ I found myself wondering: Are women really this dumb? The answer is no. But the advice is.”

I talk all the time about diversifying your income streams. Being dependent on a single boss makes you vulnerable (see Bullish: How to Run Your Career Like a Business). That’s scary.

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