Entrepreneurs often joke that they are unemployable. After being
your own boss for a while, it’s very difficult, if not downright
impossible, to be an employee.
True to entrepreneurial characteristics, I spontaneously recorded
this extra episode to acknowledge that I started my first company
thirty-two years ago and I never seriously wanted to have a
J.O.B. – a job working for another business owner since.
Entrepreneurship is not for everyone and is not always planned or
comes about in a way that you’d expect! In my case, my first
business was started after my employer declared bankruptcy and
I needed a quick means to support my family, as the primary
I took the challenge on thinking it would just be temporary -
twenty years later I had built an 8-figure business and was
winning business awards in major categories.
How did that happen?
I had decades of experience from helping to grow other peoples’
business and without being aware of it, I was accumulating the
skills, knowledge, resources, and confidence to build my own
Would I have eventually started my own business if the
paychecks kept flowing?
Would I have walked off the plank of employment on to the deck
of my own entrepreneurship?
Listen to this episode and draw your own conclusions.
As mentioned in this episode:
The Global Serial Entrepreneurs Summit 2.0
Meet the Speakers:
About the Host:
Isabel Banerjee - Your Next Business
Strategist and Transformation Catalyst
Dynamic, a self-made entrepreneur who overcame obstacles with
an unrelenting positive nature, a farm girl work ethic and a
conscious choice to thrive rather than survive, Isabel Alexander
Banerjee cultivated an award-winning, $10 million+ global
chemical wholesale business and grew it from dining room table
to international boardrooms.
Isabel’s strengths include the ability to initiate & nurture strategic
relationships, a love of lifelong learning and talents for helping
others maximize their potential. An inspiring speaker within both
industry and community, she is a driving force behind those with
the courage to follow her example of thriving against the odds.
With 50+ years of business experience across diverse industries,
Isabel is respected as an advisor, a coach, a mentor and a role
model. She believes in sharing collective wisdom and empowering
others to economic independence.
Founder of the Lift As You Climb Movement (www.facebook.com/groups/liftasyouclimbmovement)
Chief Encore Officer, The Encore Catalyst (www.theencorecatalyst.com) – an accelerator for feminine wisdom, influence, and impact.
Author & Speaker ‘Who Am I Now? – Feminine Wisdom Unmasked Uncensored’ (www.IsabelBanerjee.com)
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Full Transcript for Accessibility and for those who like to read along!
Isabel: Welcome back to the Lift As You Climb podcast. And I'm really happy that you are here today to help me celebrate, because I'm recording this episode on what I consider to be a very auspicious day. March the 29th and this is 2021, the anniversary of the day I became an entrepreneur. 32 years ago today! I stepped off the plank of a working for other people and onto the deck of my own ship. I became the captain of my destiny and I began my own business. And, uh, as I have been reminded, I've been unemployable ever since. So 32 years, I have that much history as an entrepreneur. And that's about the same time as the age I was, when I went from working to build someone else's business and I'm grateful for all of those opportunities, because that was my education. That was my MBA. My PhD in business administration and entrepreneurship was learning from multiple other business owners, entrepreneurs in diverse industries. Accumulating all of these skills, even though at the time, that I was working and thinking I was just working because, well, that's what you did to support yourself. I didn't have any thoughts. I didn't have a plan to become a business owner. But the universe gave me a push at the end of the plank and because my employer had gone out of business and I was struggling to feed my family as a Mary Kay consultant, you know, as a newbie, still not selling enough mascara or lipstick to bring home all of the bacon. An opportunity presented, and I was in business, I became a business owner.
Isabel: It's a very long, intricate, fabulously, exciting story of how Me, Moi, the farm girl from Western Quebec in Canada, with no formal business education, no science education or credits because I graduated from high school and promptly went into becoming a teen Mother and working at whatever job I could get to support my little family.
Isabel: I became the owner of an industrial chemical wholesale business that grew over 20 years of evolution. Evolution of me mostly, as an entrepreneur, learning how to be the CEO of a business. That business went on to giving me the honor and distinction of being one of Canada's top 100 business owners for multiple years.
Isabel: I wrote a lot more about that experience, and why I recommend entrepreneurship or stepping off the plank. for most people. In the book that I wrote, Who Am I Now?, Feminine Wisdom Unmasked and Uncensored. The whole journey is a about experience, and allowing yourself, no, not allowing, really that's a bad way to express it. Encouraging, nurturing, supporting, absolutely insisting, that you continue to learn, evolve, grow, test your metal, face the fear, be willing to fail forward because that's what entrepreneurship is. You know, it's strategic risk. It's carefully calculated risks. If you're doing it right,, if you're not careful. That's a whole other topic, but it's a journey of really evolving and I had this remarkable experience of having the opportunity to grow up, as a woman, in my 30's and grow into CEOness.
Isabel: As my business went from me, on my dining room table. Predating computers on your desk and cell phones even, I didn't have a cell phone. To working with a landline an adding machine with the roll of paper strolling across the floor and paper and pens and figuring things out by myself. On how to buy that there, ship it this way, and deliver it there, and make both my supplier and my customer, very happy in the transaction. So 32 years, seems like a lifetime when you're in your 30's, but now I'm 66 years old. I really kind of feels like yesterday. In fact, my children will tell you they grew up with a third sibling, and that was the company, because that company went everywhere with us as they were growing. I always had a box in the car with my files, and all of the information that I would need to be able to respond 24/7 to clients when they called. I wanted to be there for them, before they needed to pick up the phone and call somebody else.
Isabel: And if you're an entrepreneur and a Mom, it is like raising another child at the same time. Also in my evolution as a business owner, after having sold that company, and then worked with many other women business owners as an advisor and a coach and a mentor. I saw the same things happening over and over again. We are continually, doubting, that we are good enough, or that we haven't learned something. We get the imposter syndrome coming over us, thinking, Oh my gosh! Will they figure out that I'm just faking it till I make it?
Isabel: There's such a lot of commonality universally throughout women entrepreneurs. No matter what business they're in, or what country they're in. I have affirmed that, over and over, in the last couple of months during interviews I've conducted with the Global Serial Entrepreneurs Summit. It's just been an extraordinarily rewarding experience, bringing women together from around the world. Literally multiple countries with multiple, diverse businesses and cultural backgrounds and educational backgrounds. To talk about, what that experience has been like, what they've learned from it, what are the best practices that they can share with others?
Isabel: And, what are the truths that are common to all of us? That individually, sometimes we feel, " It's just me, that I don't get it. I'm not figuring this out. I'm not doing it well enough". So it really gives me great joy to blow up some of these myths. And also, to be able to, in the spirit of the Lift As You Climb Movement, to pay it forward with feminine wisdom and business wisdom. So that we all can advance faster with less risk, less cost and less time lost. And have much more reward and impact and to be able to do the things that we began most of us as entrepreneurs making a choice to leave a J.O.B. So that we would have more freedom and have more autonomy. And some times, often times it happens as an entrepreneur.
Isabel: We get kind of all caught up in the works and we forget our original motivations for becoming entrepreneurs because we are striving, doing, trying... to get better. To grow larger, to be more profitable, to be more innovative to be a better leader. There's a lot to do every day as the head of a business.
Isabel: And then many of us are also the head of a family, or have a significant leadership role in our family caregiving and nurturing to youngers, to olders and in our community.
Isabel: I just wanted to take this opportunity and say, when we begin our journey with a business. And each and every business, if you are a serial entrepreneur, like I am... At the beginning of that journey, we don't know exactly where we're going to go, and we don't know exactly how it's going to turn out. Yes. Most of us have a vision, we can have a business plan and I certainly encourage that, but there's so much that is not in our control. We have intentions and we create our plans and our projections for sales, for revenue, for profit margin for expenses, who will be on our team, what skills, resources, tools, we need to create and deliver the service or the value that we're going to.
Isabel: But then life happens. Stuff gets in the way, not to mention, the current pandemic, and how that has caused a lot of us to change how we are delivering our products and services, and the plans that we had made in 2019, now they all got tossed out the window, and had to be rewritten in 2020.
Isabel: And that is the other topic, the theme that we're talking about on the current Global Serial Entrepreneurs Summit number 2. We're talking openly and candidly and generously about what we do, how we take the lessons that are learned in times of unscheduled, unanticipated, unwelcome, difficulty, challenge... disruption... and how we take those lessons, and we use them. We leverage them, to transform, to reinvent to tweak, refine, and just be better. Be different. Be better and go forward. Crap will happen in life. Absolutely. There's a shirt like "Shit Happens". Right? It's when you're in it. Recognizing that it IS happening. Recognizing that it's not going to end immediately. You don't wake up the next morning and everything's back to the way it was recognizing within it, there are some valuable lessons to be claimed, and to use those later. And I've had conversations with several women already in the interviews, about exactly that, what they figured out, after they got off the couch and dusted themselves off after they've run out of Netflix shows to watch and snacks, to eat and said, OK. Enough, pity party stuff here. yes, the world is in an economic shutdown or disruption... now. But guess what? It's happened before, in history, or as I say, HERSTORY and life went on.
Isabel: And so now, what will I do? And how will I... I don't want to say pivot, everybody's saying pivot. So pirouette. Let's dance our way on to a new stage to do what we're going to do!
Isabel: The pandemic is very serious. I am not making light of... the challenges, the difficulties, the losses, occurred through that. But I believe, there have been an equal number of very positive things that have come out of this. Inventions, advancements, that we never would have anticipated. A change in the way we think where we can work, and how we can work, and who we need to work with. A change in how we deliver services to enhance and improve everybody's lives. And how we recognize what relationships and what resources we value most. And which are not essential, even though, a year ago, or a year and a half ago, we might've thought they were essential.
Isabel: And as we said, this isn't the first time and it isn't the last time, my business that I started 32 years ago, went through these cycles repeatedly. You know, there was the gasoline shortage or the petrochemical shortage, there were the very extreme interest rates that made borrowing or buying anything extraordinarily expensive. There was the absolute devastation of 9/11, and what happened to many industries for a long time after 9/11. The 2007, 2008 economic recession that was so destructive to real estate and finance industries and businesses. So many of us baby boomers lost a lot of our life savings or they were significantly reduced and we're all just still trying to rebuild. So, like the shirt says, "Shit Happens" and it's going to happen again.
Isabel: Be prepared to be resilient, gather the people around you, that will help you, they'll be your human trampolines to help you bounce back. That will share their knowledge, their wisdom.
Isabel: Join a tribe like the Evolutionary Women tribe and the Lift As You Climb Movement. So I'd like to just leave you with a couple of thoughts around when difficulties arise and decisions need to be made and they should be made without too much delay or too much procrastination
Isabel: Three things that I, like to, think through it as my anchor points for making those decisions: Number One:
Isabel: Have No Regrets.
Isabel: The worst thing that could happen to me a decade from now, is to look back today, and regret that I didn't start the business... create the product... reach out to the customers, deliver the value. That I thought of doing at the time.
Isabel: I don't want to live with regrets in my life at all. So I recommend if there's something that inspires you to grow, grab onto that, And go for it.
Isabel: Remember that each and every time we take on a new skill, a new career, a new business. Well, even a new relationship. We've never been that person, or in that position before. Each and every time that we do something new, we're part of something new. It's a new beginning. And we get to craft and create that script as we go forward. And don't be afraid, because every time you started something new before that you didn't know how to do, you figured it out! So pitter, patter get at her. And the last thing to share that is a factor in my decision making is...
Isabel: Will it be good for me and the people that I care most about?... And will it contribute value to others?
Isabel: Lift As You Climb is an extremely good value metric for making new decisions.
Isabel: On that note, I'd like to say good luck. With creating the future that you desire. Living your legacy. And while you do so, you're setting an example and empowering others to create their legacy and live it. So happy birthday or happy anniversary to my business.
Isabel: May this be the start of something wonderful in your life today!