What It Takes To Be An Entrepreneur

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If a Art History major, former teacher and Congressional Aide can be an entrepreneur, so can you.

By Charlotte L. Newman (Co-Founder & COO, Team Fenom)

My parents allege they knew from the time my sister began selling her drawings to them at five years old that she would become an entrepreneur. A member of my high school’s debate team and more prone to commiserate on the failings of the United States public education system than talk about earnings per share, the same was not said of me.

There is much mythology around the entrepreneurial mind and questions persist of whether some people are predisposed to assuming entrepreneurial risk.

Yet, what I have learned from launching my first company is that no one is born an entrepreneur. The propensity to launch a business is not a birthright. You are an entrepreneur simply because you start something. And, most importantly, come hell or high water, you do not quit!

The critical lesson of “start and don’t quit” was hard won over the last two years. After graduating in 2010 from Harvard Business School, I turned down a typical post-MBA job at State Street Bank in Boston. I needed to find a job that I wasn’t planning an exit strategy for on day one. I picked a city that I have always loved, Chicago, and moved there with every confidence a job would soon follow. Only it didn’t. Despite meetings with some of Chicago’s veritable kingmakers including former White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers, President of Ariel Investments Mellody Hobson and Chairman of Johnson Publishing Company Linda Johnson Rice, I could not find a position that fit.

I eventually landed in my parents’ home in Atlanta with a bruised ego and a reality check. On the positive end, returning home allowed me to begin working with my sister, Antonia, a former European professional basketball player.

Ever passionate about women’s sports, I consulted Antonia on how to advance women’s sports through a web platform, while I searched for the “right” six-figure position. Only there was no right role. As I became more engaged in helping my sister with her sports project, my job search began to suffer.

One day it clicked – I needed to forge my own path, and becoming an entrepreneur would allow me to do that.

This “aha” moment led me to suspend my job search and join Antonia in co-founding Team Fenom, a women’s sports lifestyle and news site. Starting Team Fenom is a culmination of formative experiences. I ran track and played basketball for nearly ten years. I attended Wellesley College where I gained a desire to pursue work that improves the world for others and advance causes important to women. Antonia and I envision success with Team Fenom as encouraging more girls to play sports and raising the profile of professional female athletes.

My pace in building Team Fenom has necessarily intensified. I now have a singular focus on building the largest community for active women and women’s sports fans. The majority of my time is spent on communicating with and growing our online audience via the Team Fenom website and our social media pages as well as developing partnerships with sports teams and organizations.

My path to entrepreneurship was a veritable emotional and literal journey. If you are considering becoming an entrepreneur, refuse to believe that entrepreneurship is the birthright of a lucky few. If the Art History major who happens to be a former teacher and Congressional Aide can be one, so can you.

Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below.

Photo credit: Jeroen Bosman on Flickr.

About the guest blogger: Charlotte Newman is the co-founder of Team Fenom, the first online community for women’s sports fans that showcases phenomenal female athletes and promotes women’s sports. She sits on the boards of Startup Atlanta and the Harvard Business School Club of Atlanta. In her spare time, Charlotte is an avid runner and huge sports fan. She holds a BA from Wellesley College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Follow her on Twitter at @charnewman.