What’s your excuse?

“You have already learned from the river that it is good to strive downwards, to sink, to seek the depths.” ― Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word entrepreneurship? In my opinion, it can be defined as an activity through which one aspires to find a new way or method to sell certain products and/or services. These ideas do not necessarily have to be freshly devised or never-seen-before inventions.

Looking back over my own previous efforts, I remember being in my hometown and buying a couple of old cameras that used 35mm film (e.g Zenit), bringing them to Istanbul or Berlin, and selling them on for double the price. I had not invented anything new at all. Probably, the fact that I was into film photography was enough; I knew that its popularity was increasing day by day, and it just clicked in my mind that I could carry out some trade. And that little bit of trade supplied me with enough money to keep up my favorite hobby.

At this very moment, I understand what I did back then. I engaged in something I did not have any theoretical knowledge of. Right now, however, I am aware that I am doing it. As I am currently in Izmir, with the EYE program, I realize that doing business is not out of reach;it only calls for one to be dynamic and have an interest in people’s current purchasing habits, or ongoing trends. Thus, I said to myself ‘Let’s explore and see what the Izmirians are trying to achieve, invent, offer and use to make their community unique.’ It was a huge surprise, not only to me but also to the local people working with me. Look at this enchanting part of Darağaç neighborhood; formerly an industrial region, but now a hub of small custom and classic car repair shops and artistic workshops. Indeed their call for “Engagement with the neighborhood through art and design” is thought-provoking; so we went there to check it out firsthand.

These people, the car mechanics and local artists (painters, DJs, sculptors) came together to reorganize the area and polish it into an attractive and unmissable spot for those who want to strive for a better community. Their activity inevitably provoked the well-known fresh fruit street vendors to move through the narrow streets and supply fuel for the entrepreneurs’ incessant brains. Likewise, on every corner, we saw tea shops and bakeries, two indispensable elements of Turkish daily life.

However, it is easier said than done. In the background, there is a great amount of sacrifice, struggle, sleepless nights and times people nearly give up. While writing my business plan, I too experienced a particular problem that could have caused me to give up. As I could not calculate the break-even point of my planned magazine’s sales forecasts, the struggle was enormous and lasted almost three weeks. The problem lay in the fact that my magazine would be digital, thus will not be subject to the costs associated with printing. But, I was uncompromising and decided to strive forwards, to delve into the depths of the internet, to reach the solution. And it was for good reason since I found an academic paper that solved my problem, which was about to be my reason to quit. It came from a university professor Josko Lozic and his work  “Zero marginal cost in magazine industry-Changing of cost paradigm in ‘new’ magazine industry, published just a few months before I started writing my business plan.

Let me conclude briefly by telling you to dream and plan at the same time, to venture out into the unknown, however painful, scary, or tiring it may be. Then and only then you will learn how to compete and, then and only then you will  grow to be unfrightened.

What’s your excuse not to?

P.S. Depeche Mode’s song ‘Dream on’ came into my mind, especially these verses:

There’s no time for hesitating
Pain is ready, pain is waiting
Primed to do its educating.

Vladimir Jovanovski
Proofreading by: Alley Coveney

What’s your excuse?

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