By Dee and Emily Karawadra
The Oxford dictionary defines resilience as the ability to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions. Having been entrepreneurs for over 30 years, Dee can tell you that you can't be one without resilience.
There is no doubt that every entrepreneur fails at least once, most likely multiple times before finding success. Reflecting on his work, Thomas Edison said, "I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won't work." This is a quote we use around our office often.
If we don't succeed or find the right solution, at least we know what won't work. Part of pushing your boundaries is exhausting all options. Here's a personal experience from Dee:
Before I entered the payments industry, I tried my hand at several businesses. My first experience at being an entrepreneur was when I was 16, I decided to get into the technology world and became a reseller for a pager/beeper company. This was my first experience being a reseller. I had to set up shop in my bedroom programming pagers, mailing invoices and doing tech support. I got the taste of being my own boss, and I liked it. Unfortunately for my big idea, cell phone technology came along shortly thereafter, pushing my service to be obsolete.
Over the years I have owned and operated many businesses. Some succeeded; others did not. In my earlier years, I was trying to find my niche. I had a mobile pressure washing business where I learned what real sweat and tears are. This was a great business but one that required physical labor and, although I am not opposed to physical labor, I knew I would wear and tear. That business was not a failure but one I knew I could not physically sustain long-term.
I then was introduced to the payment industry where I found my passion. These are just a few of my past experiences that helped prepare me to work with Emily to own and build our own independent sales organization.
Few of us are born with the kind of resilience needed to be an entrepreneur. Look at Steve Jobs and his story. His career at Apple wasn't a string of successes start to finish. Along the way, some of his design ideas weren't well received at Apple or by the public, so he went elsewhere. He continued to craft his designs and technology until he returned to Apple and found huge success.
This is a characteristic needed in order to find success in anything. We have not found success on the level of Apple; however, we do know the feeling of working hard, overcoming the struggles and building a successful company. This type of resilience is not only required of us, as company leaders, but also of our team. We look for this in all our team members. The ability to fall and get back up and dust off is essential. A large part of a successful company is the strength of its team.
We, as a husband and wife team, have had to develop this resilience in many ways. Each of us is an entrepreneur married to an entrepreneur. The highs and lows of this situation can be hard on any marriage or business partnership. Along with sharing the hard work, a commitment to the end result also must be shared. Fortunately, in this way, we are like-minded. We both can weather the falls and enjoy the climbs in marriage, parenting and business. And having the support needed at home has attributed to building our business.
Ross Perot once said, "Most people give up just when they're about to achieve success. They quit on the one-yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game, one foot from a winning touchdown." This is something we won't allow one another to do. Giving up is not an option.
More than likely, you are already resilient or are becoming resilient in some form. It could be in the way that you stand your ground with underwriters, processors, ISOs, agents or risk evaluators – the list goes on.
Before opening Impact PaySystem, we both had business experience. While some experiences were more successful than others, each and every one taught us valuable lessons. Any business will have highs and lows. It's inevitable. The key is to survive the lows and thrive on the highs.
Being an entrepreneur does not guarantee a successful business. We generally hear more about people's successes than about their failures, but failures are valuable learning opportunities. Think of them as points on the road map to success.
Needless to say, we haven't had a Big Idea that has made us billions of dollars. What we have learned is that running a business is not as easy as it looks, and it takes a thick skin to be able to survive the challenges, as well as resilience to rise above mere survival and thrive.
Dee Karawadra is president and CEO of Impact PaySystem, and Emily Karawadra is the company's chief financial officer. Since 2001, Impact PaySystem has been a leading provider of payment processing technologies and services to merchants throughout the United States. Through alliances with payments industry leaders such as Chase Paymentech, First Data, Buypass, Sage and more, Impact PaySystem offers tailored solutions to meet the unique needs of each merchant. Dee and Emily will welcome your questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, respectively.
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