Take the Steps
How do we find those fruitful seeds? The process includes two initial and transforming steps.
1. Let go of limiting questions.
Those questions create dichotomies between what I have been versus what I wanted to be and between what I have and what I lack.
2. Engage in expansive, strength-based thoughts, and invite self-reflection into your life.
Questions take on a rapid and uplifting turn:
- What skills, confidence and knowledge does one possess?
- What lessons has one learned from successes and challenges? This allows us to observe and understand situations early, and respond quickly and strategically to developing challenges.
- What did one learn from mentors and advisers earlier in life? How would that knowledge apply for an entrepreneur?
Answers to these strength-based questions begin to pour. Surely, there are things weve done that required entrepreneurial skills building our confidence and expanding our knowledge.
For me, the realization of my entrepreneurial seeds emerged when I amplified the lens through which I examined my accomplishments. Rapidly, I realized that I always start projects by identifying my relevant skills and knowledge, and I go from there with confidence.
This approach always allows me to take the first step. I honed in on those assets to start my nonprofit-consulting business and made a mental note for myself. I share some for illustration purposes.
Be Aware of Assets
In graduate school, I was an insightful and effective researcher.
I negotiated academic projects and amounts for fellowships with professors and school administrators, wrote theses and funding proposals, and developed budgets for research trips. In addition, I built rapport with diplomats, business leaders, social activists and government officials in the U.S. and abroad as part of the work I was doing for my dissertation.
I delivered presentations and participated in radio and TV interviews on Latino stations in Chicago, where I lived, because I was studying Latino immigration to the U.S. The list went on, and so did my confidence, knowledge and positive outlook on business development.
I also reflected on lessons learned. On a couple of occasions, I had to draw on resilience and determination to a level I did not know I had to get through challenging projects. And I did it. So that counts, and I took note of it.
Aware of these transferable assets, I endeavored to launch my consulting business summarily. In this capacity, I researched the field of nonprofit consulting, wrote a business plan, built rapport with experienced consultants who graciously provided insightful advice, networked with business and nonprofit leaders and philanthropists, volunteered my consulting services, joined nonprofit boards, attended fundraisers and became a donor. In addition,
I committed myself to being a mentor to others after becoming an experienced consultant. I believe giving is receiving.
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About the author
Mara Perez, Ph.D. As Founder and Principal of Mara Perez, Fund Development and Planning Services, Mara provides fundraising and strategic planning services to non-profits. Mara has helped over seventy organizations obtain funding, design innovative work strategies, and execute growth plans. Mara holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago. Community service includes: 2010-present Board Member of Marin General Hospital; 2002-2012 Board Member Canal Alliance, twice Board President; 2005 Spirit of Marin Award, Business Person of the Year; Coro Leadership Community Fellow. She has published articles about immigration, social change, and fundraising. Born in Argentina, Mara resides in California.