You may not have thought about being an entrepreneur when you were dreaming of what you’d be when you grew up. In fact, the idea of tying yourself to the business world may have been the last thing on your mind.
You may have imagined being a cop, a firefighter, a doctor or even an astronaut; you certainly never thought you’d be fighting for your survival in a world of inventors, investors, and marketing.
We can learn a lot from Alison Elgress, from the subscription service, “BusyBox.” In her junior year of college, she took part in a contest called “Innovation in Action,” which was sponsored by the University of Michigan. The idea of the contest was to encourage students to think of an answer to a real health problem and address it in a unique way.
Her team decided to address safe sex as a topic and thought BusyBox as a way to ship safe sex supplies directly to homes. BusyBox is a subscription service that specializes in supplies like lubes, UTI and pregnancy testing kits, condoms, and educational materials.
Even after Alison’s team won the competition, she hesitated to devote any time to BusyBox because she thought she wasn’t busy savvy enough to succeed. She was crippled by the fear that her business wouldn’t be taken seriously and that she fell far short of being qualified to run it.
She conquered the self-doubt for the most part but admits that she still has reservations from time to time. Alison has to remind herself that the concepts of being a successful entrepreneur are understanding your own weaknesses, overcoming your uncertainty in starting a new venture, and embracing your failures.
Alison loves being an entrepreneur. She loves the diversity of each day; every minute is new, and her life’s work is never boring. She loves to dabble in every aspect of her company, from calling supplies, dreaming up new marketing strategies, or building her website.
Above all, Alison loves the “company dress code” of jeans and sweatshirts, as well as the freedom of being her own boss at the young age of 20.
Mind Your Own Business
Alison Elgress is driven by the passion for the company’s future. She appreciates the potential BusyBox has to change the lives of many people by allowing them to control their own happiness and sexual health. Alison also knows that she is opening up channels for discussion on a topic that is often taboo and seldom spoken about.
For many entrepreneurs, the drive to invent the next big idea is the motivation. For Alison, though, the idea drove the process instead. She is still uncertain of the future for her company, but she is determined to make it work.
Alison advises all aspiring entrepreneurs that in order to succeed, you need to take a step out of the comfort zone. She has learned to be successful in things she never excelled at before, such as public speaking or sales. She has learned to embrace her weakness and failures so she can learn from them, improve them, and grow her company to meet the future she has in mind for it.
Alison admits that she still falls victim to doubts and sometimes wonders if she is accomplished enough in business to succeed. When she does, though, she reminds herself that no one is born a successful entrepreneur and she has as good a chance of success as anyone else out there.