Labels Are for Canned Soup
The Journey from Pharmacist to Entrepreneur
Let’s get real for a moment. Over the last few years I have spent lots of time listening to talks, reading entrepreneurial books and learning from mentors. I have come to my own decision that labels should be for canned soup and canned soup only. In the past 3 years we, my husband and I, have brought the Drug ID, pill identification app from idea to reality. I will be the first to say it was not all rainbows and sunshine – we may have made it look that way; but it was a journey.
Here’s the thing: we built an app to identify medications, in a way that hasn’t been done before, and we were determined to see it through. I thought I was prepared, as much as possible for the ups and downs of starting a business or as some label “entrepreneurship”. However, I was not prepared for the personal struggles along the way. Let me explain.
When I started this journey I was a pharmacist. I had a full time job where I was the pharmacist in charge for a high volume retail store. Wanting to put more time into our goals, I started to cut back hours and just float for an agency. Several individuals asked, “So what do you do now?” or “Why would you ever leave pharmacy?” For so many years that’s all I was “labeled” – a pharmacist. Somehow evolving into a new role to achieve this goal was like I having to redefine myself. Another way I put it is I was “undefining” me.
Cross out the word pharmacist and enter any profession. Let’s say you were a teacher, a dentist, a florist; and now you want to follow your passion of baking. Great, go after it with every ounce of your being. Be ready because one day, when the pieces of the puzzle don’t quite fit remember that “entrepreneurs need to be able to withstand uncertainty”. You’re in limbo, you’re not who you used to be, and you have not yet fully planted a flag in the country of your new endeavor. Or maybe you have, but everyone is still questioning your success; which makes you question yourself. What I have found is that it is not always about uncertainty in your product, your idea, or your business model. The uncertainty is in who you are at that moment of your entrepreneur process.
This was a big hurdle to overcome in the transition into the new role of “business owner.” Maybe as an entrepreneur you have been here and can relate. I will always be a pharmacist – that knowledge can never be taken away. However, that title or label does not define who I am, it is just one part of who I am. Without being a pharmacist I would have never had such a desire to save time and lives and create a new way to identify pills. Drug ID might have never been created. Sure, there were those who said I “was crazy to step back from full time pharmacy” and those who then asked, “what exactly are you now?” I am where I am on this journey and it may not have a title or a label, and that’s ok. Don’t worry about the labels and where you are at – focus on where you are going.