Nerma Albertorio Barnés is a Puerto Rican-born and raised entrepreneur and an active community leader in the entrepreneurial ecosystem on the island. One of her most significant accomplishments was the creation of Centro para Emprendedores (Center for Entrepreneurs) in 2012. Since then, she has been able to impact over six thousand people, help establish over 100 small businesses and startups, and design and successfully implement entrepreneurship educational programs. More recently, after the hit of Hurricanes Irma and María and the Pandemic, her work was crucial in defining how to support small businesses during a crisis after natural disasters. She helped raise over 10M in capital for startups and small business owners during her career. Because of her contributions, Nerma was recognized as Mentor of the year in 2015 and Puerto Rico Entrepreneurship Pillar in 2018; she is a Cordes Foundation Fellow and an Aspen Fellow. Also, Nerma is a co-founder of 100 Ventures, a private firm that provides support services to startups and small businesses. Recently she joined Project Makers, the first private social impact fund in Puerto Rico, as Co-Manager Director.
There is a time when something begins to spark, and you start to want something more. You begin to feel that your work is not enough, that you are stuck, that you cannot grow, or that you are not happy anymore. And these feelings are perfectly normal sometimes… You are not being disgraceful; you know that you can do more, and the challenge is needed. If you feel something like this, let me tell you that this sentiment is not going away unless you do something about it. And then the second thoughts and the fear usually take place. This is normal too.
So, let me share with you some simple tips to address this and help you become the entrepreneur inside you.
- Make a list of all your ideas. Usually, the best ones come from your personal experience and/or knowledge.
- Put them in order from the most complicated to the easiest.
- Choose one idea.
- Do the experiment. Try to create a minimum viable product with what you have. There is only a little investment at this stage, just enough to make a few sales and confirm if someone is willing to pay for what you are offering. Not all great ideas represent great businesses.
- Once you identify a business opportunity, prepare yourself.
- Prepare yourself with education.
- Prepare your finances to embark on this journey.
- Ask for help; you cannot do this alone!
With these simple steps, you can begin a transition from employee to entrepreneur. When they ask for my advice, I always tell people that we have all we need to do it. No one can tell you if your idea is good or bad. The market is the one that speaks. If you have something that people are willing to pay for, you have a business opportunity. If you do the experiment and there is no response, that is not a business opportunity, and there is nothing wrong with that. You go to the next idea, always learning and listening to your client. They are the ones that are going to give you the direction that you need to be successful.
Another insight I can share with you is to start listening to the stories of other entrepreneurs. You will find out that they are just people like you and me. Each of us embarks on a journey to become an entrepreneur with many challenges, risks, and a tremendous amount of satisfaction. I need to highlight that you will make mistakes and sometimes fail, which is part of it. Usually, we are not taught to become an entrepreneur or to start something; we are prepared to educate ourselves to find a good job and get a good retirement pension. But what happens when this reality is no longer available? We are capable of creating our own wealth and path to prosperity. It is not in the hands of others.
I hope that the next time you feel the need to do something more, you can follow these simple steps to understand that you have all you need to make things happen. Above all, know that this is a journey you do not do alone! It would be best if you had a team and a support system. Please find it and do it!