Stairway to Heaven- Birth of an Entrepreneur

by Fern on August 18, 2009

Fotolia_8266732_XSI was listening to the song-Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin on the radio, and I recalled a conversation with a college friend who said, “Fern, Listen to that. This song is going to be a classic for many years.”

He was a handsome guy who was a friend of a friend- like many that came by my apartment to talk late into the night with others while sharing a joint. We were all LSU New Orleans college kids during the economic recession of the 70s, and a war that everyone hated and rampant racism throughout the City that not just pitted whites and blacks but whites against whites for cause.

There’s a feeling I get
When I look to the west,
And my spirit is crying for leaving.

My apartment on Wadsworth was a three bedroom flat I shared with other roommates and drugs, music, food and people would raft in and out at all hours. I worked and went to school and struggled like others with what I wanted to be when I grew up. I had friends that had already graduated with masters degrees and they were washing dishes and waitressing like me. Unlike me, they were saddled with student loans. I refused to get into debt to pay for a piece of paper that didn’t really help me get a job. I wanted out of the 9-5 with lunch and coffee breaks and creepy managers that were on parole and co-workers who were proud of how fast they could wrap a Whopper. I felt deep in my being that wasn’t how I wanted to spend my work life.

Yes, there are two paths you can go by
But in the long run
There’s still time to change the road you’re on.

In Boulder, Colorado I got a taste of making my own way. As a hairdresser I was on commission to the owner. I could make as much money as I wanted but bringing in clients and doing the work was my responsibility. It opened my eyes to the potential that lay before me but also the additional task of marketing myself as a stylist. If I succeeded it was because of me and if I failed, it was because of me.

There walks a lady we all know
Who shines white light and wants to show
How everything still turns to gold.

I never looked back for a job. I always wanted to be my own boss. I bumbled lots of opportunities because of my lack of skills but eventually I “got it”. Now I love to counsel and help others climb their stairway out of dead end 9-5 jobs. My young coach, Clay, calls it –The Freedom Business. I smile because it is just plain old entrepreneurship. Taking an idea or service and getting excited about it and executing that into something that helps others and makes you bucks –sounds free but it is a lot of work too- just a different kind. I would like to coach him to realize that true freedom is financial independence where you choose not to work at all. He’s not ready to hear that yet. Maybe when he is 40?

And if you listen very hard
The tune will come to you at last.
When all are one and one is all
To be a rock and not to roll.

I don’t know what happened to my college friend but he was right. This song is and will always be something of a classic tune to be enjoyed throughout the ages very much like the “freedom” business of my young friend and others.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Annette August 23, 2009 at 7:49 pm

This is my favorite thing I have read on the web in a long time. I simultaneously transported to the first time I tried to play “Stairway to Heaven” on the guitar and sitting here now inspired to fuel the “plain old entrepreneur” in me to find my own stairway….to freedom. Thanks for the trip Fern.

Ace September 13, 2009 at 8:29 am

Your tale is indeed heart warming.

Many of us face the same confusion. We all wan to be enthrepreneurs,yet we fear to get rid of the salaried job.

Sometimes its the tales of others that tells us that it can be done

Fern September 21, 2009 at 7:11 pm

Yes, it is hard to build a business from scratch nowadays when people are working more than 40 hours a week and got a load of stuff to do after that just to maintain a life. But— people do it.

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