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How Bad Do You Really Want It?


I attended Detroit Start Up Week for the second year and it was amazing on a multitude of levels. This is the largest conference for entrepreneurs in Michigan and it is all free. Yes, you read that right. The entire week, every workshop, every reception, every meal, totally and completely free. 

I got to be inspired by industry experts, like John Henry from the hit show Vice (yes that’s us above), and empath Carla Walker Miller from Walker Miller Energy, unicorn company founders (those that have hit the billion dollar mark), and a myriad of black women panelists, such as, influencer Bria Larine and Femology HQ founder and women’s empowerment activist, Meagan Ward, discussing their trials and triumphs as entrepreneurs.

I attended about eight workshops a day (yes that’s about 40 workshops), examples include, using your book as your business card, content creation, free small business tools, entrepreneurial activism, creating a website in Word Press, and more. I left feeling rejuvenated, connected, filled with new ideas, and hope for big entrepreneurial moves in the future. 

All I kept thinking about the entire week was why weren’t more people in attendance. Yes, the conference draws 15,000 people across the week. That could be one workshop attended or in my case, forty, so the reality is there is still plenty of room for more people to attend, especially from different parts of Michigan considering the conference is only two hours away. Believe it or not, out of the 100’s of people I met, I was the only one from Kalamazoo. 

I get it. I’m a full time entrepreneur with complete freedom to control my schedule, but if I’m not working, just like anyone, I’m not literally being paid. Any time I’m on vacation, sick, have to tend to my child, networking, or investing in my professional development, that’s time I’m not making money. 

Even though I have been a full time entrepreneur for twelve years, operating, Change Agent Consulting, LLC, I still invest in my development on a regular, because there is so much more for me to learn, be inspired by, and take action on. I keep my eye on the prize by remembering that investment in myself for the short term is going to produce exceptional results for the long term

I know it’s tempting, and sometimes very real, to look at the immediacy of things, like banking our time off for something really pressing, or not losing much needed income. If we’re serious about our growth and development, learning all we can in business to be profitable, and making any changes we profess to desire, our actions have to be in alignment.

We can say all day long how much we want something, but until we actually do something about it, it’s just talk. You have no idea the number of women I come across who for years have said they wanted to leave their jobs, but they just don’t know how to do it. This is in spite of the many conversations we’ve had about how I launched, the business support programs that currently exist, and access to the world wide web.

At the end of the day, we have to get real with ourselves about how bad we really want change. If we’re not doing anything to create change, then we don’t really want it, or more specifically, our pain to remain the same is more potent than the pain of wanting to change. What I know for sure is this, that when we decide we’ve had enough with business as usual, action becomes easy. We will probably have to make some sacrifices along the way, for example, vacation time, unpaid work days, sleepless nights, time away from family, because this entrepreneurship thang is not a game. If you want this, then come to play. 

 Let’s do this,

Demarra Gardner


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