When one thing leads to another: the “accidental entrepreneur”.

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My new dentist sent me to the lab today to have a “color match”  for a bridge.  As is my habit when I meet someone with an unusual occupation, I just had to ask the proprietor why he started a dental lab. Did he know when he was a child that he wanted to make dentures and crowns when he grew up? It just doesn’t seem like a career that a little boy would aspire to.

He said he started out as a jeweler and when he was having difficulty learning to cast, he asked a dentist for some help. (Did you know that many dentists make jewelry as a hobby?  They already have many of the same skills, tools and materials.)  He said one thing led to another and he began working in the dentist’s office making teeth. Eventually, he saw the opportunity and opened his own lab.

His story got me thinking about how many people end up as “accidental” entrepreneurs, doing one thing when they set out to do something else.

My own career followed very much that “one thing led to another” route.

I always knew  I wanted to teach. Like many aspiring educators,  one of my favorite childhood activities was to play “school”.  As an art education major, my plan was to start my own early childhood creative arts program.  I assumed I’d be self-employed but it all took a very different path than I had envisioned and it’s been a wonderful, round-about journey back to teaching. As I think about my own entrepreneurial adventures, I see that each metamorphosis was the result of “one thing leading to another”.

What about YOU? What coincidences or challenges have taken you in a different direction?  Is there something in your present job or business that might serendipitously lead to something else? Is there a part of the work you do now that could lead you down a path to a more satisfying livelihood? What’s your “one thing led to another” story?

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