by Luk Cox
From Eleanor: It’s National Small Business Week in the United States! In honor of this week celebrating enterprising entrepreneurs, on the blog we will be highlighting stories from Shapeways shop owners focused on how they are building and running their businesses using 3D printing. This entry comes from Luk Cox, a Shapeways Crew Member and one half of somersault18:24, a company dedicated to using beautiful design raising awareness about science that is based on Belgium. After starting and working to grow somersault18:24, Luk transitioned out of his job as a research scientist to work on somersault18:24 full time. You can learn more about somersault18:24′s designs in their Designer Spotlight, but here Luk focuses on how you can make the leap to create a business from your interest or passion.
Do you ever find yourself dreaming about starting a business, but telling yourself things like, “The economy has to recover first,” or “I have to study a bit more,” or “I need to grow my network of connections before I can start, and then I’ll take the leap. Then the time will be right…”
I’ve found that the right time will never arrive. It’s a myth. We are scared of the unknown. It is engrained in our brain. Safety and stability, that is what we’re after. From an evolutionary point of view, this makes sense. There was always a vast amount of threats around us, and still there is. It changed only from wild animals to economical crisis (or whatever threat you are experiencing).
I struggled with this fear for a long time and it’s something I still face on a regular basis. It took me more than 2 years to live my entrepreneurial dream. But here I am, finally.
I knew very early in my life that I wanted to be a scientist. And that is what I became. I worked in a research lab for more than 10 years. I loved it.
But a few years ago, I started to realize that we as scientists are living on our own planet. As I spoke with people about what I do, I saw that for many, science reminds them of the boring and often abstract classes they experienced as teenagers. It reminds them of geeky professors that spend their days is nerdy laboratories. I realized that science has an image problem.
This is unfair, because science is fascinating. While most people know about all the fantastic advancements, knowledge and technology that science has given us in the last centuries, it still remains inaccessible to them.