Five things I learned the hard way when I became an entrepreneur
I love to share what I learn so that others do not have to repeat the same mistakes I did.
Those of you who started a business would know what a tremendous learning experience that is. I believe having a child and starting a business are the two major milestones in life that teaches a lot about ourselves.
Here are the 5 things I had to learn on my own:
1. Answer the question WHY you want to be in this business (besides making money or being flexible etc.) What it really means to you in your heart. Who do you want to serve and what problem are you solving for them? Why do you care about this business versus another one? This is so much more important than a business plan. When you get clarity on your why, everything else falls into place smoothly and people feel your passion. When you are going through the roller coaster of building your own business, your why, your purpose, will be your driving force. Keep it on a post-it in front of you at all times.
2. Do not try to solve all your business problems in your mind. You need to listen to your intuition. Your chatter in your brain will mostly try to keep you safe and take less risks. Yes, it serves a purpose so that you don’t find yourself on the streets but it is important to find a good balance between your intuition and your mind. Some days, things will pop up that you did not have in your business plan and you will want to follow these new paths because it will feel right.
3. Find a good scheduling system that works for you; not only for building your business but also for taking care of yourself. Add your gym hours or your morning walk to your schedule, otherwise you will never get to it. This might be a time that you have intentional imbalance in your life because you want to build something new. That is OK. Own it. Talk to your loved ones. Set their expectations right. Tell them you have to spend more time on this new “baby” for a while and share with them your why, at the same time, show them you scheduled quality time with them with no distractions. It might be a date night, a family dinner, a family trip or whatever is good for you.
Do not put all your to-do items on the same blank page; it is overwhelming. Categorize them based on what you need to do this month/this week/today and hide whatever can wait until next month. If you complete a lot of items and have more time in your hands, then take them out and add a few more items to your list. Start with 3-5 tasks per day not with 20 to avoid feeling like a failure at the end of the day. ( I did this for too long!)
4. Discover your money story. If you are like me, you might have sold millions of dollars worth of products for a company that you worked for and have a very hard time asking money for your services. You will feel like you are just starting this; so you should go low. This is wrong. When you are purposeful as we mentioned in item #1, you are serving not selling. It is for the good of others. You have so much experience until you got here. You are at this point in time when you want to use your life and work skills for the benefit of others. You believe in yourself and your product. If you are young with no work experience, you have a drive to do something with who you are. Either way you need to know your worth. If you don’t, people you meet won’t either. You will attract the clients who don’t have the money to pay you. Find your money story from your past and see if it needs to change before you start your business.
5. Do not wait until everything is perfect to go out and tell what you are doing. My background is in marketing, so I know the value of having a website, a business card, and a flyer but actually people choose you more than anything. Not even your credentials. Who you are, how you show up, your energy, your authenticity will shine through. If you are at the beginning don’t be shy; people will show up to help you. The people I did not know at all contributed me the most in my journey and I am grateful.
Most important, if you are experiencing any of this you are NOT alone! It is OK. We all learn from each other or the hard way by hitting some walls.