Having just quit my job and embarked upon my life as an entrepreneur, I thought I would share some tips from my experience and from what I have learned through others. The initial transition from employed to self-employed was scary, but exciting. Here are ten tips to get you through that phase and become a full fledged entrepreneur creating a life on your own terms:
Don’t hide from fear, use it
I have often heard people say don’t be afraid, show no fear etc. But fear will be present. It is natural and there is nothing wrong with fear. Anybody who tells you they were not afraid is either lying or is one step further away from self awareness than you and I. As you begin the entrepreneurial journey, take note of your fear. Be present of it and use it to drive you forward. Through fear, you may find inspiration on how to cross a certain bridge or realize the devastating reality of what could happen if you succumb to it. But it’s presence creates awareness. When you feel it, ask yourself what lies on the other side of that fear? When you have your answer, smash through the wall. Drag your fear, bruised and beaten (but still present) to the power that lies beyond it. Remember, “courage is not the absence of fear, but the judgement that something else is more important than fear.” – Meg Cabot
Have a sense of humor and be positive
No matter what happens in your journey, be able to laugh about it. In Iraq, it was a running joke that I would get blown up almost every day. To many, that sounds horrific. But if we didn’t laugh about it, we would only be able to cry about it. Although, that may be an extreme situation, nonetheless the principle applies and I took this lesson with me into my businesses. Laugh about everything, especially when things are going wrong, but learn from it and move forward with a strong positive mindset.
Your passion will show through in your work. If you love what you are doing, and you believe in your product or service with every inch of your being, it will radiate through your business. When you ooze passion, people want to hear about your business. They want to know what makes you so alive! Passion for your business and for every moment of your life will make the whole journey a fun adventure. Your passion will allow you to enjoy the ride.
Know your strengths and weaknesses. Be able to reasonably assess the skills and resources you have. Be real to yourself about every aspect of your business. Lying to yourself about it will only lead to failure. Along with that, be real to others. Authenticity is a treasured commodity, especially in this day and age when there is so much information available in seconds and no one knows whats real and whats fake. Be real when you talk about your business to others because actions speak louder than words. So before you start telling the world how amazing your business is, show it. That will make you more authentic than simply saying it.
Know how to connect with people
I highly recommend the old classic: How To Win Friends and Influence People I considered myself a great people person, but after reading that book, I discovered that I had a lot more to learn. We all do. As an entrepreneur, its up to you to get out there and sell your business to people. You have to not only be comfortable with this, but you have to be good at it. The more that people like you, the more they will be willing to invest in your business. You have to be confident in your ability to talk to people about your business. Get out there and become a networking guru.
Maintaining good health is important in life, so it is important for your business. When you feel good physically, you will feel ready to take on all the challenges of being an entrepreneur. The lessons you learn from the suffering, the pain and the joy of exercise will translate to your business as well. Being physically fit will teach you dedication and discipline. Check out this article for a list of 12 ways that fitness training will make you a better entrepreneur.
Be able to adapt
After my speech at Verizon a few weeks ago, someone asked me what would be the number one skill that I think would lead to success. My answer was the ability to adapt. No matter what life throws at you, you have to adapt, take the lessons from it and move forward. As an entrepreneur, you will have many ups and downs. You cannot stay content during the ups or lose hope during the downs. You must adapt and grow while riding the roller coaster. Be open to change, even when you fear it. No growth can happen without change. Learn how to love it, be with it and adapt to it.
Develop a strong online presence and online marketing skills
In today’s day and age, an online presence and social media skills are a necessity. Your website will be the face of your business. You need to know how to use it and market it to the outside world. That’s where social media comes in as well. Trust me, I used to be very against facebook, twitter, all of it. Until I started to use them to their full advantage and get value out of them. These tools give you a lot of power. Know how to use them.
Take baby steps
It is scary to think about how big you want your business to be. It can be daunting. Your fear will overwhelm you. I used to ask myself, how can I start my own adventure company? There are so many others out there, what makes me think I can even be a player in this field? How can I create the most successful adventure company in the world? There were no answers to these questions. I believed in my power, but the fear still presented itself. To conquer it, take the journey one step at a time. Break it down into all the little action steps you need to take today. Now, I am not worried about where my business will be 5 years from now. I concern myself with the tasks I need to do today. Break your entire journey into small steps and focus on each one while you are on that step. A famous Buddhist quote states that “the greatest effort is not concerned with results.”
Have an unwavering focus, commitment and clarity. Use them to constantly grow
Many people in life say things like I want more money or I want to have a successful company. You must be clear on what exactly you want. How much money? What does success mean to you? Define it and be clear about it. Clarity will give you power. Once you have the clarity, commit to it. Focus on it every day. You must be willing to take the time to read the books, talk to the people who have created success, use all the tools you have in your playbook, including social media. You must be committed to doing it all and to keep growing. When you grow as a person, that will make your business grow. Be committed and stay focused on your dream and everything you want to create in life. What you focus on, you will receive.
As always, if you have any questions or input you would like for me, feel free to contact me. I would love to hear more about your business and/or share any further knowledge I have gained from others and my own life experience. Charge onward and best wishes to you in your entrepreneurial journey.