“Leaders are made, not born” – Vincent Lombardi
I’m sure you’ve seen this quote before or some variation of it. The same thing can be said about entrepreneurs. If you are always looking for ways to help people find solutions to their problems, you may have the telltale signs of an entrepreneur.
When I first started out in my career, I knew that I eventually wanted to start my own business. At the time, however, I thought it would be something I did after I retired. Or at the earliest, after the kids were all grown up and left home. A second career, I suppose.
Never did I think that I would take the leap as the mom of two toddlers and the primary breadwinner. Until I was actually doing it. But I made it happen and couldn’t be happier!
It was scar and there were lots of things I wish I had known sooner when I was getting started as a new business owner.
I’ll share some of what I learned with you.
#1 Shine Your Light! Having Ambition Is A Good Thing
Ambitious people believe that through hard work and dedication, the sky is the limit. Perhaps you’ve been working hard throughout your career but feel like there’s something more for you.
If you’ve read the stories of successful entrepreneurs, you were likely inspired by the story of how they overcame all the challenges that stood in their way to create the businesses they have.
You can relate to them more since you know for a fact that you’ve gone through (or will go through) a similar process.
Now let’s move on to something that’s closer to your heart and soul.
This is what gets you out of bed each and every morning, pushing you forward in hops to one day reap the benefits of all your hard work. Your vision will keep you going even when things seem like they will be impossible.
Take a moment to think about how you want your business to be. What’s it like? Here’s some tips to help you develop your vision.
#2 The #1 Way To Develop A Vision
“People who ask confidently get more than those who are hesitant and uncertain. When you’ve figured out what you want to ask for, do it with certainty, boldness, and confidence. Don’t feel shy or feel intimidated by the experience. You may face some unexpected criticism but be prepared for it with confidence.” – Jack Canfield
“You gotta be able to take criticism if you want to be anything close to great. Even if it’s not true. You use that as an advantage for yourself. You can use that negative energy and turn that into an energy that drives you to be something more than you through you could be.” – DeMan DeRozan
It doesn’t matter what others say about what you’re trying to do, there’s a voice inside your head that tells you to keep going. You se the criticism of others as fuel to drive your business forward. This is an important characteristic of being an entrepreneur.
Dreaming about the impossible is a sign of having great vision.
Think of a dream that is so big and exciting that it scares you. Then stay focused on your vision no matter what might come your way. Keep your eye on the prize.
Create a vision board filled with goals, quotes, targets, and photos related to your business. Look at it everyday as a reminder of your goals and dreams and to help you keep your eye on the prize.
Now that we have your vision in place, it’s time to get a little bit more practical. Are you a person who can find opportunities in the face of problems? This will be essential as an entrepreneur.
#3 Do This And You Will Endure In Business: Find Opportunities In Problems
If you find something that is a problem or inconvenient for you, the chances are that it’s the same for others.
No matter how crazy you think the problem or solution is, there is probably a market for it somewhere.
Once you have found your niche, start the data gathering process through surveys and research to determine whether there is a market for your solutions. Ask your audience what they want and need. Their feedback will be the key ingredient to creating your solutions.
None of this is to say that you won’t be afraid when you’re running your business. I’m still afraid on some level each and every day. An MBA isn’t going to erase the fear and uncertainty of running your business. The important thing to know is that it’s OKAY.
My last job before starting my own business was working for a startup. I thought this experience would tell me everything I needed to know about running my own business. How wrong I was! I’ve learned so much since venturing out on my own.
#4 Business Is A Journey: Do Not Be Scared Of The Unknown
When you are launching a new business, you are accepting one of the biggest challenges around. Those who are afraid of unpredictability can’t flourish because they will be too afraid to take risks.
Regardless of how you feel about your current job, you may want to consider starting your own business. I liked my job but decided to start my own business anyway. Part-time. There is something about the freedom of making all of your own decisions that cannot be replaced.
Get out of your comfort zone. Take the first step. You will not be able to build your business without risk, so go for it!
Staying in your comfort zone feels better, but you’ll never reap the rewards of being your own boss without putting yourself out there. As a business owner, you will spend a lot of time exploring the world outside of your comfort zone, but it is well worth the journey!
After all the hard work and challenges that come with planning to put up your business comes its rewards. Think of your schedule daily when you were an employee. How many hours do you spend in the office? How about getting to work and coming home? With all the stress and pressure, how many hours of sleep do you get? You’re limited to so little time when you’re an employee. This is where being your own boss makes a difference. When I was working in corporate America, I was spending 70+ hours a week doing work-related stuff. Commuting, getting ready, and meetings, etc. I was seeing my children five hours total each Monday – Friday and simply couldn’t take it anymore. I loved my work and colleagues, but I hated the time away from my family.
#5 Two Ways To Work At Your Own Pace
benefit of being your own boss is the ability to work at your own pace.
Most entrepreneurs are more productive with flexible deadlines. One example is people who are night owls who can get more done than they would at a 9-5 job.
Everyone’s working patterns are not the same. Our creativity and efficiency spikes uniquely compared to others throughout the day. Find the time which works best for you. I found that I work best in “blocks” throughout the day with time for breaks in between. It might take some time to find your groove. It took me more than a year to finally kick my 9 to 5 habit where I felt that I needed to be doing something business related all the time during those hours.
Don’t let your work consume you.
Make time for your family, a workout, reading, or anything else you do to bring you balance.
Imagine this. After all of your hard work, patience, and perseverance, you have built a great business over the years. But eventually, you’re going to retire. You can leave all your hard work with a new generation of leaders who will run your business.
What legacy would you like to leave? How do you want them to remember you and your business? One of my biggest goals is to create a business that I can turn over to my children when they are old enough if they choose. I want them to always have the option to work for themselves.
#6 Two Passionate Ways To Create A Legacy
The best way for you to create a legacy business is to build it from the ground up and solid enough to outlast you. Once they’re ready, your children will be able to take over and reap the benefits of your labor.
Create a solid foundation
Create a business strong enough to endure a financial crisis or changes in organizational leadership. This will happen by building upon your rock-solid mission and vision.
Involve trustworthy and competent employees and partners. Ensure that they share your values and understand your mission. They should love your business almost as much as you do.
No one can do it all alone. But who you partner with now can have a huge impact on your business going forward and determine the future success of your business once you decide to exit.
#7 How To Not Jump Into A Wrong Partnership
Sooner or later, the wrong partnership will have a negative impact on your business. When you’re in business, choosing the right partner can be as important as a marriage. Find someone who shares our values. At the end of the day this is more important than a partner with complementary skills.
Identify the non-negotiables for yourself in a partner up front. This will help you to avoid heartache and save lots of time right up front.
Another thing to keep in mind is that it’s not all about the money. Even if your potential partner has all the money in the world, if you do not share the same values, you are doomed to fail.
Starting a business is no joke. You need to be prepared mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially. It’s not a walk in the park but remember, it shouldn’t feel like such a burden either.
Running a business means that you’re taking the wheel and it should feel rewarding. After all, you’re doing what you love, right? Just remember that you shouldn’t stop when it’s difficult, you should stop when it’s done.
Just trust the process.
Having a bad day? Low sales for this month? Not hitting your targets? Things not going as planned? It’s all part of the process. It takes time and the only thing you should remember is that it too, shall pass.