Making the decision to become an entrepreneur wasn’t easy. There is a lot of risk involved, you lose the comfort net of corporate and I wasn’t sure how I was going to balance it all properly. Two kids, a house and a husband PLUS a company sounded like a lot of work but the flexibility I was going to have ultimately made me take the leap.
Entrepreneurship is EXACTLY what I thought it would be in some ways and NOTHING like I thought it would be in others. It really is an adventure and I thought I would share the top 10 things that I have learned in my (almost) first year of entrepreneurship.
- You need to keep a schedule
If you think that you can manage your own social media, blogging, marketing, sales, business development, life and anything thing else that comes along WITHOUT a schedule? You are in for a treat. It won’t be easy. I am luckily very much a “schedule” person but I had no idea that I would eventually have to schedule in housework to ensure it gets done on a weekly basis.
- You need to follow your gut
You know what the right move is deep down. If you are sitting across from a potential client and you don’t feel good about it/them? Walk away. You don’t have to take that job. Another one will come. It’s better to walk away (professionally) than to regret not doing it later.
- Don’t sell yourself short
You will hear on more than one occasion when you are just starting out “I have a job for you, it isn’t paid BUT it is GREAT exposure!”
Trust me. Work hard enough and the exposure will come organically. You don’t need to work for free- exposure doesn’t pay the bills. If you feel the need to discount for a charity or friend? That’s fine! That’s up to you but value your time and your work.
- Be productive- Not busy
It is easy to get caught up in “being your own boss”. Lunch meetings, day freedom, getting lost on the web. Yeah, you FEEL busy but what have you produced? Set goals for yourself and achieve them. Make sure that you can measure your productivity so that you can feed your success.
- Keep your finances in order
If you can’t afford an accountant off the hop? Invest in a program to help you with your accounting! Losing track of your finances is frustrating and when it comes down to tax time you don’t want to be in the red. Stay diligent and take your company seriously regardless of its size or income when you are just starting off.
- Keep learning
Stay on top of your industry trends and news. It will help make your sales meetings flow naturally with great conversation, it will help inspire your next moves and help you grow as an entrepreneur. It isn’t easy but when I first started I always had a business oriented book I would pick up a couple times a week. When I got busier I didn’t even notice that I had stopped until I got into a mental entrepreneur rut (it happens) and picked a new book up. I instantly noticed a difference in not only my creative self but my confidence grew as a business professional.
- Shut work off for your important relationships
Work isn’t the most important thing. It feels that way sometimes- but it isn’t. Life is too short and kids grow too fast. You really need to make sure you are nurturing your relationships as well as your business because it is too easy to get caught up in the chase and too easy to miss out on memories.
- Take ‘YOU’ time
Whatever it is you like to do- do it. Shut off work mode and just be in you mode. Yoga, running, walking, climbing, eating, mani-pedis- WHATEVER IT IS. You owe it to yourself to reward yourself for a job well done. OH and having a husband, house and kids is no excuse. Sorry.
- Don’t take criticism to heart
Of course you need to take some constructive criticisms to your head. If you feel that it warrants attention then by all means you need to always be seeking to improve. But not everyone has your best interest at heart. Some people will envy you, some people will be negative by nature and some people won’t really know what they are talking about so their opinion won’t really matter. Learn to decipher constructive from callous.
10. Failure is only a detour sign pointing you back to the drawing board
Not every idea will work or work right away. I have tried seminars that no one replied to. Videos that no one watched. I have blog posts that no one read and twitter chats that I AM STILL working the kinks out of. But guess what? I tried and I have put some ideas onto the backburner JUST IN CASE the future holds a re-try. You can’t let a little bit of failure stand in your way. There are good weeks and bad weeks, good and bad days and hours… You won’t always succeed and that is ok. Stay focused.
What have you learned since opening your business?
CEO of BROCCOLI Consulting