When I started my first business back in 2010-2011, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. At the time all I knew was I wanted to create positive ripples in the world and I saw my entrepreneurial endeavors as the way I would do so.
With a deep desire to use my passion and gifts to help others become the best they could be, I jumped out there to launch my first biz. Little did I know, I had my work cut out for me. There was so much for me to learn about building, running and even sustaining a business.
As I’ve journeyed through the process of “figuring this biz thing out” I realized most of what I needed to learn had less to with business processes and structure, and more to do with me getting over my own shit and out of my own way.
As I’m entering into a new season of entrepreneurship, I’ve been reflecting on some things I would’ve told my younger entrepreneurial self. They are:
1. Entrepreneurship is no joke! It will challenge you in ways you can’t even imagine.
It’s all good though because the challenges don’t matter nearly as much as your ability to overcome them. While, it is key to note what’s not working in biz (because that’s how you know where you need to go next) it’s important to NOT stay focused there! Even when challenges present themselves be sure that your commitment is to the process and not the roadblocks.
2. It’s okay to change your mind.
Just because you started in one lane doesn’t mean you have to stay there. Know that there is more courage in letting go than there is in “holding on”. Sometimes a mean pivot can work wonders for your mental health, biz and sanity. If you really feel you need to abandon your original plan, go ahead and do it. Sometimes you just have to trust yourself and worry about the rest later.
3. The real work of entrepreneurship begins when you find your true voice.
You will do lots of work – great work – but the real work begins when you find your true voice and true mission. For some people this comes easy, but for others it takes time. There’s no one RIGHT way to be an entrepreneur. It’s okay to wander until you find your place. Know that all that wanderers are not lost.
4. Social media is an avenue not an end all to be all.
“Tribe” and “network” are so paramount to being a successful entrepreneur, BUT you’ll never develop either if you spend all your time online. Social media is cool, but it can’t replace real relationships and real bonds. Having said that, stop spending so much time online and go out into the world to meet and build with people.
5. It’s not healthy to sacrifice everything for the hustle.
Yes – if you want to win, you gotta put in the work! However, you can’t run around like a mad woman neglecting everyone and everything for the sake of biz. That’s just not a sustainable way to live. Truth is there’s some seasons that will call you to pour into yourself, your finances, your relationships, etc. BEFORE your biz. The key is to find your balance between the work and the rest and to honor each season that you’re in.
6. There are people who will question you, doubt you, & even ridicule you.
So what! Don’t worry about them. It’s not for them to have faith in or believe in you. You have to be able to have that for yourself.
7. You will have many small victories along the way – please celebrate them.
If you always neglect to praise yourself for your small victories you’ll end up feeling depleted and defeated. However, when you celebrate yourself, your work and efforts you immediately give yourself a boost of confidence. And to win in biz, you’ll need lots of that – trust me!
8. Your journey may be flawed, but its uniquely yours.
For the love of God don’t compare your process to someone else’s. And while you’re at it, don’t spend all your time wishing to be further along than where God has blessed you to be. EVERYTHING in due season & if you’re not there yet, it’s just not your season.
You’ll need this if you want to be successful. Don’t create strange barriers around how you’ll get money and don’t be too prideful to ‘make a coin’ in whatever way you legally can. Believe it or not the McDonald’s job coin spends just as good as the corporate coin. So, as your climbing to the top be humble, and sit down…just don’t stay there!
Truth is entrepreneurship is HARD and though we live in a time where info on “best way to do biz” is commonly shared, there still is no right way to do it.
If you ask me the key to making it as an entrepreneur requires you to trust and be kind yourself, take breaks often, follow your intuition and most of all never give up. What do you think? Anything you think should be on this list of lessons learned?
Oh and since I’m taking a little stroll down memory lane sharing entrepreneurial reflections, why not share some photos from various highlights in biz as well.