Lessons for Newbies & Veterans
Whether you have been in business for 12 years, like me, or you are just taking your first steps in creating your company, there are lessons to be learned. ‘Newbie’ or a ‘Veteran’ here are 5 lessons of Entrepreneurship that I hope will be of value.
#1 A Business Is Living Entity
Owning a business is not for control freaks. Business ownership often comes with surprises and events that cannot be controlled. Entrepreneurship often has a life of its own.
#2 Owning a Business is Gift
I am so grateful for the opportunity to have not just one business, but 2 businesses (Tammy’s Office Solutions – Boutique Digital Marketing Agency & Fearless Boss Babes – Coaching Women Entrepreneurs). Yes, it is a risk, but not everyone is given the opportunity. Some do not want to take the chance or are comfortable in their life. Those who do, however, know what a great gift we have been given to create and make something that goes beyond ourselves.
#3 Entrepreneurship is a Journey Not a Sprint
One of my favorite things to tell those I Mentor or Coach is “entrepreneurship is a journey not sprint”. Most successes do not happen overnight and even if they do, they really struggle to make it work. Often success comes after starting a business, struggling to make it work, multiple ups and downs, with multiple paths along the way. Owning a business is hard work and success does not come easily. Thus why I say, “It is a journey, not a sprint”.
#4 Plan to Fail
Business ownership is not for perfectionists. As a recovering perfectionist, I really had to come to terms with this in the early years. There will be mistakes, not ‘if mistakes happen” because they will happen. Failures too will happen but you know what? That is OK and honestly truly kind of Awesome! If given the freedom to fail and make mistakes, there will be invaluable lessons learned and problems solved that never would have taken place without them. As difficult as it is, if the trial is embraced and seen for what it is – a chance to learn or solve a problem, it can be moved through much quicker.
#5 Those Who Continue to Learn Will Succeed
Those who continue to learn both in life and in business come out ahead. Part of that equation should include taking courses to keep up our skills and even add to them. The way technology changes we must be up to speed if we desire to succeed. Continuing education should be a part of the business plan. Today we have so many opportunities to take educational courses. Many of those are available online.
Lessons From Others
Recently a Microsoft blog named a few lessons learned while running a digital marketing business. I think these are very practical as well and can be applied to all types of businesses.
#1 PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS
#2 INVEST IN THE LONG GAME
#3 LEVERAGE TECHNOLOGY TO SUCCESSFULLY SCALE
[The following are my thoughts on the three practical lessons.]
Play to your strengths means knowing your strengths and weaknesses so that you can use your strengths and hire or contract help to help in the areas where you are weak. Great leaders surround themselves with brilliant men/women who are strong in areas where they are weak. Therefore in order to make the most of this, it is important to know our weaknesses as well as our strengths so that we can optimize the help of other professionals.
Investing in the Long Game can sometimes mean giving something away in the beginning to create a business that has good brand awareness as well as one that builds trust for the long haul. This can be a great strategy. Obviously, do not give too much away, but bartering and giving more than expected when starting is sometimes necessary. Even trading services and helping colleagues can go a long way to promoting a good name and brand. These acts of service often come back to us many times over as colleagues and businesses that we helped often refer clients later.
I can remember, my husband, asking me years ago, “why are you working for free*?”. I would simply respond, “Because one day I won’t be (working for free) and it will have been worth it!” (Lol) I can finally say with confidence, “it was worth it!”
“In my early years, however, of entrepreneurship I gave much more than I should have, worked harder than anyone knew (or I would admit) and often counseled and consulted with prospective clients for no charge (not the normal ‘can we work together calls’ but rather long in-depth over an hour-long giving away tips calls and never getting the client).”
The ability to leverage technology to your advantage will help you succeed. AI seems as if it is taking over lately and many business owners are not sure how to use technology nor do they want to learn. You can still give personalized services, but also automate where possible and use technology to your advantage! Helping your clients by providing services in this area through marketing software and apps while you are still giving them your personalized attention through phone calls and other means can be a premium service today.
The point is, we are on a journey in our business. We set out to do certain things but often find it takes twists and turns. For example, I began by doing Lead Generation + Virtual Assistant work. Years later, we have become a small Boutique Digital Marketing Agency. I could have never guessed this when I began nearly 12 years ago. It did, however, come at a cost. The costs involved were not monetary so much, but rather the lessons I learned, the courses and certifications I’ve taken as well as many late nights working to complete client projects. Yet, I can honestly tell you It was all worth it and continues to be worth it every day.
One Final Lesson
Flexibility – Be flexible enough to enjoy the journey even when the path changes. Flexibility in business helps us to be able to take on all that comes our way and learn the lessons while pivoting as needed. Most of all, be flexible so that your business can Change YOU!
Questions for the Road
How is your Business Journey going? Are you where you expected to be?
If you have had any twists and turns that you do not mind sharing with us in the comments, that would be greatly appreciated. We all learn from each other!
No matter where you are on this journey, take heart as it can be a ‘bumpy’ road, but it also leads to a very rewarding path!
Remember we are here to help you.
*I did not literally work for free, but it certainly seemed that way at times, especially when bartering services.