The Entrepreneurial Tightrope
When I launched my new business in 2015, I was on top of the world and the view was magnificent. I felt like I could achieve anything and everything and that my new-found success was imminent. I was bold, fearless, and highly motivated to make Jennifer Grant International a household word.
My first year was a huge learning curve as I have written about in previous blogs. I was suddenly immersing myself into social media, marketing, branding, networking, financial investment, business planning and the creation of a new website. It was quite overwhelming but I was undaunted and full speed ahead. I was getting clients, the response to my social media was positive, I was following my passion, and realizing my full potential. If only I had done this sooner!
In the months that followed, I continued to read, watch, listen, research and follow other entrepreneurs and ultra successful business leaders to compare what they were doing against what I was doing. That was my first mistake. In most cases, I was not comparing apples to apples as most of the businesses I was comparing my business to had far more financial backing, more experience, more resources and just more of everything that I didn't have. (yet)
And so, the niggling doubts started to slowly creep in to my mind. I wasn’t sure if I had defined the right value proposition, the right tag line, the right services, the right messaging or the right brand. Even though I kept getting new clients, I was becoming more confused about what my mission really was. A few of the companies that I was really hoping to do business with, seemed to have a Do Not Disturb Sign on their door. I didn’t so much think there might be something wrong with them, but I did think there must be something wrong with me. I wasn't prepared for the self-doubt and rejection that is part and parcel of being an entrepreneur.
Over the next year, I made a conscious effort to spend time learning some key things that I should have done before I launched my business. I devoted more time to learning what tools and coping mechanisms I needed to keep my business and my dreams of success moving forward. I stopped acting like a big shot and actually talked to other entrepreneurs who had been where I was. Here are 12 strategies that I found helpful.
- Risk Taking. The definition of the word “entrepreneur” is a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks. The reality is that a true entrepreneur lives on the edge 24-7 and risk taking is a big factor that comes with the territory.
- Hard Decisions. Each major risk you take is a product of a strong decision you have to make. The faint of heart or the indecisive entrepreneur will have a hard time succeeding.
- Have Faith in Yourself. Highly successful entrepreneurs have the characteristic of being unshakable and immovable and they don’t need external gratification to believe that what they’re doing is going to work out for them.
- Let Go of Your Ego. Many entrepreneurs are too proud to learn from their mistakes and keep on looking for excuses to make bad things look good.
- Accept That You Don’t Know Everything. There are a lot of ways to learn and improve yourself as an entrepreneur, it can be by learning from your mistakes, or others who have failed and got back on the horse. There is no such thing as too much learning.
- Join Forces with Others. As long as you can join forces with other people to achieve your goals, there is nothing that can stop you.
- Utilize the Power of Association. A great way to do this is by using people who are more successful than yourself to advance your career.
- Be Curious. Scientific research indicates that nurturing your curiosity can make you smarter and open to new experiences.Great entrepreneurs need to have tenacity, vision, passion and tolerance to ambiguity. Being curious helps you to question and validate your methods and processes to be innovative.
- Be Resilient. Handling rejections, stress, burnout, lack of focus, slow progress is all part of living in the entrepreneurial realm. No getting away from it. Determination to slay the same dragon is instrumental when it comes to building a business.
- Perfect Your Communication. Crisp and concise communication is paramount for each and every interaction with clients, partners, peers, clients and prospects.
- Become a Confident Networker. Growing a network facilitates business opportunities, partnership deals, subcontractors or future employees. Above all else, networking will make you feel like you are not alone in some of the challenges you are facing with your business.
- Build Your Personal Brand. Building a consistent personal brand and business brand tailored to the right audience is very important to your success.
Yes, my entrepreneurial journey has been very hard work and there have been many days when I wondered if I was up for the task. I know the answer is yes, because I am still here, I am undeterred and full speed ahead. If you are on the same road as I am, I've got your back. You can do this !