I’ve been on a journey in the past couple of months that I’ve found to be almost as frustrating as it has been exhilarating; and as full of laughs and victories as it has been of “What on earth did I get myself into?” spells.
It has been a whirlwind of a ride – ups, downs; absolute confidence, second-guessing; excitement, near despair; knowing what to do next, not knowing what exactly I am doing; name it, I’ve felt it.
However, I HAVE NEVER FELT MORE ALIVE! I find that really intriguing, truth be told. I wake up (on most days at least…lol) with a distinct sense of purpose, something to do, somewhere to go, something to work on, connections to make, something to learn, something to undo or fix, something to admit I got wrong and do different: it is such a heady mix and it is extremely potent.
Since I decided to become an entrepreneur for real, to face my fears head on, to leave myself no choice but to sink or swim, I have literally been living on the edge. I’ve learnt a couple of lessons too. I might be a newbie, but this here newbie is committed to documenting her journey because I figure if I could summon the courage to do this, maybe someone else can and a tip or two might help.
1. You really have no idea what you’re getting into when you go entrepreneurial; even with your clearly documented goals, plans and forecasts. However, you’re very likely going to struggle A LOT MORE if you don’t have those, because you have nothing concrete to refer to and remind yourself of where you’re going and how much work you’ve already put in.
Even when your ‘preliminary documentation’ (as I jokingly call it) doesn’t pan out, it can still serve as a strong source of motivation and encouragement. It also gives you something to assess/review and tweak, unlike where you’re just winging it.
2. Don’t spend money if it won’t bring in more money or increase patronage. Save it for something that will actually make a difference.
3. Consult with anyone who has succeeded in an area you seem to be struggling. You don’t necessarily have to do exactly what they tell you, but their insight will prove immensely valuable.
4. Collaborate! It’s hard enough starting out without you attempting to do it all. If you find someone in an ancillary business that can help yours, do stuff together and give them credit for their contribution.
5. Ask. Just ask. This is something I have seen produce ASTONISHING results. I ask questions. I ask for help. I ask for referrals. I ask for information. I ask for business cards. I ask people what they do. I ask if they’re open to the possibility of future business. I ask if they need help with something that I might be able to give. I ask how they are doing. I ask how business is going. I ask how far they’ve come with the plans we last discussed. I ask. I ain’t got time to be wondering when I can simply ask. Asking builds bridges and fosters connections. Take it from someone who is learning that firsthand.
6. Take advantage of the information around you. Be deliberate about seeking it out and then you will discover it will seek you out. Seek and you shall find. Period.
You get the point, yeah? I’m happy I ventured. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.