Last week, I had an impromptu coaching session with a new acquaintance who recently secured a limited liability corporation (LLC). She was already on the emotional rollercoaster ride most new business owners hop aboard when starting the process. I knew the feeling all too well, as I have been on it more than a few times.
She asked for my advice on how to be successful. I thought for a moment, then laughed after thinking of all the failures I’ve had in business. I felt more qualified to give her the “what no to do” talk than to give her the roadmap to success.
As I have shared many times before, success is different for every person and every business owner. Making one dollar more than what has been spent could just as easily be counted as success as making “private island accessed by personal helicopter“ money. Ultimately, money doesn’t have to be a part of the success equation at all, although, I knew in her case it was.
Here are a few nuggets that I shared with her and a few bonus ones I saved for this blog!
Before beginning any business venture, you have to define what success looks like for you. Is it making an impact, making a product or making a profit? It could be all of the above. Think in terms of success beyond dollar signs, because the truth is most businesses don’t make money initially.
With that in mind, be sure to select a business rooted in something you love. I’ve attached myself to several businesses in the past based on the thought that I’d get rich quick. The only thing that was quick was the crash and burn of the venture.
I learned the hard way that you shouldn’t try to sell cosmetics if you don’t love cosmetics. My poor family got product as stocking stuffers for years after that costly discovery. 😂
Once you’ve identified something you truly love, prepare a survival plan as you get everything up and running. Being a business owner doesn’t mean that’s the only thing you do to earn a living. Most business owners have a multitude of jobs and side hustles to manage household expenses.
Also, your budget may need to be tweaked to accommodate your business needs. Some things you may have splurged on in the past could be a “no go” as you’re building. I HATE cooking, but there have been times when I needed to redirect my capital to the business and away from takeout. As much as it broke my heart to turn on the stove, my business was worth it.
***Super Insight: If you don’t feel like you can sacrifice anything to make your business work, it’s probably not the business for you.***
Most people start a business with delusions of grandeur. Being an entrepreneur, however, is not always sexy. As a matter of fact, it’s a lot more sweaty than it is sexy. Don’t get caught up in the illusion presented on social media. To make something out of nothing, there will be some long days and nights.
If this is a true business and not just a hobby that makes a few dollars, you will work longer hours than you would in a traditional job to build the strongest foundation. The first few businesses I started, I imagined I’d have more time freedom. This was ironic, because I was raised by an entrepreneur who worked a decade without taking one day off.
I spent every Christmas evening with my dad at the family convenience store. It never occurred to me when I started my businesses that I’d be working on Christmas too. I learned quickly when I discovered the business that was right for me, I didn’t really have days off and quite frankly – I was okay with it.
If you know me, you are aware that I am an advocate for balance and renewal. None of that sounds like it’s a part of the optimal life formula. Indeed, I recognize the contradiction and acknowledge that I am not a doctor who always takes her own medicine.
My advice, however, is to understand how you can be a healthy entrepreneur. There’s no hour maximum or minimum. Everyone gets to choose what it looks like. You have to note within yourself the level of commitment you have to what you’re doing.
I absolutely LOVE what I do.
When my fingers touch a keyboard, I feel at peace. When I’m on set and I hear the director yell, “Action,” I tingle. It’s like Christmas for me and so I don’t mind sneaking away from candied yams and stuffing to scribble down a poem.
This doesn’t mean you have to ditch your favorite festivities to run your business. Figure out how to do what you do the best way for you. BUT…if you want your paid time off and clearly defined work hours with no exceptions, entrepreneurship might not be your jam. It’s all good. Invest time and energy into researching traditional jobs that provide those great benefits.
If you are like my amazing new friend, excited and anxious about your new entrepreneurial journey, check out my book From Unemployed to Unstoppable: A 30-day transformation guide. The coaching tips included will provide you with the support you need to get off to a strong start.
Need some individual support? Reach out to me @nataliekhodge on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIN with your question.