Two Truths And A Lie …
(Snippits from our oh so popular Digital Glue Podcast!)
People say that entrepreneurs are crazy. And well, maybe they’re a tad right!
However, we are the ones who change the world AND get to live our dream doing it …purpose, change, freedom, and fame. And due to those factors, it seems that more and more people want to become an entrepreneur.
And with all that lifestyle greatness that comes along with the title, why not?
However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows!
Whether you are just starting to dip your toes into entrepreneurship, or you have been in business for a few years, we have all wondered at one point or another … What is a successful entrepreneur? Who is actually put into that category? (And walks the walk and talks the talk?)
As I dove in and researched a bit more about the actual DNA of a successful entrepreneur (yah, put my nerd cap on again!) I started to see similarities that were undeniable. I am not comparing who eats avocado toast for breakfast and who doesn’t, but the tangible skills that one adapts for their own business.
SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEURS PLAN THINGS …
Not just for the day, but often the year, and 5 years from now. They are passionate about what they do and in turn, they fuel that special creativity with a plan that is resilient. You want to make sure you have a plan that has all the possible scenarios; from best to worst.
I can only imagine your curiosity about how this happens … You first need to know your why. Your why is what will fuel your ideas and passion for the days and years to come. And by breaking it down into goals then into a plan, you can easily create your own success. You just need to plan it first.
Here’s how to do just that …
- Write down your why at the top of your paper.
- Write down a goal that would contribute to your why.
- Write down the steps it will take you to achieve that goal.
Keeping top of mind, you do not need to have all the answers. Truthfully, none of us do. You just need to put pen to paper and only write down what you already know, then just keep the mind map going.
During my own research, the most perfect quote from Daymond John, President of Fubu, and as we all know from ABC’s reality TV series; Shark Tank, popped right onto my lap …
Five days a week, I read my goals before I go to sleep and when I wake up. There are 10 goals around health, family and business with expiration dates, and I update them every six months.
Well said and inspirational, am I right?
Okay, so diving back on into entrepreneur DNA …
SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEURS SERVE WITH A SERVANT’S HEART …
This one item came up time and time again … You must care about your offerings and those who are impacted by it. Most of us go into business because we have a solution to a pain point. But in reality, we still need to engage with said pain point to know where it needs tweaking. So, by serving with a servant’s heart, you are serving with the right motivation. You are driven by the results that your business brings because it propels you forward. You want to be honest and generous to those around you.
(Trust me, I know from experience it comes back ten-fold.)
SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEURS LET EVERYONE SIT WITH THEM …
And to start this off with yet another perfectly fitting quote from none other than Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay …
One of the things I tend to do is open myself up to a variety of voices. I try to expose myself to the kind of culture shock that occurs when you talk to people who speak a different language.
He summarizes this exceptionally well if you ask me. But I would like to add that in this day ‘n age, it is so incredibly important.
You want to make sure that you not only allow everyone to “your table”, but you also need to give them a voice too. I highly recommend joining different networking events and virtual groups, and focus on connecting with those around you, that have different business backgrounds and experiences.
So, if you think about it … Starting a business is like growing a garden. You must first invest your time and money. Then, you must take care of it while expecting nothing in return. (Often a lot longer than you think!) However, when everything finally blossoms, it makes all the hard work and patience worthwhile.
You could ask any number of CEOs how to succeed in the big bad world of business and truthfully, you will get an equal number of insights and amazing advice.
But in the end, it boils down to the following ten behaviour categories:
- Work on yourself first.
- Be honest, have integrity.
- Deal with reality.
- Never give up.
- Give customers what they want.
- Build your team.
- Create confidence through preparation.
- Find a compelling vision and purpose.
- Execute a solid strategic plan.
- Stay curious.
And personally, we here at VU want to add one to that list, as we feel that one of the most important traits you need as a movement leader is resilience.
Resilience is the virtue that enables people to move through hardship and become better.
YES! You’re going to make mistakes, and you’re going to be told by hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people that what you’re trying to accomplish simply can’t be done. But it’s our “crazy” strategies and tactics that are going to change the world.
Over the past handful of years, our high-energy world has seen a huge rise in the number of entrepreneurs and people taking charge of their own aspirations. Especially more so over the last year-ish due to the global pandemic where people are learning to adapt to a work-from-home lifestyle.
And just as any other upward trend, there are endless presumptions and notions that get established in time as parameters of success.
So, if you truly sit back for a moment and think about it, we are living amid a start-up renaissance which is filled brim to brim with endless opportunities for anyone and everyone who has a passion alongside a strong idea!
Entrepreneurship sure has changed a heck of a lot in the past couple decades and our access to unlimited resources is now greater than ever thanks to the advances of technology. Our culture seems to favour startups which is truly amazing as it encourages young creative thinkers to follow their ideas and dreams more than ever before.
However, there are quite a few misconceptions about this renaissance era which creates that mound of statistics for those who don’t succeed. So, it’s good to keep our entrepreneurship realities in check, because as entrepreneurs we often become soft targets of these myths predicted by so-called “generalists”.
Before I dive into the whole “two truths and a lie” thing … I want to share some important tips with you to help you succeed and not become a statistic!
YOU NEED MORE THAN JUST A GOOD IDEA.
We are known as ideators and dreamers and without us, this world would spin a lot slower. And these days, originally good ideas are far and few between, but when found unbelievably valuable. Yes, you may have a phenomenal idea, but you can’t spend years in your basement lab tinkering around like a mad scientist. You would be much better off focusing on the execution of your idea.
Framework, processes, automations, and systems are all extremely dry and boring words — but these words are what it takes to be hugely successful. You need to be an experienced leader to direct your business, a solid business plan to direct the course and flow, great timing for your release, a great marketing plan, a great team of supporters or team to support you, and eyes in the back of your head to keep watch on your competitors. (Or “compete-peers” as my friend Linda would say!)
... Remember: if the most unique ideas were obvious to everyone, there wouldn’t be entrepreneurs. The one thing that every entrepreneurial journey has in common is that there are many, many steps on the road to success.
… Those words courtesy of entrepreneur Tory Burch.
YOU WILL NOT MAKE MILLIONS OVER NIGHT.
I want to be short and to the point … all those overnight success stories you read about online … They are not the truth. (Sorry to burst your bubble!) Not one single entrepreneur out there has made millions overnight. Not even Steve Jobs. This level of success is a product of hard work, early mornings, sleepless nights, heavy investments, trial and error and of course ongoing education. So, don’t be fooled!
YOU CAN’T MAKE ALL THE RULES. BUT YOU CAN BREAK SOME.
There is no cookie-cutter way around this one but there are no real “rules” in the land of entrepreneurship. I understand it may be more comforting to think so. Every business is different just like every one of us humans is unique. You just need to find a way that works for you and just go for it! So, remember … You should be working smarter, not harder.
Hire incredible individuals to handle those nasty tasks that just grind your gears. Try your best to not be afraid of failure because you will at some things. We all do. And most important of all, relentlessly wake up with a daily purpose. Sounds too simple, right? Well, that’s the point.
Think of it this way … If you’re relying on someone else’s “rules” to make your business decisions for you, then you’re not really building your own business anymore, are you? You are building theirs. So, you might as well be back at your crappy 9 to 5. Every decision you make becomes a rule, and your specific set of rules will work for no one else but you!
YOU MUST NOT WORK AND LIVE WITHIN YOUR COMFORT ZONE.
There are no guarantees in this lifestyle — except for the fact that sometimes you are going to be uncomfortable. When you chose to be an entrepreneur, you chose to walk on the path of the unknown. There is no way around it, sorry. I know it seems easier to live inside that warm, cozy, and comforting box some days. It feels safe. And making yourself do things that are new or outside your comfort zone can be super friggin’ scary. It is way easier to just keep plunking along, doing what you know and improving at things you already feel familiar with. But here’s the kicker … What happens if the thing or job you’re really good at is eliminated? Or what if you find out that you need new skills to move forward?
This is why it’s super important (and healthy) to branch out and become talented at new and different things, even if you don’t plan to use them right at this very second. So, instead of staying all comfy cozy in your onesie inside your box, only to peak out once n’ awhile making yourself think, “that’s out of the box enough for me” … Just get rid of the box entirely!
THIS CULTURE IS NOT A PAJAMA PARTY.
Don’t let that comment throw you off … You can totally work in your pj’s if that’s your jam! However, being an entrepreneur isn’t always about casual dress codes, sleeping in and lax work schedules. In the real world, we are all pounding the pavement every single day. The “rules” might be different in a conventional 9 to 5, but there’s a lot of really hard work going on in this chosen lifestyle. For most entrepreneurs TIME is a luxury that we find by chance and try to make the most of before it’s spent going back to making crucial decisions, managing a team and all those other fun things we do to grow our business – and those of our clients.
GROWING YOUR SOCIAL PRESENCE IS HARD WORK.
This is one that we talk to our clients a lot about as there are many misconceptions that tend to lead many entrepreneurs on a path of disappointment because they think it’s all easy-peasy in the land of social. They think if they just create a handful of willy-nilly social posts, a business page on Facebook, and a cute IG profile they’re set! However, doing such is just a few of the many social marketing steps in creating an inviting, engaging, and profitable business. It’s not just one n’ done!
YOU CAN’T BE SOLELY MOTIVATED BY MONEY.
I have personally, one too many times, seen exceptionally successful people leap into the entrepreneurial world with only one goal in mind; to make a crap ton of money. However, they quickly lose heart when faced with the inevitable setbacks. The most successful entrepreneurs are not motivated by money. It is all about the experience, the journey, the way of life, the chase, the identity, the rush, the networking … It truly is a calling and not for everyone. If you think about it … Entrepreneurship is a craft and a vocation. And to succeed, you need to treat it that way. Your goal should not be to win, but to master.
As you can see, entrepreneurship is no singular job or business activity. It is an ongoing passion engagement that demands your full attention, focus, passion and dedication. A commitment to oneself to a dream, a vision, and the willingness to face the challenges that come along with it all.
Which officially rolls us right into today’s topic of two truths and a lie …
TRUTH #1: ENTREPRENEURSHIP ISN’T FOR EVERYONE.
I’m not going to sugar coat things … Being an entrepreneur is hard! Practically. Emotionally. Psychologically. And it’s not for everyone — and that’s okay. But you must keep your entrepreneurial flame alive and do whatever it takes to keep that flame from burning out. And by being here today, listening to Digital Glue podcast episodes, that means you’ve already taken your first step and noticed your feelings of the unknown, perhaps even exhaustion and admitted it early. And the sooner this first step happens the better. Less stress equals less struggle.
TRUTH #2: ENTREPRENEURSHIP IS NOT SEXY.
As I was prepping for this episode, I first thought of the sexy “build a business to have more freedom” lines we normally see all over social, but what they’re “selling” isn’t the full truth …
As entrepreneurs we need to accept that there is a lot of things we can’t control. Such as platforms we don’t own, rottenly bad tech hiccup days, customers don’t want to buy, customers we work with even though they don’t fit our “dream client” profile, and well … basically a mismatch of a lot of things … time, control, mission, values, and confidence. So, you must figure out WHAT it is that has room for improvement and make it better. Then give yourself some room to breathe. Yes, I’m talking about some of that good ‘ol fashioned guilt-free time off. (I’m doing some of that this week actually — leaving the virtual world on the sidelines, opting out of digital-land, forgetting Instagram even exists and just being one with the world.) Learning to let go of the “small stuff” that makes us down right crazy to the point where we may even have forgotten why we’ve chosen this path in the first place is what makes this lifestyle oh so not sexy.
And lastly … TRHE LIE …
Much of the assumed glamour of being a self-employed entrepreneur revolves around the aura of being able to do whatever we want. It’s our company. We are the boss. And no one can tell us what to do. Which in a roundabout way YES! But this whole “glamourous-ness” you see scattered in the virtual world about time freedom … That is a big fat baller of a lie!
Time freedom comes with exactly that … TIME!
(And so does the money freedom — just like I mentioned earlier – you will not make millions over night!)
So, with the DNA, tips, truths and lies … I wanted to end things off with something a bit different … With my purest thoughts, undying honestly and courageous vulnerability …
Here is my open-hearted letter to you …
Dear entrepreneurial friends,
It’s human nature to avoid pain and seek pleasure. Some of us take risks while others play it safe. Some of us see problems and answers while others see the status quo. Some of us feed off our comfort zones while others see hiding behind this as failure. The path isn’t always easy, and the survival rate is bleak. But it’s the mental tools that keep our journey intact. And one of those especially important tools is resilience.
Having this ability is crucial if you want your business to grow and last. And like any shift in thinking … it does not happen overnight. We need to be practical with the steps we choose to take on our path to build resilience and become better equipped to handle issues, difficult clients, not-so-strong team members and setbacks as we grow our business. Especially in the start-up phases.
Fear holds us back. Dark cloudy days and setbacks are unavoidable and surely not pleasant. However, they also have the potential to be your engine of personal growth. (Also, in our daily lives beyond business hours.) The difference between success and failure comes down to who is willing to stick it out in the smartest ways possible. And that’s resilience.
Pain plus reflection equals progress. ~ Ray Dalio, American Billionaire Investor (world’s 79th wealthiest person, 2021)
So, see yourself as a fighter. Go with the gifts you were given. Trust your gut. (It’s always right!) Take time to re-boot. Be gracious about your losses. (Even ones that shatter your world!) Learn as you go. Do not give up. Keep reminding yourself why you are doing this worthy work because who better to take it on than you. And believe in yourself, because then others will believe in you too!
With Loads of Virtual Love;
From ME … to YOU!
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