Opportunities are Short-Lived, When You Find Them Run Full Speed Ahead
Have you ever started something big but you weren’t really all in, and then it all caught up with you?
This happened to me when I started a new business last July. I thought I was all in because I left the safety of my full-time, international trade job to start my own company. My timing was perfect, my first day working in my new company, President Trump threatened 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. Trump was threatening to throw a hand grenade in U.S.-Chinese relations. I had an opening. Suddenly, a lot of companies needed my expertise. I immediately sent out emails to the tiny mailing list and two weeks later I hosted a webinar.
Things progressed. I told myself I was doing everything I could. I guest wrote articles because I enjoy writing. I was quoted in larger publications. I even made YouTube videos. Just weeks before, I was advising 700 companies in one industry about tariffs. Now, I had business development calls with companies from multiple industries. These people didn’t know me. Before, companies called me for advice. Now, I had to pitch my expertise and convince them I knew the answers. It was a lot harder than I expected.
Things were moving along, but not at the speed I wanted. On December 1st, the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement was signed and a trade truce was reached between the U.S.-China. Suddenly, I was terrified my window of opportunity was closing and I admitted that maybe I was not doing everything I could to get my business off the ground.
Now or never
The trade truce was a huge kick in the pants. It started a clock. I officially had three months left to grow my brand, my clients, and my business, before everything changed.
I got serious. And this time, I jumped in head first. I wrote and published an essay about why I thought it would be impossible to achieve real change in the U.S.-Chinese relationship in such a short period of time. This was the first time I published my opinions. Urgency overroad my fear of being wrong or ridiculed. I didn’t have time to be afraid. Either people were going to trust me and my business would grow, or they weren’t.
I got personal in a way I had avoided in the past. I stopped curating the news and started publicly sharing my personal insights. I included unique experiences that shaped my sometimes unorthodox perspective. I pitched new political and economic publications, allowing me to publish several times a week, instead of twice a month. I quickly amassed a following.
In retrospect, from August until December, I was stumbling around. On December 1st, I starting moving with laser focus – I prioritized sharing my voice. I quickly got bolder. I started writing provoking headlines and submitting articles to major publications including the Wall Street Journal. I stopped hiding behind my anonymity on Medium and moved the discussion to LinkedIn, a place where I was connected to experts that I knew and respected. I soon learned they respected me, too.
On February 24th, Trump extended the trade truce. That announcement made me look back at the last three months. I realized I needed that push to dive in. My dedication paid off. In the first three months, I was published in five publications. In the next two months, I was published in nine publications and I started a blog. I’ve been asked to join an expert panel and a personal point of pride, I’ve gotten several hundred people to read an article about Why Soybeans Matter.
Once I committed, I gained momentum. I let people see what I was capable of. I got in front of them and I gained traction. While, my business is in its infancy and requires a lot dedication, love, and care. Now that I’ve seen what I am capable of, I am free to enjoy the ride.