When I quit the job I loved to start my own business ten years ago, I surprised everyone – including myself!
For 15 years I’d worked hard to make my way up the corporate ladder and finally held my dream position reporting directly to the CEO. But, after my first daughter was born, I knew I wanted to find a way to work flexibly around my new family.
I had no idea how to start and I was worried I wouldn’t be taken seriously as a new Mum who didn’t speak the local language, but I knew I had to at least try so I got to work.
A decade on and I haven’t looked back – not even once!
Here’s what I have learned so far that could help accelerate your own entrepreneurial journey:
Self-Confidence is Essential, but…
Before you can inspire confidence in others, you first need to have complete confidence in yourself and your offer.
This confidence doesn’t come from knowing you have all the answers, but from knowing you can figure things out. By pushing outside your comfort zone regularly, starting small at first, you’ll see your confidence grow fast.
You MUST Nail Your Time Management
As an entrepreneur there are many demands on your time, especially if you are working part-time around your family like myself, so great time-management skills are a must.
Try out a few techniques before developing your own system. I like using time-blocking and working in 50-minute stints before taking a 10-minute break. It keeps my focus and energy high all day.
Network, Network, Network
I’ve launched three businesses in 10-years and each time I’ve been able to get going fast, thanks to my network.
Be sure not to simply collect names in LinkedIn, but to actively engage with and support people in your network – this support always pay you back when you need it most.
As an introvert, I was not a natural networker, but I’ve come to learn first hand that anyone can learn to network, so don’t dismiss this activity too quickly.
It’s not our moments of genius that bring us results, but what we do day in, day out.
Define the core activities that drive your income, engagement, and visibility, then do these to a high standard consistently. By all means, slow down during holiday times, but don’t stop completely.
Get to know as much about your ideal clients as possible, then share helpful and valuable content every day in as many different ways as you can.
You might not always get high engagement but get out there every day and your secret following will show themselves when they are ready to work with you; promise!
Failure is Not the Opposite of Success
In fact, I believe it’s one of the fastest routes to it.
You learn and grow far more from your mistakes than you will from what goes correctly the first time.
Don’t dwell on things that go wrong. Instead, say “Fascinating!”, learn the lesson that event had for you and move swiftly on to your next project.
Nothing worth having comes easily or happens overnight. Give yourself and your business time to gain the traction needed to get results. There are no hard and fast rules about how long this will take, but it’s usually months if not a couple of years.
Seek out others who have succeeded in your industry to find out the typical time frame for success and to learn from their experiences. In all cases, getting yourself a good coach or mentor will speed your success.
I have yet to meet a successful entrepreneur who started out in business with complete confidence.
In starting a business despite their fears, however, they learned a key skill that has enabled them to overcome subsequent fears, conquer new challenges and capitalise on opportunities to reach the next level of success.
Celebrate Every Acheivement
It’s important to celebrate even your smallest successes. You might not want to go full on “Crack open the Krug!” for each tiny win, but it’s important for your motivation and confidence to recognise the progress you are making towards your goals.
Each time I changed tack in my business, it was thanks to this quote from Sir Richard Branson: “If it’s no longer fun, stop doing it”.
Running your own business is hard, very hard at times, but it should also be a joy. If you are not loving what you are doing, if you’re not fired up by the impact you are making and and if you’re not itching to get started each morning, then you need to reassess what you are doing and how.
Don’t Hold Back
Perhaps the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that the best way to get started in business is simply to start! There is very little you can’t figure out along the way as long as you have a clear vision and big goal to guide you.
So stop holding yourself back waiting for the perfect moment when you feel totally ready; that moment will never come!
Instead, take a deep breath, leap into the beautiful unknown and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime.