The noun entrepreneur is technically defined as ‘a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.’
Let me assume you’re also an entrepreneur or thinking of going at it alone. The amount of time, work, money and dedication required to begin anything from a side hustle, paid hobby or full-out venture. You are likely putting a steady income, health coverage and anyone who depends on you -in any form- at risk.
You’ve weighed these challenges against the possibility of being your own boss, creating opportunity for others, crushing that limited paycheck and managing your own time. How do we face the most common (and intimidating) issues and overcome with success?
Focus Your Fight:
“If the enemy can’t discourage you he’s going to do his best to distract you.”
Just because I work from home doesn’t mean I’m available. Some people think I am crazy for including my morning dog walk, workout, breakfast and shower time blocks in my calendar. Why go to such extremes? For my own sanity. Not just because I’ve been diagnosed with OCD (no one’s surprised here!) but the calendars that are available to clients and new calls are directly connected. There are people from across the country booking the same few weeks of my time so knowing I won’t have to pitch at 6 a.m. puts my mind at ease.
You should also focus your fight on the good fight. This post recently blew up online because it’s something we as a people-pleasing, confirm and affirm society dwell on. Even people who claim they don’t care what others think? Yes. They do. It’s natural as humans. If they can’t discourage you from moving forward or betting on your self they will try their best to distract you with a weekday brunch, a mid-afternoon shopping trip or a last minute hour-long phone call.
I came across this: “Older women are less willing to take risks. Our generation is unapologetic about going after what we desire.”
30 years ago, there were close to 4 million women-owned businesses in the United States. Today, there are over 11 million. (Experian) That means over 11 million women will someday be classified as ‘older women’ who are less likely to take risks and they’re raising a generation who is unapologetic about going after what they desire.
In an era of YouEconomy and a world where we can be anything we want, why are we settling for underemployed and overworked? If you were unsure of what your goals were ahead of time, hang on to that one and push forward despite what anyone tells you.
Focus on the end goal and understand in one week this will be bigger than what it was a week ago, in one year it will be bigger than what it is now and someday you might have something you can pass on with your legacy.
Realizing your focus doesn’t need to be on social media content? Dreading building that website? We can help with that so you can get back to what makes you happy.
Time Management vs. Project Management:
“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” -Paul J. Meyer
Every report card since I could remember noted my exceptional time management skills. I quickly realized this is what adults noticed and appreciated so I added it to my scholarship applications and resume. My employers sang the same praises! When it came time to start my own business I thought managing my time would be the key to my success as I sat down in comfy clothes to work from home.
I noticed that while I still had a knack of creating lists and a fantastic sense of creating systems for a business project to work, I was now the one who had to create what needed to be done and do it.
Sidenote: If you haven’t read Rocket Fuel you need to. Soon. I mentioned it in this latest book club post.
As mentioned above start by guarding your time and blocking out space to dump ideas, create and plan. Especially if you’re running solo in the beginning, there needs to be just as much importance placed on creativity as there is on productivity.
Those emails will be answered in a timely manner and, no, holidays and weekends will not be the expected time frame for those to get done. Social media posts can be scheduled, group notifications can be silenced and blocking out a break before and after every call gives you time to get prepared or sneak in a quick break.
Get your shitlist done at once. If there’s something that you really just dread doing (for me it’s reviewing financial info for taxes, claims and deductions). But it’s still in my calendar for two hours once a month. Why? So it doesn’t loom over me or get forgotten until April. Make the big projects something to do on a Friday so you know you can shut down the computer when you’re done and get a nice long break as a reward for that accomplishment!
If I have a booked day, I let that be all that’s set in stone for that day. That will be my rest day. Why make things harder on yourself than they need to be? You’ll only end up resenting every activity and person involved.
We can feel more productive if we cross off several little things from our list rather than ‘only’ accomplishing one thing for the day but productivity is placed on what will generate revenue and keep more business coming in while you’re working on the small things.
What’s your time worth? Who do you know is chaotic? Remember there’s no honor in being the busiest person someone knows. Busy isn’t a badge of honor. What you produce says far more than the amount of hours you clock in an office.
Cash, Cash, Cash:
What are our safety nets? Maybe it’s holding on to the railing on stairs for fear of falling and breaking a bone. Perhaps it’s staying close to edge of pool while swimming (or ice skating to avoid looking like a fool).
Safety is the second level in the hierarchy of needs and, when we look at money, the two are hand-in-hand like a high school couple walking down the halls.
Security is found in money because it physically provides security for your physiological needs. It buys your groceries every week, pays for heating and air, clean water, clothing and most definitely for reproduction when creating or supporting your family.
Saving and investing money gives us safety in saving up for a ring, a home, a 401k or the life you want to live in retirement. It can be spent immediately and it can build wealth when saved or invested correctly. It’s the reason every single business owner believes they had something worth putting out there, employees to hire or measure metrics to see how they’re doing on goals.
In fact you’re often advised to save up a certain amount of cash in your job with a steady paycheck before going ????how long???? without the amount you’ve grown accustomed to. Not to mention you need to first invest in a website, branding, marketing, product creation, your people and software or programs to make the business run.
My first two adult jobs paid me about $30,000 each year. I was a recent college grad and settled for whatever I could find in the areas I moved to as a MILSO. I finally decided that doing something I loved every day, getting to manage my time and create things that would actually influence others was far greater than a pay cut I would inevitably take.
My first year (8 months) I made four figures.
This was great for my second year because I could only go up! I set a goal of earning five figures by December 2019 and, although it looks like I will fall short of that, I greatly increased my profits by thousands. My first steady client didn’t come along until the end of my first year and, from there, people saw I was consistently showing up and decided to join in.
I would not be able to do this were it not for my husband’s job providing a steady income to meet our basic living expenses and some fun money for sanity’s sake. I will also agree with you that finding personal success in providing for your family, saving for hugely expensive family needs and falling short of your own goals is also disheartening. Every time I find myself upset about what I am falling short of, I remind myself of everything else that has succeeded that is much harder to track than numbers. I will do better tomorrow. I will do better next week and I will do better next year.
This happens to more entrepreneurs than you think; probably because the most wild success stories are the ones blasted across timelines for us to compare ourselves to. So long as you’re moving in a forward direction, sharing your values with your clients, asking yourself the hard questions and providing the honest answer you’re doing more than fine.
Entrepreneurs are a different breed and there’s a reason everyone loves the idea of running their own business but few actually do it. You’re willing to take a risk because your belief in something greater is worth the pay off. You realize your time and future are invaluable or it will actually benefit your family and others if you branch out on your own. If you’re not going to work on building your own dreams you are living your life building someone else’s.
Everyone is going to end up somewhere in life we want you to end up with purpose. That’s worth a few risks.
Work on what makes you happy. Let us do the rest.