Being an entrepreneur can definitely be an educational experience, as I’m sure many of you know firsthand. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned since I officially started my own business:
1) Patience isn’t just a virtue; it’s an essential. So are faith and perseverance, otherwise we’d be so tempted to give up when things don’t go the way we wanted or take longer than we’d hoped to succeed. So keep going even when you start doubting yourself and believe that it will all work out for the best.
2) Self-confidence isn’t just a nice to have when you’re in business for yourself. Without it, you will hold yourself back and sabotage your own efforts, sometimes without even realizing it.
3) Entrepreneurship is one of greatest self-development exercises and opportunities, as Fabienne Fredrickson says. It makes you look closely at your deepest fears, your strongest desires, your belief in yourself and what matters most in your life. It makes you re-examine some of the limiting beliefs you may have had for your entire life.
4) Working with and learning from people who have done what you are trying to do makes the process so much easier and positive. Learn from them, their successes and their mistakes so that you don’t have to start from scratch. Building a supportive community can help you work towards and reach your goals more quickly than you would have on your own – and you will have the added benefit of the deep connections you forge along the way.
5) Knowing why you are doing this at all is key. There will be the inevitable ups and down on the road to your entrepreneurial success, and if you aren’t clear on what you are doing it for in the first place, you will be tempted to give up when the challenges and obstacles seem to lurk and jump out at you from every corner. What is so important about your dream that you will push through those challenges and find a way around those obstacles? What is your big vision that calls to you?
6) Don’t give up when other people’s negative energy – and your own inner gremlin – threatens to drag you down. Believe in yourself; believe in your vision and what you are doing. There are people out there who will greatly benefit from having you and what you offer in their lives. You have gifts that you are meant to share with the world. Don’t hold back out of fear of what others will say or how it will look.
7) Sometimes you have to be willing to stand out of the crowd and be a little different. For some of us more introverted people, we may often be content to hold back and let someone else be in the spotlight. If we are going to be successful in our businesses and help as many people as possible, we will have to learn to talk to people and share what we do, perhaps in a more outgoing way than we are used to.
8) We have to be willing to be uncomfortable to achieve our goals. We have to push ourselves beyond our comfort zones and do things that perhaps we have never done before, like pushing ourselves to network, speak in front of groups or promote ourselves. This takes practice, and each step forward is an accomplishment that will make us stronger.
9) And one of the most important lessons: We have to remain true to ourselves and our values. There may be times when we see someone who succeeded by lying or cheating or engaging in some negative behavior. We may start to think that this is what is needed to truly succeed. Don’t give in to those who believe you have to take shortcuts or go against your values to succeed. Would that really feel like success to you anyhow, if you gave up yourself along the way?
There are so many lessons we can learn as entrepreneurs. Let me know some of the lessons you’ve learned along the entrepreneurial journey.