Very often when you look back on your life journey you can take away valuable lessons. I took the leap into full entrepreneurship in 2018. Looking back now there are things that I wish someone had told me then or took me under their wings to teach me at the start.
Albeit the good thing is I have learned from my mistakes and use this information to help my clients avoid the pitfalls and challenges you can encounter when starting a business.
According to Robin Sharma, “The real trick in life is to turn hindsight into foresight that gives insights” So here are some insights to help you along on your start-up journey:
1. Give yourself the necessary time to develop your ideas and make them viable.
Most people tend to feel that if they fail at something the first time, it may be that they are not meant to be following that path. They quickly abandon their ideas and try something new. This is the start of problems in business.
Business development requires ideas to be developed, tested and then rinsed and repeated. This gets the right balance and combination that works.
Also avoid “shiny object syndrome” whereby you are going for the next best, the easiest, the quickest and abandoning your ideas halfway through. Be a finisher not just a starter.
2. Start your journey with help.
Mistakes can be costly and irreversible sometimes. Don’t wait until you are stuck or let ego hold you back from getting a coach or a mentor.
It will save you wasted time and money. It will also mean that you learn things the right way the first time, so that you don’t need to unlearn and relearn. Finding the right coach and mentor that is fit is not always easy.
When in doubt, seek out accredited and certified coaches. These are coaches who have taken the time to hone their skills professionally and get coached and mentored themselves. I became an accredited coach because I believe that independent verification of what I offer and how I treat my clients will make sure the client is getting the best of the best. Further, this was a good confidence boost for me too.
3. Make growth your focus from the beginning.
I am talking here about both business and personal growth.
Most people focus on business growth and only think of personal growth when things are not working or have failed. It is important to remember that as an entrepreneur your business grows in proportion to how you grow. The more you invest in your growth, the more you develop the capabilities and capacity to run a successful business.
Having coached many women through their entrepreneurial journey, I realise that at some point they can get stuck in inaction. This is because they have reached the extent to which their current state of growth can take them. In order to go further, they need to grow further. It is then time to move from goal-focused sight to growth-focused sight. This will plug the gap between where you are and where you want to be.
4. Play to Your Strengths.
We see in movies that superpowers bestow certain capabilities on ordinary people so that they perform extraordinary mental and physical feats.
Most times, the superheroes discover their strengths accidentally, but you have no such luxury as an entrepreneur. Trial and error processes to discover your strength may cost you dearly.
There are fast and easy ways of taking tests to get an idea of your strengths, personality traits and weaknesses. I offer DISC Behavioral and Personality Tests to each of my clients at the start of their coaching journey. I have found this to be the best way to start off the coaching relationship. Such a start allows us to be aligned to what comes naturally to you to start you off towards success, feeling empowered by the knowledge of your strength and potential.
5. Find out what type of entrepreneur you are.
This links to point number 4. When you find your strength, it is important to find out where it is best suited and use it. For example, a fish is great and fast but only in water; on land it will not even survive let alone move well. Another example: a Cheetah is the fastest animal on land, but in water it will not be able to move enough to save it from becoming dead meat to an alligator. When you find your best fitting environment, method and activity for business, you will learn faster and be more agile than those whose strengths are not suited to the environment. To find out what type of entrepreneur you are, you can absolutely take the free test here.
6. You make your own luck.
Anthony Robbins says: “luck is what happens when opportunity meets preparation”. Many people wait until they feel they are ready or certain to do something before they get going. However, it is important to begin with the end in mind, because by the time you can truly see the opportunity, it may be too late to start preparing.
For example, within my programme The Aligned Introvert Method® the final stage is leadership. Many entrepreneurs don’t see themselves as leaders or see the value in developing leadership skills. They soon wake up and realise that without it, growing a business will be very challenging. It is why the bigger companies at some point employ a CEO and the founder takes more of an advisory board role.
This is to give the company a better chance of survival under the leadership of a more competent person. With this in mind, start with developing leadership skills as part of your personal development.
7. Don’t quit your job without financial stability to run your business.
People throw in the towel too quickly when they set up their own business and things seem hard. Many experts say that the start-up phase of a business can take anything between 3 to 5 years before the business is stable enough to experience sustainable growth. This is more time than many new entrepreneurs expect.
In addition, laying the right foundations can take meticulous planning, development, and investment. Freedom, which is the ‘why’ behind many entrepreneurs’ leap to do their own thing, is never easy to accomplish.
A lot of sacrifice, change and adaptability goes into creating long lasting freedom.
When you are going through financial pressure, you are more than likely to throw in the towel and quit while you are making slow progress because your needs and those of your loved ones have to be met. Hence, it is advisable that where you are not brave enough to seek the investment and management of funds to create the business you want, start off as a side hustle. Then, build your savings and capital, build your skills and start your mindset shift while you have the stability of a pay cheque coming in every month.
Yes! Indeed, I wish I had someone like me there to give me advice when I first started.
But I am one who never wastes any of my life experiences and that includes my failures and challenges, hence I am sharing with you today, to help you avoid the costly and painful mistakes I have made.
If you are already on the journey, as Julia Cameron says: “It is never too late to begin again”.
It is better to “fail forward” than to stagnate in unhappiness and unfulfillment, afraid of the mistakes you may make if you tried to go after your entrepreneurial dream.
I stayed stuck in that space and unhappy for 15 years, until I realised that a perfect life devoid of mistakes is a life not worth living.
Better to have tried, and failed, and have some legacy to leave behind, than never to have tried at all and to have been forgotten.
This is what keeps me motivated and inspired to thrive.
If my insights from hindsight can help you do same, that in itself is already a success to me.