from Connect Authentically.com 04/14 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
I have been a business owner for more than 7 years – most as a digital marketing & communications consultant. With each business I have faced challenges and learned important lessons about what it means to be in business for yourself. My first business didn’t require much marketing or networking to become established. The need was great and the service was well understood. I created a safe, engaging environment and word spread organically. I was busy starting, and didn’t worry about connecting with other business owners. I had a mentor who guided me through a few client issues, but other than that, I didn’t experience the roller coaster ride that many start-ups experience.
The Roller Coaster Ride is extreme with my current business, and requires a tight seat belt. Business is growing exponentially every day, but there are many lessons in humility. I now understand what it really means to be a solo-preneur and work for yourself. You have to rely on your strength of character and will power to get through this ride. For me, this experience would not be possible without a strong community or network. With each success, I am filled with gratitude & a desire to share what I have learned. Below are 10 Lessons Learned as a Startup Entrepreneur
1 – Any connection could lead to business, but not always when you always expect it. Every connection is an opportunity for business. This is a reminder to always foster your relationships. Follow up always and never burn a bridge.
2 – Always believe in yourself &your services. If you don’t who will? Believing in yourself will make the difference. Practice visualizing your dreams before going to bed each night and remember that you will always be your own best advocate.
3 – Do not de-value yourself. You are worth it. Even if you are struggling to find new Customers, do not devalue your services. You are worth it and the right clients/ customers will come along. A little patience & perseverance goes a long way.
4 – Be authentically you in all inter-actions. You are good enough. There is no need to pretend to be someone else. Authenticity always shines through, so be yourself in all inter-actions.
5 – Starting a business requires confidence, hope & hard work. Starting a business takes a strong belief in yourself & your product, a conviction that it will succeed, but most of all it requires hard work because nothing will ever happen without putting in the time & effort.
6 – Just because others don’t get it right away, doesn’t mean you are making a mistake. Not everyone is going to understand why you are choosing to start your own business or what you do or how you can sustain an income, living your dreams. Just because “they” don’t get it doesn’t mean you are making a mistake. Follow your passions & keep going.
7- Never stop learning your craft. Then share what you learned with others to learn even more. There is always more to learn in your field and its trends, to stay up with or ahead of the competition. Keep exploring training opportunities, continue reading & never stop researching. Once you learn something, share that knowledge with others and you’ll learn even more – from their ideas. Be the teacher & the student!
8 – Don’t just join community, create community everywhere. When you are building a business by yourself it’s important to create your community of supporters. Find like-minded people to bounce ideas off of and you will all grow together.
9 – Find a support system of fellow entrepreneurs and be an active contributor. While your family & friends can offer some support, there is something to be said for leaning on other entrepreneurs. You need to surround yourself with people who understand your passion for creating your own business.
10 – Ask for help! Ask people who know more, then mentor someone else. Asking for help is never a sign of weakness. In order to succeed in life & business, you have to be willing to not only ask for help, but help others – by passing on your knowledge & wisdom. You’ll gain more by doing so.
Author: Nicole Dash, Founder & CEO of Connect Authentically, LLC, is a writer, blogger & business owner who lives in the DC area. She started her career as a journalist & copy editor. She also managed public relations & corporate communications for a national franchise company, but in 2009 started a home-based business and enjoyed success as a small business owner. Nicole is also a Huffington Post Blog Contributor and writes for The DC Moms. You can also read her work on Yahoo Voices. One of her essays was recently published in an anthology about friendships called The HerStories Project: Women Explore the Joy, Pain, & Power of Female Friendship.
Comments: Is anything missing? What are some of the most important lessons you have learned when starting your business? Share your thoughts with us.