What better day of the week (#TBT!) to roll out a three part series featuring advice from successful entrepreneurs on what you wish they’d known when they started their entrepreneurial journeys.
Read and listen to a roundup list of stories that will make you think, laugh out loud, and give you a little insight as you start down your own business owner career path. And stay tuned for next week when we share even more tales of taking flight!
I wish I knew that you don’t have to be alone on this journey
I spent my first entrepreneurial outing believing I was alone. I didn’t think there was anywhere I could go for help and just drove forward, until it burnt me out.
Today I know there are so many ways to get help, from peer groups, to coaches and mentors and in creating your own community of supporters around you. The entrepreneurial journey isn’t meant to be a lonely one!
Mike Knapp, Incrementa (un)Consulting
Don’t wait until you know everything
I thought I needed to know it all before launching that first business, and somehow could not get there.
Once I realized that what I needed to know was what I wanted to achieve, and carried the passion for learning how to do that, entrepreneurship became an exciting evolving journey into something completely different than I had first thought.
The journey is about constantly learning, and knowing more, without ever knowing everything.
Dave Cavan, Incrementa (un)Consulting
Get a better understanding of the importance of clarity
Shannon Pearson, Incrementa (un)Consulting
I wish I knew that vulnerability is a strength and not a weakness
As a new consultant many years ago, I felt I had to project an image of strength and that I knew all the answers. Why would someone take my recommendations or follow my leadership if I didn’t?
I learned over the years, both observing this is myself and the business owners I worked with, the power of being vulnerable and daringly honest. I saw the miraculous transformations possible by telling the whole, honest and vulnerable truth, whether to a supportive group, a formal advisory board or a peer mentor.
Once we allow the vulnerability to clearly and accurately describe where our business is, including all the challenges and stresses, we can ask for the right kind of help and make better decisions.
Hillary Samson, Samson Consulting
How addictive it is—which is why there are so many serial entrepreneurs maybe
6 months in I thought, “This is hard, I’m probably going to fail.”
12 months in I thought, “This is hard, there’s a chance I could succeed.”
18 months in I’m now thinking, “This is hard, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. If I fail, I’ll try again.”
I’m sure in another 6 months it’ll still be hard and I’ll still feel like I’m failing.
At the start I felt like I knew what I was doing but wasn’t seeing traction. After 18 months I see the evidence of the hard work, and am relearning lessons learned over a 20 year career. But one thing I know for sure—being an entrepreneur is hard work and fun.
I love being in a community of founders. I love being a founder, the creative act, the force of will.
Michael Argast, Kobalt.io
I wish I knew that cash is king
Back when I started I had perfect credit and banks were happy to lend me money or extend credit almost without question. As I grew my business, hired staff and increased my overhead (aka the time when I actually needed that cash/credit) the banks wouldn’t lend it to me.
If I could do it over I would have gone to my bank for a business line of credit right from day one and continued to accept new credit as it was offered, even if I felt I didn’t need it. So that on the day I did need it, I had it.
Today I have restructured my business to better manage AR and am working at building a relationship with my banker so he knows me if I come calling.
Amanda Mungal, It’s Your Time
I wish I knew just how important it was to pave your own, unique path
Early on in my entrepreneurial journey, I leaned on many in my network for advice, lessons learned and guidance. Their advice was inspirational and encouraging and helped paint a true picture of what to expect—the good, the bad and the ugly.
However, their path was their path and proved to be successful for them.
It’s important to know that each of us comes with our own experience, strengths and vision. It takes bravery to pave your own path and take the road less travelled. As an entrepreneur, trust yourself and identify your vision, definition of success and path to get there.
Be bold, be brave, be fearless, be different.
Sofia Arisheh, Upskill Consulting