Our third and final in the series of what I wish I’d known when I started my entrepreneurial journey wraps with advice on using your resources, creating clarity early and just being yourself. Late to the game? Get caught up on our first and second posts.
I wish I knew the journey is NOT about growing a business but growing myself!
When I was starting out, I went through the challenges and pains that would never cross my mind. I knew I wouldn’t be able to afford to keep the same mentality, lifestyle and same ME if I wanted to survive and thrive.
I cried, blamed, victimized and yelled! But once I had a strong why I signed up for this, I chose to do difficult things. I chose to solve problems and being challenged, I chose to sacrifice, and I chose to grow! And growth and comfort will never co-exist…
Samin Saadat, Jalepeno Engagement
It’s virtually impossible to do it all by yourself, even though you think you need to
When I first started my business, there was a lot to learn—accounting, banking, new software, website development, search engine optimization, web hosting, email security, legal issues, marketing, elevator pitches, business development, invoicing, and the list goes on.
I spent lots of time trying to figure all of this out; however, I learned that if I tried to manage all the minutiae of the business, I wouldn’t be able to actually focus on getting the company off the ground. You can’t be an expert at everything so rely on people who are. They’ll be better at it and can do it faster than you can, thus freeing up your time to build your business.
Cissy Pau, Clear HR Consulting Inc.
Understand the value of relationships
Dominic Vogel, Cyber.sc
Greater clarity about what the value I offer
My career has spanned over 30 years and I have always felt I excelled at most things I did. However, it was not until recently that I had the ability to rethink what life experiences have had the most impact on where I am today.
I had a conversation with a colleague last week and I mentioned that I used to race sailboats. It was just something I said in passing but he picked up on it and asked me what role I played on the boat. I was the Fore-deck person; the one who runs around on the bow of the boat and manages the spinnaker (big colourful balloon like sail) as we round the marks on the racecourse.
Through our conversation he made me realise that the work I do with entrepreneurs today is the same work I used to do on the racecourse. I was not the person steering the yacht but the person up front looking for where the wind was filling in, shifts of the wind, where the opportunities were for catching wind the other competitors missed.
This put us in the great position of winning many prestigious races. This is the same work I do as a TEC Chair and Executive Coach. I am not steering the company but rather working with business leaders who are committed to making sure their businesses are relevant and staying on the forefront of change.
A big part of what I do with my clients is look for opportunities and ways to adjust their sails to ride the winds of change. I don’t have all the answers but I am always looking for ways to take what has always done and see if there’s a different way to approach the challenge and new market opportunities. I have never thought the work on the sailboat had anything to do with what I do today. I wish I had this clarity years ago—I might have approached the work I do in a very different way.
Julia Oulton, Oulton & Associates Consulting
There is always someone with a bigger boat!
My mentor recently shared one of his guiding principles which is, “There is always someone with a bigger boat!”
When I first started consulting, I wish I had kept that in mind more.
I was caught up in feeling inadequate around those more successful, more accomplished and more “out-there” than me.
There is another quote that speaks to the same idea, and that is we shouldn’t compare our beginnings to someone else’s middle or end. It can deflate us and make us feel like we are not good enough yet when we are all on our own journey, on our own perfect timeline.
I actually now believe comparison is the thief of joy period so don’t do it if you don’t have to. Do your thing and don’t apologize. The right people will find you in time and they will stay. Do your thing!
Kathy Andrews, Cinga Leadership
You need to be YOURSELF!
I learned this the hard way. For many years, I spent so much time trying to imitate others: successful family members, clients, my “heroes” in the industry. I tried to copy their styles, methods, scripts, ideas, mindset etc.
While there is a place to learn from other people’s experiences and mistakes, I ended up really straying from who I am.
It wasn’t good for my own mental health, the success of my company or my clients. Since I started to dig into who I am, my strengths, and defining my OWN vision and values, things have shifted massively. Work is more fun and initiatives flow with a lot less effort. It seems life is often just as much about unlearning old habits and ways of thinking, as learning new ones!
Wim Kerkhoff, Crafty Pengins
Change will do you good
I wish I knew that it was okay to make changes. I’ve spent far too much time thinking that our current business model is the best and also afraid to make changes that would disrupt the team.
I ended up limiting company growth and profitability thinking we couldn’t change. In the last 12 months, we’ve changed our processes, added new systems and starting making hard decisions. The team couldn’t be happier!
Bikram Johal, Banhall Consulting Ltd.