3 Important Lessons From Being an Entrepreneur

what being an entrepreneur has taught me

18 months ago, I packed up my cubicle, said ‘see ya later!’ to co-workers and embarked on my entrepreneurial journey.

A week ago, I delivered a negotiation masterclass in the heart of New York City for the Clinton Foundation.

 

Given the timeline I think it’s easy to assume that those 18 months were filled with glorious progress and self-fulfilling optimism.

But they weren’t.

The path hasn’t always been clear, or smooth. It certainly hasn’t been easy. And more often than not I wake up in the morning after a night of tossing and turning and seriously consider throwing in the towel and heading back to that little grey cube in corporateland.

So I’m celebrating the progress I’ve made – but not at all forgetting the important lessons I’ve learned along the way. As my confidence as an entrepreneur has developed from ‘I’m an expert…?’ to ‘I’m the expert.’ there have been dips and twists and turns. But ultimately I’m headed in the right direction. I want to share these lessons with you today because I know that my journey could be your journey, and I want to help you get to your next milestone with as few bumps as possible.


If it doesn’t feel right, change it

Some ideas look really good on paper, but fall flat in execution. Other ideas tick all the right business boxes (market! demand! expertise!) but leave you underwhelmed emotionally. Let them go. If you’re trying to offer a service to your clients that you don’t actually enjoy delivering…they’re going to know it, and your results will reflect that.

It took me over a year to pin down my best, most effective way of working with clients 1-on-1. Done-for-you negotiation? Nope. Contract reviews? Not going to work. All pricing, all the time? Non merci. Now days it feels really good to have tapped into my strengths as a teacher and mentor rather than a ‘just give it to me I’ll do it all for you’ service provider.


Asking for help is a sign of strength

Let go of the need to be right. Or a know-it-all. Or the urge to project a vibe of supreme self-confidence and unwavering self-belief. Ask for help when you need it.

For me, this has meant building a network of fellow entrepreneurs and close friends that I can turn to – 100% shame free – when I’m stuck. Sometimes it’s strategic insight I need help with, but a lot of the time, it’s that I’ve come down with a raging case of self-doubt and am questioning even being on this entrepreneurial journey. In those moments I need a good swift kick in the butt to get my mojo going again and my business moving forward.

Find people willing to kick you in the butt. With love.


Simple actions create amazing opportunities

Building a business can feel like trying to move a pile of sand with an itty bitty teaspoon. Results are slow to materialize, even when you’re on the move and working your buns off each day. We keep our eyes on the horizon for our Next Big Thing that’ll really rocket us forward. So we forget the value in all the small steps we’re taking. For me, this meant embracing things like:

  • Sending an email (3 paragraphs! Under 250 words!) asking for a sale. Or to guest post. Not just drafting it and then staring at it for a few weeks.
     
  • Hitting publish on that blog post even if all the stats show that no one read the last one.
     
  • Answering emails and DMs and Facebook messages from people I – gasp! – don’t know already.
     
  • Hosting webinar after webinar after webinar with fewer than 3 people in attendance live.

This 3rd lesson became a game changer for me once I realized that the source of nearly all of my Big Things were a series of simple actions.

Lessons in Action 1:
Ask a friend for guest blogging ideas > Send an email to Nathalie Lussier > Get featured on her Off The Charts podcast, write for the Ambition Ally blog and create a custom training for the HeartQuarters Insiders.

(I asked for help when I was stuck, I sent an email)

Lessons in Action 2:
Write blog posts consistently > Tweet them out > Answer a DM from an industry pro > Lead a webinar for UN Women with other 800 attendees worldwide > Deliver a masterclass for the Clinton Foundation.

(I wrote/tweeted/webinar-ed with a mini audience, I answered the DMs and emails, I prepped my buns off)

 

 

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