For the past week, trying to become an entrepreneur with an actual business has been an emotional rollercoaster for me. One minute, I feel ready to market and deliver everything; the next minute, I think I cannot do this so should just look for my next desk job.
Yes, entrepreneurship is a risky, challenging, and overwhelming feat to take on. But if you really want it, you will accept all that and keep going. Sometimes, I really question whether I accept that or not. But I know the alternative of working the desk job all my life is not what I want. Is that a good enough reason? I won’t give up on this dream and I know I will really regret later in life if I look back and think I gave up opportunities and effort.
So, on this journey, besides keeping my determination, here are the lessons and ideas that have been important thus far:
Accept the Time and Risk
This is the basic warning that everyone hears about entrepreneurship. I have to put in the time to research and follow every avenue and see if it works out or not. Some will and some won’t; any one of them could be my ideal break or waste of time. I have to put my heart into each one just in case it is the right one.
In the initial stages of business, we can lose personal and work time to put it into getting this effort off the ground. But if you are passionate about it, that time should not feel like a miserable sacrifice. If you feel that way about your work, don’t make it your business.
And money. Set some aside for difficult periods. Reduce your risk by working and creating the business as a side hustle, if you have the energy. Otherwise, save a lot before you quit so you can live off that while the business picks up. The stress relief from having a sensible financial plan is so important. You don’t want to break your passion because there was no plan for need and necessity.
Over a Glass of Champagne
What does it take to bring your ideal customer to the table? “Champagne” is a concept that came up during a few masterclasses I took on Instagram. Offering a sample product or little insight can show people that you have something of value to offer. Reputation is a big thing these days with so many platforms where feedback about you can be easily posted. When starting out, armed with the confidence that you know what you are doing, get people samples of your products and services. It’s market research and brand recognition. The cost of what you offer can be really low but the benefit is powerful. The champagne is a worthwhile stage for a new business, I think. For myself, since I am selling my own skill and expertise in a consulting business, the champagne that I am working on is webinars and workshops in partnership with other local organizations that offer tips and tricks for customers on improvement. For bigger projects, there is opportunity to work with me further.
Sing it Like an Anthem
That is how well I need to rock my elevator pitch. It is shameful, but right now, when someone asks me what I will do as an entrepreneur and what is the value I can offer customers: my answer has too many “ums” and add-ons and the confidence is just not there. It should not sound overrehearsed but I need to sound like I know what is the value proposition I am putting out there and who is my ideal client. I have to be 100% sure I can nail what I have to say for the few minutes I have someone’s attention. Intrigue and inspire them and not bore them. For the work I want to do, I got to deliver that idea with a lot of love and rhythm because I know that I can follow it up with valuable service.
Rewinds, Resets and Redos
If there is one way that works, there are a thousand that won’t. Starting something new, surely, I will come across quite a few of the ways that don’t work. I will have to reset my strategies and vision if something is not feasible. And the work that is not good enough, I will have to redo. I have rethought my marketing and niche so many times. The important thing is to find and stick to a strong value proposition that I will be awesome with and not easily replaceable. I have made the mistake with other projects in the past that I tried to stick to work already done and it made me miss some critical improvements and insights for enhanced success.
A worthwhile quote to share from LinkedIn here. I would say I should be flexible about redos and resets until I have nailed this: “Having a strong foundation of knowledge across the board is definitely a powerful attribute for any professional; however, to truly separate yourself from the pack you need to have some sort of specialized focus. In the end, its all about the value we bring to our customers. “
- Find some strong mentors. I can have more than one.
- Keep talking to people for ideas and insights.
- Find my best focus and elevator pitch.
- Plan, plan, plan. Break down the dream to goals and the goals to steps and the steps into a to do list.
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