The challenge of developing a successful business begins in the moment that you decide you want to leave the security of traditional employment and branch out on your own. It’s wonderful if you have a complete vision, but I find with many of the people I coach that while the talents and possibilities for a business exist, the clear vision for the business does not–and that’s okay. Be prepared for your vision to evolve as you move through your experience.
Problems can occur when the budding entrepreneur anticipates quick success (this can happen with the seasoned entrepreneur as well). Also note I said quick, not quick and easy. There isn’t a guarantee of success when you gather your tools, build a website and hang up your shingle, so it’s especially helpful if you pick something that you love. It’s also unlikely that your experience will be easy. And if you can’t love the thing itself that you’re launching it is probably best that you at least love those whom you will be serving. Need I say that if you’re in it for the money alone, and it is a people oriented business, you will be setting yourself up for a bumpy ride.
All that having been said, there are examples of hard-nosed business men like Donald Trump who would hardly be thought of as a warm and fuzzy entrepreneurs–and they seem to just go from one success to the next. In my case, I work with people who are healers, coaches, intuitives and the like, so there is a desire to be of service and to make a positive difference in the lives of others–no hard nosed business folks among them (thank goodness). If you don’t love the niche you’re working in, or are burned out from a previous career–you might want to look at real estate investment or working with the stock market–something where nerves of steel, not warm and fuzzy traits are needed. The one proviso for the hard-nosed entrepreneurial journey is that often these businesses require money or partners with money, but what if that isn’t the case for you? If you’re not financial flush, and entrepreneurs often aren’t, are you prepared to start simply and aim for a journey to success, not overnight success?
In the event that you are anticipating parachuting out of a difficult job or career into a new business project, here are some things for you to think over as you launch your new career:
- What do you really want to get out of this deal? How do you feel about the people you will work with or serve and the work you will do?
- How soon do you need the business to take off? Do you have a spouse, a day job or some other means of support until your business can support you?
- How do you really feel about the idea of success being a journey? Can you think kindly of yourself and your experience once you’re underway?
Knowing your desired outcome in terms of financial compensation, desired lifestyle (work from home, flexible schedule, ability to travel, etc.) should be understood up front so you’re building a business model that fits your dream. And answering the above questions may give you pause with regard to your entrepreneurial journey–is this really the right thing for you or do you need to look at a more conventional way to earn your living?
There are some lucky ducks who are overnight successes, but even those, upon close examination, often had past experience of some sort–there’s either a parent, partner or friend they could lean on to help them achieve their success. If you’re going it alone, you have to be both honest with yourself about the upcoming journey and your willingness to embrace it fully with eyes wide open. Harboring a belief that you and your business will be an overnight sensation will prevent you from playing your best game, meaning that you understand and accept that failures are a part of the learning experience of a burgeoning entrepreneur.
Your greatest strength, lessons and character traits are born out of your journeys; embrace your business journey fully and success will become the icing on your entrepreneurial cake.