Info for Young Entrepreneurs

1. Find your obsession. “Find your obsession” is different from “follow your passion.” Your passion is something you love doing. Your obsession is something you cannot live without doing. And there’s a difference. A passion is sometimes borne from a hobby, for example, photography. You may be passionate about photography, but when the pressure is on to make money with photography that passion can wane in the drudgery of the daily work. Conversely, if you are obsessive about photography, rarely will any part of the work seem like drudgery. Passion will burn out; obsession rarely does. Obsession is what you need when starting a business.

2. Decide on your operational end-game. Once you find your obsession, ask yourself this: Do you want to have a “practice” or a “business?” A “practice” is a business that is dependent on your direct involvement, whereas a “business” can become independent of your involvement and still be successful.

A “business” in this context is one where you can rely on the collective work of others you employ to produce income, or survive as an ongoing concern if you were unable to work in the business on a daily basis. It can be bought or sold regardless of your involvement.

Having a practice means it is difficult, if not impossible, to separate the work output of the business from your personal output. For example, if you have a unique skill or ability on which the income of your business rests primarily on you to do the work (e.g., an accountant, yoga instructor, consultant, or tattoo artist) you are likely to have a practice. It is unlikely this type of business could not be bought or sold without your involvement.

There’s nothing wrong with either option, but it is important to understand what kind of business operation you want five years after you start because it will shape your decisions today. If you know you are going to be happy making a living as a tattoo artist chasing your obsession, then your business decisions will be made with this in mind. However, if your goal is to have a tattoo shop with ten employees in five years, your approach needs to be different. Keep in mind that most small businesses start as practices and evolve. Moreover, those who just wanted to “do their thing” end up trying to manage a business and are no longer working at their obsession.

3. Start your business “on the side.” Many say “jump” into entrepreneurship without a net. Having done it that way many times, I suggest you do not unless you have no other choice. The financial pressure is too high for most people. The pressure to make rent payments, buy food, and put gas in your car will have you chasing business that isn’t worth your time or in your area of focus so that you can survive. You will lose focus of what you are trying to accomplish, and few obsessions can withstand that pressure. My advice: Start your business on the side if you can. Get or maintain a job to have some income flowing. You will feel less pressure and be able to stay focused on our business goals. Then strive for your “choice number” with your business income.

About Networking at Live Events

The income from those clients more than paid for the investment in traveling and attending the live event.

One way to find events is to get on the mailing lists of the influencers in your industry. Pick ones who have an agenda that will also be beneficial and interesting to you.

You can also Google event calendars for events in your area or other locations that you would like to travel to.

Of course, it will be twice as good if you pick an event where you will be learning something of value for your own business. Then you’ll essentially be killing two birds with one stone—more knowledge for your business and more leads for your business.

Be sure to take lots of business cards but also have a way to track who you speak with so you can follow up with them after the event.

Lastly, be sure to do your follow up right after the event so people remember who you are.

Tips

Many coaches ask me, “Where can I find qualified leads offline?” Here are some tips:

  • Networking Meetings such as BNI, Meet-Up, local entrepreneur groups, Toastmasters, and your local Chamber of Commerce
  • Meetings for International Coaching Federation (ICF) have chapters in all major cities http://www.coachfederation.org
  • Live events – look for ones that are targeted to your target market
  • Local support groups that are for your ideal client’s issues and concerns
  • Have a booth at a local job expo, business exhibition, or other event that draws your ideal prospect
  • Start your own local support or business group and invite the community or send individual invitations to people you know who may qualify as a prospect

New Networking Paradigm

Networking is an opportunity to find people who are in sync with you. But it’s about building relationships, not just getting sales. There is a new trend in networking that you should be aware of. The old paradigm was “How can I get their attention? How can I find a new prospect?” The new paradigm is “What does this person want or need? How can I be of service to them? How can I solve their problem?”

Keys to Achieving Entrepreneurial Success

1. Know what you are going to do to make money:

If you are going to be a successful entrepreneur it is important to know how you are going to generate income. Exactly what is your vision for entrepreneurship? Being an entrepreneur is not like having a hobby. You much be able to transform your idea to income.

2. Don’t be so quick to fire your boss:

I know you are probably so excited to transition from employee to entrepreneur that you are ready to turn in your “two weeks” notice and never look back. But is that really the best choice to make? There are many benefits to keeping your job. It is a wise idea to keep your job so that you can have money coming in to pay your bills. If you don’t have money coming in to pay your bills that is going to be very stressful, and it will be challenging for you to unleash creative entrepreneurial ideas with a stressed out mind.

It is also a wise idea to keep your job because you can use money from your job to fund your entrepreneurial vision. You can set aside a portion of your paycheck to buy things you need to launch and grow your business. It can be more beneficial for you to wait to leave your job after your business has grown and you are financially secure.

3. Don’t give up:

Being an entrepreneur is not easy and success probably won’t happen overnight. So you must be driven and have determination. Honestly, there may even be some times when you want to give up but you can’t. Have a plan for business success and keep taking action. Back your action with faith and expect amazing things to happen.

Ways Investing in Impact Helps Business

Companies that focus on impact have 12-14 times more income than those that focus only on profit. They even perform better than best practices companies in Jim Collins’ Good to Great list.

You have distinctive positioning. This is especially important for crowded markets and those with established and well-regarded players. Both millennials and over-40s are drawn to companies with a higher purpose, by knowing that their purchases matter. People are increasingly willing to look at products and services not just as commodities, but as the opportunity to have a high value experience grounded in impact and the ability to contribute themselves just by supporting impact-focused companies.

You attract the best people, ones that are motivated by your mission. That means an engaged workforce. People are inspired to perform above and beyond, to bring themselves more fully into their work. Fulfilling work, where we spend so much of our days, helps us have a fulfilling life.

You reduce the churn of employee departures. You avoid money and knowledge lost due to increased turnover and the loss of valued employees It’s a renewing wheel where you retain valuable employees in the older age range with their wealth of experience and promising young performers too, and bring in even more engaged people into your workforce, and potentially even new customers as engaged employees become brand ambassadors.

You thrive with a higher purpose. What helps you get through those challenging times is a bigger picture, a greater contribution that you are willing to make. So you move through obstacles more easily, you stay motivated to move through them, and you don’t waste a lot of time and energy wishing things were different.

Yin and Yang of the Entrepreneur

“In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang (also yin-yang or yin yang, yīnyáng, “dark-bright”) describe how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. ” (Yin and yang – Wikipedia)

“A starting definition: Yin / Yang: Two halves that together complete wholeness. Yin and yang are also the starting point for change. When something is whole, by definition it is unchanging and complete. So when you split something into two halves – yin / yang, it upsets the equilibrium of wholeness. This starts both halves chasing after each other as they seek a new balance with each other. The word Yin comes out to mean “shady side” and Yang “sunny side”. Yin Yang is the concept of duality forming a whole. We encounter examples of Yin and Yang every day. As examples: night (Yin) and day (Yang), female (Yin) and male (Yang). Over thousands of years quite a bit has been sorted and grouped under various Yin Yang classification systems.” (personaltao.com/teachings/questions/what-is-yin-yang)

As a female entrepreneur and a person who provides consulting services to other female entrepreneurs I have experienced my fair share of the effects of a business managed with too much Yin. Equally I have witnessed the effects of a business with way too much Yang. Whenever there is too much of one or the other the business finds itself out of balance.

Too many times the fairytale story of the female entrepreneur ends up being the story of the “Damsel in Distress from the town of Stuckinthemud, in the beautiful state of Overwhelmed”. In this story the female is waiting for a saving grace, a knight in shining armor. She is screaming from the roof top that no one cares about me and my business or that no one understands her plight.

Which leads me to ponder what is it about our female upbringing, society’s attitudes or our collective consciousness that has us acting out this story over and over again? Some of us have broken free, but 90{0c6f08671619fdafb8f8598f2cd85f3b99f181e0524d6ced935274866d48cecd} of the women entrepreneurs that I meet or work with are in a state of overwhelm and they don’t mind expressing it. It is very hard to witness this self-destructive (business-destructive) approach to management. It is even harder to see yourself or evaluate these behaviors when you are literally being sucked down by this pool of quicksand.

STOP! What I have just stated here might have just sent prickly thorns up your spine. It might have you getting ready to boldly click the delete button and disregard what I am about to share. I beg you to take a deep breath and stick with me. I promise that taking this moment of self-reflection might just do you and your business a world of good. At the bare minimum is can’t hurt you to read on.

Some might say that it is written in our female DNA to take things to heart, to have an extreme emotional attachment to the world we create or to manage our staff and affairs with this emotional attachment. These connections, this insight make us wonderful mothers, grandmothers, friends and spouses. Unchecked it does not make us good managers or business owners. Too much emotional attachment skews the logical minds ability to make decisions and take action. When we are stuck in the emotional we tend to become victims, paralyzed and unable to make simple decisions or even worse, critical decisions. We tend to want to point fingers and feel as if no one cares. Time and time again I have been told by female entrepreneurs that they feel like their staff doesn’t listen or don’t care about their business. They make statements like; I have to do it myself, because no one seems to care. I need you to hear this, “No one cares as much as you and no one will ever care as much as you”. Get over it. There is no knight in shining armor; there is no perfect employee. It’s your creation, how will you choose to create it, mold it, caress it, water it, propel it. Do not wait until things feel cozy, or you feel supported. You are your Yang. You are the other side of your whole. When you are in balance your business and staff follow your lead and become balanced. A very wise man once said, “A business’ health and wellbeing is as healthy as its owner’s mental health state”. What mental health diagnosis code would you use for your business today?

It is within the balance of intuitive knowing (YIN) and logical (YANG) forward movement that great things are created. Overwhelmed is just too much YIN, which makes us over analyze, second guess and fear decision making. We get stuck in the minutia and loose site of the big picture. I started this article off with the idea of balance found in the YIN/YANG symbol. What if we honored our Yin (female self) but allowed or introduced more Yang (male self) to balance out the Yin. How can we do that?

The first step is always acknowledgment. Recognizing the pattern is half the battle. Take a moment to truthfully reflect on the concept of “Damsel in Distress” or the state of being overwhelmed. Jot down where this is showing up in your professional life. Be brutally honest here. It is the only way out of the mud.