If your big dream is to have your own company, invent new products, change the world through your business mission and finally get the freedom a 9 to 5 job will never grant you, you must have thought about it a thousand times. How do you get to start your own business? What’s it like? The best answer we found is that it’s never quite as you imagine it will be, and that’s not a bad thing, but it’s always good to arm yourself with knowledge and take advantage of other people’s experience. That’s why we’re continuing our series on female entrepreneurship, after yesterday’s article on money, with new lessons learned by six amazing women after their first years in business.
Without any further ado, here’s what these passionate female entrepreneurs found out about running a business:
You should start before you’re ready
Scary, right? Well, Laura Gmeinder has some great insights about this. As a leadership coach and business consultant, who coached all levels of executive leadership and management, she knows a thing or about two assessing your potential and going for it.
It’s important to start before you feel ready because when you push past your comfort zone, you welcome growth. When change is involved it’s normal to be scared and excited. We never feel 100% ready; that feeling is there to remind us that we have room to grow.
We wholeheartedly support Laura’s message. As an organization who exists to empower women, we know that they want everything to be perfect before launching anything – a website, a product, even the idea of a product. And while many of us work in the shadows perfecting our elevator pitch, website copy, Facebook posts, others are stepping into the spotlight with products and services not even half as good as ours and people shower them with money and love, because they started before they were ready.
Know your potential to override that feeling of fear. Mindset is critical to starting and growing a business. What you think you can do and what you work towards turns into your reality. To be successful you need to be resilient and wake up each day like you have never heard no. Believe in your mission- and keep moving forward no matter what!
Stay on your own path and true to your own style
Siân Jones is the amazingly talented woman behind Bert Jewellery. Just look for yourself at the wonderful creations in their gallery. Breathtaking, right? Well, Siân told us that when she first started her business, she initially felt envious of other jewelers who appeared to achieve success very quickly, and she found herself subconsciously beginning to emulate their style. What happened next was this:
Very quickly, I realized I felt uninspired and less passionate about my work. So I created a range that I loved and that I would want to wear: completely different to anything I’d seen before. The feedback to the range was incredible and proved that I should never lose my vision or feel envious of other brands. There’s a market for every sense of style and taste, and there’s room for everybody. Find yours, stay true to it, and people will love it too.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of imitating something you see clients like, but you’d be doing yourself a huge disservice. You should want to attract the right clients, not just any clients. You should only care about the ones who are looking specifically for what you have to offer.
Use your momentum for growth
Susie Ramroop is a Transformational Coach who just loves helping people change their lives. 18 months into her business, she realized that whenever she signed up a new client or launched a new offer, she would congratulate herself for a job well done and then take her foot off the pedal. Unlike most of us, who might be doing the exact same thing, she caught herself doing it and decided to shake things up.
When your energy is high because of something you have achieved, that is the perfect time to take action on something new. It’s the definition of leverage.
Why did she do this? Why did she start to use one success as a stepping stone on her way to another? It’s simple, she figured out that letting your engines cool off isn’t something you should do mid-flight:
Every time I embarked on something new, I had all the fear associated with starting from scratch. I decided to take my own coaching – instead of stopping at self-congratulation, I’d use that momentum to propel me into something that I am fearful of.
Not everyone will get what you do, and that’s fine
The most important lesson Anna Grunduls learned in her first year as a business owner was that some people think small and that’s OK. You surely know what Anna is talking about, there’s no way you ended up reading this article today without ever being involved in something creative, or in doing things outside of what society tells women they should be doing.
When Anna was just starting her creative business – illustrating superb coloring pages – she kept being asked: “when will you get a normal job?”. It came from her family, closest friends or even strangers and each time she got overly irritated. She interpreted it as though they didn’t believe in her or her business and that was hurting her.
It took me several months to understand. They simply have a different mindset. Nowadays, when I get asked “When will you find a normal job?”, I reply “Hopefully never!” – I do what I love and get paid for it, why in the world would I want to change that? 🙂
Listen to your inner voice, it knows more than you think
As a female small business owner for more than 25 years, Cynthia Rowland – the creator of Facial Magic, has learned a lot. “Sometimes the hard way”, she says. She’s convinced that to succeed in business you must take chances.
The first years I spent too much time trying to please everyone. When I look back, I wish I had been bolder in my decisions. At times, my younger self would be intimidated by hearing the word ‘no’. I should have listened to myself – my inner voice – more. As I have matured in age and in business, I have allowed myself to ask the hard questions, to get to the core of any issue and to go with my instincts.
You can’t cheat the grind
The last lesson we’re sharing with you today comes from a startup founder and CEO – Lori Cheek. Lori is the CEO of Cheekd – the iPhone app that reimagines online dating by making missed connections a thing of the past thanks to Bluetooth technology. After six years into the entrepreneurial hustle, she learned a lot, so pay attention:
I wish I’d known that building a business doesn’t make for an overnight success. I believed so much in my idea that after our launch, I thought I was going to be a billionaire by the end of the year!
How many of us didn’t think we’ll make it big because we were so in love with our business idea? What Lori learned next is something that applies to many other businesses, not just tech startups.
I’ve learned that entrepreneurship is being on a mission where nothing can stop you. It will take twice as long as you’d hoped, cost exceedingly more than you’d ever budgeted and will be more challenging than anything you’ll ever try but if you give it your all and refuse to give up, you can trust it will be the ride of a lifetime. No matter what… this has been the most rewarding journey of my life.
Lori’s advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs is to be brave and follow their instincts. “You can’t cheat the grind, but if you give it your all, you can trust that the pay off will be worth it.”
This is where we stop for the day. Don’t miss the new post coming out tomorrow because we have more inspiring female entrepreneurs to introduce you to – and they have great lessons to share.
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