Being an entrepreneur has been the most challenging and rewarding adventure in my life so far.
Here's a quick list of the 10 most valuable things I've learned during my first year as an entrepreneur. I hope they will help you too.
In no particular order:
1. 90% of Success is Persistence
You'll hear 'No' many, many times before you hear anyone say 'Yes'. Take each 'No' as a lesson and one step closer to a 'Yes'. Adapt and keep pushing on. The most successful people are the ones who didn't give up.
2. Embrace Failure
You're going to fail - a lot. Learn to love it. Appreciate that each time you fail, you're learning a lesson. Take what you learn from that failure to improve for next time. No one is ever perfect the first time they do something.
3. Feel the Fear & Do It Anyway!
If you're comfortable, you're not moving forward. Challenge yourself to go out of your comfort zone daily. You can become anything you dream of if you're just brave enough to try.
4. Friends & Family Won’t Understand
Unless they've been entrepreneurs themselves, they won't understand the long hours, extreme commitment and lack of money up front. Explain to them why you're doing what you do. Tell them you need their support even if they don't really understand why. Listen to that voice inside of you that says 'I can do it!'.
5. Build A Network
Network! Don't just hand out business cards, make genuine connections. Become that 'go to' person and you'll always be top of mind. I've met mentors, partners and friends networking. I've had speaking opportunities and been introduced to people I would have never met otherwise. I'm sure you've heard the saying: 'it's not what you know, it's who you know'.
6. Don’t Go For the Bottom
When things get tough, everyone wants to drop their prices. Don't! If you want to earn $10,000 a month, find a way to get 10 customers for $1,000 per month and blow their socks off. It will take just as much work to get 100 customers at $100 each, but you'll have 90 more customers and you can't possibly do the same work for them.
7. Do Not Work for FREE!
Especially when you're new you'll get asked to work for free or to discount your work. Don't do it. They may promise promotions or "buzz" but you won't be as committed and neither will they until there's money involved. Focus on the value that you bring to them. Stand strong and be prepared to say no.
8.Wii FM (What's In It For Me)
People don't care what you do. They want to hear how it's going to make their lives easier and how they can earn their money back. Whether networking or talking to a potential client, learn to listen. Ask questions. You'll find out much more about the other person and you'll be able to tell them exactly how you can help them.
9.Focus on A Few Industries
You'll be tempted to become a jack-of-all-trades at the beginning. You'll want to market to anyone and accept everyone as your customer. Focus instead on a few industries. They'll recognize your message as talking to them and you won't have to wear so many hats. Become really great at a few industries instead of being mediocre at several.
10. Everyone is Your Teacher
Whether they've been in business for 3 months or 25 years, everyone has something to teach you. They all have a different point of view and sometimes the most unexpected person (or dog) will tell you exactly what you needed to hear to have that 'ah-ha!' moment.
Lastly, have fun! Being an entrepreneur is a hell of a lot of work and if you don't truly love what you're doing, don't bother.
Do you have anything you'd like to add? What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?
Connect with me here: GregLehman.com