The Secret To Entrepreneurial Success
So you’ve decided to throw in your corporate towel and be an entrepreneur. You are your own boss.
Doesn’t it feel great? As you might have heard, "money can’t buy you happiness".
The secret to happiness is doing what you love, and getting compensated handsomely for it. I mean, come on, when you do what you love, you’re not really working – are you?
I think quitting is the easy part of the journey, and it’s just the beginning. Why, you may ask? Because you have to convince yourself that your path is the right one, and that YOU ARE GOING TO SUCCEED!
When I first quit my corporate job in 2010 I remember feeling excited, but my oh my, was I nervous! The most common questions that ran through my mind day in day out after I resigned were:
Without a pay check coming in every month, how do I know that this is the right step?
What do I want out of life?
What is my purpose, and the purpose of my business?
Am I going to fail?
Then I stumbled across a book written by Henry Ford and read a quote that really struck a chord for me:
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t - you’re right!”
Think about this for a minute.
Sometimes we do things because it feels great. We’re motivated to achieve a particular goal – like quitting that job, or starting a business - but along the way, it might become tiring or too difficult and we lose drive and purpose. Or before we even start, we think it’s going to be impossible, so we don’t end up trying.
I started to ask “What distinguishes successful people from the rest?”
Is it hard work? Persistence? Or even pure luck?
I think it is the perfect blend of three elements:
1) having belief in yourself and understanding your purpose
2) taking positive action
3) developing a solid business plan
1) Belief and Purpose
In Tony Robbin’s video, "Stop Thinking I Can’t Do It," Tony discusses how our beliefs and values control our decisions. However, successful people are successful, because from their beliefs and values, they know what they want and why they want it. Reasons come first, answers come second. But purpose drives motivation and action.
For example, you’ve worked so hard to quit your job. Why have you done it and what is your purpose? Or you’ve started your company…why have you started it, and what is its purpose? What problem are you trying to solve?
Once you have clarity – understanding what your purpose is, and why you’re doing it - you’ll have the drive to take action.
2) Take Positive Action!
Belief and purpose is nothing without positive action.
As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get caught up in the weeds. While action is important, it’s even more crucial for us to identify what is positive action. As a woman and a business owner, I know that time is precious. I want to get through all the work I’ve set out for myself during the day, and be home by 6:30pm to spend time with my kids. As such, I have to be aware and confident that the actions I take will lead to the results I want in my professional and personal life.
As the founder of your business, you’ll be pushed to do everything, and I mean everything. So it’s important that you make every minute count. Learn from mistakes – it’s honestly ok - and analyze what works, what doesn’t and why. By doing so, you will achieve operational efficiencies and long term benefits.
(c) Develop a solid business plan
Starting a business requires a lot of planning. Having beliefs and purpose is just the beginning. Your knowledge of your business environment including the competition is crucial to how you enter your market and capture market share. Do sound research – from desktop research, to focus groups, questionnaires to understand where your competitors stand, and what white space you can develop to take some of that market share!
As the new kid on the block, you have to always be ready, and one step ahead of your competitors.
You’ve chosen this path because it’s the right thing to do for you. I’m so excited. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be worth it. So while having belief in yourself is important, it’s clarity that leads to action. The more clarity you have, the more power you will have to succeed!
By Natalie Lowe
Natalie is a connector and makes great things happen. She is managing partner of The Orangeblowfish, a creative agency that does cool shit. Natalie has been based in Shanghai for 12 years, and is an active volunteer in the Shanghai business community.