Maybe I'm a sh*t entrepreneur
Last month Future Females is hosted an event on ‘the entrepreneur mindset’, which has got me thinking about exactly what that means.
It’s not hard to find material on this topic – lists of ‘x’ things that make a great entrepreneur – but as I work through these lists mentally ready to tick all the boxes, I find myself saying no to a lot.
‘Laser-focused’, ‘early riser’, ‘good delegator’… if this is what it takes, then I should probably throw in the towel!
So, I don’t know what makes the perfect ‘entrepreneur mindset’, but I do know what keeps me going day after day – so here’s my two cents.
Clarity on ‘why’
Knowing your ‘why’ – the reason you exist, your greater purpose, what makes you come alive – easy right?
I didn’t know my ‘why’ for a long time. I jumped at everything, started businesses on a whim, and found it hard to focus on just one thing. I was still very passionate, but generally lacked direction.
In the last few months, all this has changed. I suddenly have this beautiful clarity around why I exist – to support and inspire entrepreneurs to create and grow businesses that will change the world. Lofty I know, but it gets me out of bed in the morning (which is no easy feat!). Knowing this has given me the optimism I need to drive me, the perseverance I need to overcome roadblocks, and the confidence I need to say ‘no’ to everything else that knocks at my door.
I recently got rejected from an incubator I’d applied for, and naturally I was disappointed and started questioning things. The “carrot” of the intellectual and financial support and vast network you can get through an incubator is a great one, so when the rejection came through, it was a little like getting hit backwards by the “stick”.
It was a temporary lull before I quickly got back into driving my business, and then in a moment of reflection I realised I was doing things differently.
I was being more resourceful than ever before. Knowing there was no funding coming, no massive network to draw on, I was finding creative solutions where I hadn’t before. I had discovered a way to get leads for almost a tenth of what I was before, a way to land my emails in ‘primary’ every time, and I’d overcome my fear of getting myself out there and was using live video and webinars like never before! Maybe small wins for some, but huge wins for me and my business.
They (aka Tony Robbins) say that the defining factor for success is not resources, but resourcefulness, which has never rung more true for me.
An unquenchable sense of urgency
I have no time for talkers. I’m VERY intolerant of people who talk about their dreams, their ideas and the life they want and never take action. In fact, almost daily I spout the quote ‘a dream without a plan is just a wish’ (which is probably starting to annoy the people around me!).
I believe in doing. No-one is going to build your business for you. Your customers aren’t just going to find you and love you on Day 1. You’re not just going to be able to sit back and watch it happen – sorry.
I believe what will make me successful is constantly doing – pushing and pushing and testing and testing until something works. I’m motivated by this internal sense of urgency, a nervous energy almost, that drives continuous action. It’s this energy that prompts me to work faster and smarter, to use those extra two hours between midnight and 2am that others are wasting, to put the wine down (OK not always…), and WORK!
I recently heard a very inspiring talk from Ran Neu-Ner of Creative Counsel about the quest for the South Pole, with Norwegian Amundsen beating British Scott to plant his country’s flag. The story goes that Amundsen had none of the resources of Scott (dogs, sleds, men), but he and his team committed to doing 20 miles of trekking a day, no matter what. I think the same goes for any entrepreneur – define what your 20 miles a day is, and do it – consistent, imperfect action.
I started a podcast recently. I announced it to the world before I had a clue what I was doing, and then actually had to pull it off… some might say that’s stupid, I think it’s all good fun!
I’ve always had an ‘I’ll try anything once’ mentality, both in life and in business, which coupled with a continuous barrage of ‘crazy’ ideas can be an interesting mix… But I believe this is when the magic happens. It’s when you do something different, bold, and authentic that people really gravitate towards you and your business.
The lean start-up is based on a continuous cycle of test and learn – to find the one thing that works, you might have to test a hundred things that don’t.
So (if you’ve read this far) – I say today is the day to do it – that idea you keep pushing down thinking it’s ‘too crazy’ – what have you got to lose?!