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The life of an entrepreneur can be a rollercoaster. After closing my first 7-figure business during the global financial crisis of 2007-2008, I made sure that my future businesses were resilient. As much as this “crash” was a crisis, it was also an opportunity to create the life I really wanted. I had let my company take over for my needs. I am grateful for the lessons learned and use this experience not only in my own businesses, but also as a business mentor as I help clients build resilient businesses that meet their needs and desires.
To succeed, you need courage, passion and belief in the value of what you do. People think going into business will give them the freedom to do whatever they want, but if you’re not careful, business can take over your life. There’s always a lot of testing and measuring, and not everything immediately turns to gold. Consistent and persistent action to carry on, even when things have not gone according to plan, is necessary.
Being persistent is different from just working hard. Take time to clear, align, and follow the path from a place of clarity. When things don’t go as planned, you need to be agile and open to change to adapt to the current operating environment. Celebrate the peaks and enjoy the journey – that’s the sweet spot, even more so than the end goal. In all my endeavours, I align myself to follow joy. When you enjoy what you do every day and bring value to others, that’s when you’re living the dream! Here are five key tips for successfully riding the roller coaster of being an entrepreneur:
Related: What I’ve Learned in 20 Years of Being an Entrepreneur
1. Good basics
It’s about systems and structures, but more importantly, it includes knowing how to support yourself, building a good support team around you, and using them by asking for help when you need it. .
This was a big lesson for me in my first company. The African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” comes to mind. You might be able to do all the things in your business, but if you want to scale, you need to bring in team members. To bring in a team, you need systems and procedures. I remember coming back from a business trip when I was about 6 months pregnant and chatting with the person sitting next to me on the flight. We were talking about my travel stuff and how I would manage once I had the baby. She encouraged me to read The electronic myth by Michael E. Gerber, who points out that if you want a successful business, rather than just creating a job, you need the business to work without you. If you want to grow and evolve, like any building, you need a solid foundation.
2. Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is being able to be an observer of your emotions and understanding why you might be feeling them, and using them to guide you on what to do next. Knowing how to provide for your own emotional needs is one of the keys to a happy life.
People think of ‘professional’ and ‘personal’ as separate aspects of our career paths, and yes, sometimes they are – but a ‘lightbulb’ moment for me was realizing that’s not never quite true. Everything is personal because we are human beings. It was a big upheaval when my business closed (I was also going through a divorce at the time). I realized that there is strength in vulnerability. It’s okay to admit you’re not well, and it’s okay to ask for help. It’s also okay to say “I need time” or to say “no” to things that drain your energy. The realization was that I needed to trust myself and let go of emotional fears, make decisions with an open heart, be guided by my intuition and prioritize my own needs.
Related: Entrepreneurship Is About Overcoming Obstacles
Empathy is being able to consider someone else’s point of view, how they feel and why they may act in a certain way. Understanding this will be a great tool for you in problem solving and in all negotiations.
Developing a better understanding of the role empathy plays in your professional life will help you manage teams and grow your business. As a negotiation tool, I always research what’s in it for the other side as well as how and why they were able to form their point of view. This will help you determine what their expectations are and help you craft an offer that will be acceptable. It helps to build mutually beneficial long-term relationships. It’s not always about an immediate victory or two opposing teams. It can be how you overcome challenges and support each other in a common goal.
Here’s an example from one of my own companies, The Bubbles Review, which publishes articles and creates events and tours about champagne and sparkling wine. When we went into pandemic lockdown, the event and sparkling wine industries were hit hard. Restaurants were closed and wineries had to close their cellars. I had to postpone our series of Bubble Festivals indefinitely. Realizing how difficult it was, I wanted to do something to help.
We host a section on our website where we feature Sparkling Cellar Doors reviews, so I decided to create a Virtual Sparkling Cellar Doors list to showcase wineries and wine importers who had suddenly lost their usual distribution channels . I allowed them to participate for free because it was more about giving back and helping. We promoted it in our database and on social media, and I presented virtual tastings, interviewed some of the winemakers and shared them on our Facebook page. The relationships that formed during this time were lasting. When it was time to invite winemakers and wine importers to exhibit for our events in 2021, it was an easy “yes” for them to sign up, as we had already negotiated a point of trust in our goal. common to promote these beautiful sparkling wines to our public.
4. Manage your energy
One of the most important resources is your own energy. Knowing how to read your own energy, and that of others, is crucial. Failure to do so will lead to burnout. If you encounter resistance, reset and restore your energy until you can move forward from a place of inspiration.
I didn’t always get it right, and once I hit burnout, it was very difficult to restore my energy from there. In some cases, it can take years. I now protect my energy on a daily basis. I listen to my body. I plan regular wellness activities and take time when I need it. I choose what and who I spend time with based on what makes me happy. I do not accept projects or clients that do not correspond to who I am or what I want to do.
Related: Welcome to the entrepreneur roller coaster. Here’s how to ride it forever
5. Know your worth
This can be achieved by aligning with your set of values and operating from there. When you operate from a place of value, you eliminate self-doubt and align with your sense of purpose – and you are less likely to be affected by any negativity.
Aligning with your values is also a helpful way to re-energize. In my first company, it was a big transition between just managing myself and needing to motivate my whole team. This topic is now one of the most popular workshops I offer to organizations large and small because it allows you to create a company culture that all of your staff will engage with. You’ll find your entire team on the same page instead of top-down instructions, and you’ll have your entire staff working as a team to achieve your common goals.
Customers will align with businesses that have similar values to them. For you personally, when you’re working on things and working with people who match your values, that’s when you feel like you’re following your joy. Our companies should work for us, not the other way around. My biggest lesson is not to put off the life of your dreams and wait for something to happen in the future. It’s really about enjoying every step along the way. When business gets stressful, remember that business and life are meant to be fun.