Posted on April 24, 2017 at 6:33 am by Nigel Brokenshire
Life as an Entrepreneur
I’m not even sure if I can call myself an entrepreneur. However, if you recognise an entrepreneur as someone who believes in an idea, takes the leap of faith to try and make it happen (whether successful or not) then I think I’m one. Read on as I outline my journey thus far, provide some helpful takeaways for those also keen to start (or have started) and what I’m planning to change and do.
The Journey so far
- I am an employee: graduate, straight into work, being told what to do, when to do it and how to do it. Paid a salary, struggle for a bonus, need to put forward a case for any further professional training and development.
I don’t choose who I work with and what I do.
- I am self-employed: set-up a company, comply with statutory obligations. I work with clients who require my skills, jointly agree my fee (give or take), no bonuses, no holiday and sick pay, contribute into my own pension scheme, self-fund my career development.
I choose who I work with but little flexibility on what I do.
- I endeavor to be an entrepreneur: sleepless nights ‘will it work’, scared of telling others because they might laugh, high-levels of self-doubt, long hours, no (very little) pay.
However, I choose who I work with AND what I do.
Doesn’t paint a great picture. However, the feeling I have that I am trying to take an idea and make it successful for some reason gives me the greatest sense of fulfilment.
I’ve learnt a lot in the last three years, not only on the professional and business aspects, but more so on the personal-front. I still recognise that I’m only in the early stages of discovering what being an entrepreneur actually means.
In my journey, I have learnt a lot of new skills, met a lot of new people and also made some poor judgements. When looking back the biggest challenges were answering some fundamental questions:
- Where to start?
- Who to listen to?
- How to politely say no?
- What is of value and what is just a distraction?
- Why are you doing this?
- Who will benefit and why?
- What are you looking to achieve (in all facets of your business and personal life)?
- If people are to describe you and your business, what would they say? What do you want them to say?
The list goes on. Some say, write a business plan, get it down on paper and stay focused. Well that goes only so far.
So why not write down a life plan to explore and explain how you being an entrepreneur will allow you to achieve your life goals.
As an entrepreneur you will not die of thirst, but drown. You will be faced with so much information, books, advice, offerings, online tutorials, networking events, business shows, Webinars, mentors etc you won’t quite know what to do. Add onto this all the ideas racing around in your head and you feeling like you are drowning from information overload.
It’s a common situation to be in, so I’m sharing some of my favorite sayings that I’ve come across. These have struck a cord with me and are pinned on my wall (please add a comment if you have some you abide by):
If you don’t have clients, you don’t have a business – After six months of going live with BeeMyMinder I had… 20 users, of which 5 were active, none were paying. My business was pitiful. It sounds quite obvious, but don’t be fooled, it is easy to lose sight of this simple saying.
Everyone you meet is a potential client – I believed that once my online offering went live, told a few people, the clients would come. I soon realised this is not the case, that I needed to get up and go meet people face to face. But that still was not helping as I was missing the point that anyone is a person who may need my service, I was not having intelligent and purposeful conversations with them.
Don’t sell, but serve – I’m no salesman, I don’t do marketing that well and I struggled to build a pitch and deliver it to people! My ‘elevator pitch’ was pretty awful. I was missing a key point that I’m not to sell my service to them, more so, engage with them to explain how my service can help them. Explain why people have and will find it important, why I started it and how it could help them. If they agree then that’s a great starting point. If they don’t get it, can’t see it working for them, then that’s ok too.
Sometimes a no is better than a yes – When you get the big ‘no’ then you will feel deflated, despondent and start questioning yourself. What you need to do is ask that person “given you said no, but would I need to do to make it a yes, or even a maybe?” By asking what they see, feel and believe is wrong will allow you to address it. Learn from those who say ‘I don’t get it’? – speak to strangers. Your friends and family are going to always say “that’s a great idea”.
When you are green, you grow – I was bright green when I started out. I knew very little about being an entrepreneur. I thought I was more ‘ripe’ having being quite successful in my previous working roles, but I was knocked back fairly quickly. I add to accept that I needed to adapt and continue to learn and develop. Be prepared to change your views, increase your knowledge and learn from others.
Spend 1/3 in your business, 1/3 on your business and 1/3 out of your business – I spent 100% in the business, building the product, testing functionality and 0% on networking, speaking to others and listening and learning from others. You might have the best product, but if no one knows it’s there, or does not have any purpose, then it’s useless.
How am I going to change?
I going to be
Bold – do and say things that make me feel uncomfortable, put myself ‘out there’
Focused – have a game-plan and stick to it
Disciplined – my only boss is myself, so don’t procrastinate
Unique – ensure people know what I stand for “Your Brand”
Putting it into practice
I have to review BeeMyMinder and take time to work out what has been a success, what needs improving and what needs to go.
A new offering is being developed and soon (fingers crossed) to be relaunched.
Now for being bold…
…If you have got this far in this blog then I challenge to you to sign-up to BeeMyMinder NOW…
…when the new site/ APP is released you will get the paid premium package for free once…
I hope you have found this article useful and has struck a chord with you.