3 things I learned while surviving as an entrepreneur
Being an entrepreneur has nothing to do with academic preparation and everything to do with survival skills.
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Recently I met a female entrepreneur two years into her beauty salon business. I’d been in business four years so she eagerly asked: “Please tell me it gets easier!” I told her it does not. But, you get stronger, smarter, better.
Being an entrepreneur has nothing to do with academic preparation and everything to do with survival skills. I equate it to my safari to Kenya’s Masai Mara where every species adheres to a strict survival code, giraffes stand side by side facing opposite directions on the lookout for predators, lions hunt downwind so as to not alert the nearby herd and set off a stampede. This too is a jungle, not for the faint of heart.
Five years into this journey, here’s what I’m living to tell:
Early in the game is fertile ground for mistakes. Some are costlier than others. I fumbled a new business pitch by overwhelming my prospect. I put together a 20-page presentation with good information but content they were not prepared to process and react to. As small operations, we don’t have the time or resources to dwell and wonder what-if. Assess and move on. It’s the only way to keep our productivity and morale from taking a dive.
There’s a reason why each superhero has one awesome power. So they can complement those of the other superhero gang. Wanting to be good at everything is unrealistic. When we carry this into entrepreneurship we risk dropping a ball. If you excel at creativity but not sales, find someone with that skill pronto or you’ll be an awesome pastry chef, designer, dancer with zero clients. If you stop seeing yourself as an individual and more as part of a company, your place within it will start to make sense.
One of my favorite movie directors, Pedro Almodovar, is absorbed with every component of his movie, he pays attention to every last detail of a scene, can role play every actor's part to a T, and knows exactly how he wants each take to look like. I noticed this trait in people who have excelled at their task (Jobs, Bezos, Madonna), they have the solid belief they are a cut above the rest and their obsession with the product they create proves it.
While not an easy journey, entrepreneurship is transformative and empowering. Each storm we weather is a victory. Celebrate it and keep moving forward.