Last year I wrote a post titled Finishing up Year Two as an Entrepreneur. I’ll expand on this each year as the lessons I learn multiply.
Here are four things I’ve learned about running a business this past year:
- Success is an indicator you need to work harder. I’ve experienced my first breakthrough this year. It proves my model can work and is reassurance the lean times were bringing me towards something better—although to be sure, there have also been setbacks. Success should nourish your higher goals, not be an end in itself.
- Don’t go chasing waterfalls. If potential clients don’t sign within three months, it’s likely not going happen and the opportunity cost isn’t worth it. That doesn’t mean they won’t eventually sign, some will as they just need more time. But many won’t, although they seem interested, they may lack the intangibles necessary to complete a successful crowdfunding campaign and it’s better for both parties to move on.
- Everybody is self-interested, but there must be more. The world runs on self-interest whether you work for yourself, a major corporation, a nonprofit, or the government. Unlike some sectors, business owners constantly get opportunities for partnerships, ally-ships, and cooperation with others within or outside their field. But if your only interest is how you benefit, it becomes obvious and results in a quick eyeroll/smirk combo. I’ve experienced more of this than I suspected. Caring and looking for ways to help others’ success comes back around eventually.
- Networking events are for networking. For us natural introverts, networking events can be stressful; lots hanging out by the refreshments and mindlessly checking our phones. Realizing most people are also experiencing some level of anxiety and are there for the same purpose can ease stress levels. The moments of initial awkwardness pass. You’re there to make connections, get leads, and expand your network. Take a deep breath and do it. Spending 15 minutes setting expectations and goals for yourself beforehand can get you in the right mindset to capitalize on your opportunity, which is what a networking event is.