When I started my business, my purpose was clear: to leverage my communications skills in order to become wealthy. I learned that unexpected things happen along the way and I needed to live by some non-negotiable beliefs if I was to be happy in my work. So, three decades later I am still learning. This is where I've learned thus far.
As we get busier and take on more tasks and challenges just to get by, we are increasingly finding comfort in many icons of our time who tell us that failing is ultimately the best way to learn and move forward. They say that we must celebrate our strengths and weaknesses and not worry about how others judge us.
Face-saving entrepreneurs will call this a "pivot," which basically means, "I was doing this one thing, and now I realize I should be doing this other thing instead." You might feel like a fool for not getting it right the first time around, but I challenge you to find any entrepreneur who got everything right from the get-go.
While building a start-up based purely on an exit strategy is incompetent, not at least considering it is equally incompetent. As any start-up founder will confess, building a start-up because you are passionate about the topic or industry is best way to succeed. However, just letting go is the best option for both the start-up and its founders.
The first time feels like a big deal. People want to associate with the guy who did it first, find out all about it. No one pays attention to the fact that it is the guy who works at it, paying attention to his own attempts and adjusting. This is the person who will be the best. The guy who allowed himself a do-over, tried a few things, failed, tried again.
While the concerns regarding the potential negative impact of certain high interest loans are legitimate, the debate has failed to consider the context in which high interest loans exist. It is too simple to label a loan "high interest" by looking only at the annualized interest rate. There are many other factors that determine the true cost of borrowing.
Just about everyone I know has designs on or at least daydreams of starting a business, which I think is normal. And yet, while no one ever says, "I want to be a cog in a giant, multinational machine when I grow up," that's usually what happens. I can't give you advice on how to create a successful business, but I can hopefully give you the nudge you need to at least try.
Women start businesses for a variety of reasons -- to address a need, to pursue a passion, or just to get away from life in the fast lane. Many seek more control over their lives, wanting the flexibility to work around the needs of their families, and their needs for an interesting life that stretches them and gives a sense of self. For myself it was a couple of life-changing experiences that had me take that leap of faith.
This week, I talked with Heather Payne, Co-Founder of Ladies Learning Code, a Toronto-based organization with the goal to empower women to learn how to program, and understand tech better. It all started when Heather Payne, fresh off learning how to build her first personal website, wanted to learn a backend language. She couldn't find great resources, and found it hard to get started.
When you're with a start-up and you run into a problem you can't solve, what do you do? The obvious answer is you turn to someone who has built a business before. What if you don't have someone like this in your sphere of influence? Well, that's where cold calling (or emailing) comes in. But people have an irrational fear of cold calling. Here's how to get the most out of a cold call.
Ava Bise clearly shows it's never too late to get into business for yourself since she launched YouBar in 2006 with her son Anthony when she was in her mid-50s! The company creates the yummiest custom-made protein bars on the planet! What impresses me the most is that Ava redefines what being a female Baby Boomer means -- she's active, fit and she started a business at an age where most think of retirement. She took what others would consider a huge risk, but in true entrepreneurial spirit she fearlessly took a great idea to market!
In the earliest stages of our start-up, we decided to pull in the opinions and advice of experts. We were eager to hear different perspectives from our own. It became clear early on, however, that we would need to navigate through the advice using our best judgement. Remember: One of the things only you and your team can bring to this business is your unique perspective.
I often compare starting a business with motherhood. It is almost as if there is a code of secrecy. No one wants to tell you what it is really like. No one wants to spell out the down times. The sleep deprivation. The sense of rejection when no one calls you. And no one wants to admit that it was less than perfect for her.