Entrepreneurs are known for their innovation and courage, with a drive for bringing products or services to existence that they believe will change people’s lives.
We look up to and aspire to be like a lot of these people, who are now household names and have created a product or service we now use in everyday life and that was once a completely new concept. We admire their courage, innovation and the joy they get out of creating a business and changing the world.
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What is the difference between them and people who aspire to be them? They are the ones who took the leap and a chance on themselves and their idea. The best entrepreneurs and innovators are naturally out of their comfort zones daily! It is one of the most daunting parts of starting your own business, yet I have come to learn it’s also one of the most necessary parts of entrepreneurship to succeed.
Nobody said it was ever going to be easy, it starts with trusting you and trusting what you know is possible and sharing that with the world. It takes a lot of courage. Often our biggest hurdles are our fears and definitions of what we think it should look like in order for it to succeed. So, what do you do when you are holding yourself back from creating your business? Melanie Meade social media marketing professional, business mentor and certified facilitator for Joy of Business shares what she learnt as I took the leap into entrepreneurship.
1. Believe in Yourself
I started from scratch. I was self-taught with no degrees or bells or whistles that would bolster my reputation. It was pure drive and a thirst for knowledge. I shadowed and interned and had a day job too. I found myself interning on social media and marketing teams learning even more and sharing ideas. I often wondered when would be the ‘right time’ to leave my day job and pursue starting a business of my own. I decided it was when I knew I could earn a certain amount of money, the minimum I could start with. In theory, a great idea.
Yet when I got to that stage and I knew I could hand in my notice and start a business with a modest earning, I noticed it was something far deeper inside me that I needed to look at first. I needed to believe in myself, that I was good enough and capable to leave a secure job where money was put into my account fortnightly, and into the uncertainty of being my own boss. I have amazing clients that do amazing things in the world, I am privileged to be a part of the change they are creating and yet, I knew I could not define myself as being a part of these incredible teams. What if it all fell apart? I would be left with just myself and if I didn’t believe I could do it, who would?
The thing is no one sees the world like you, no one knows what you know. That is what makes you unique. It is our perspective that put us on the creative edge. If you were to wait for someone else to give you the seal of approval for an idea you have it frankly is a waste of time, because then you will always put what other people say ahead of what you know.
You have to believe in yourself first and foremost. Life can have its shares of knock backs and disappointments and it’s you that gets to choose to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and go again.
2. Get Curious
I often worried about my lack of experience in “business”. It really didn’t do me any favours, all it did was hold me back. When I took a chance on myself and started my own business, I had to throw all those limiting ideas out the window and what I did do, is start asking questions! This is one of the most liberating things you can do, the key is to stay curious.
Research and reading up on your idea, finding out more about it and how it is currently being used out in the world is a great idea, but don’t live by how other people are already doing it. It is great information. You might take a portion of it on board but it is your curiosity that will uncover ideas and innovations that have not been done before. Sometimes it is the tiniest detail that you come across that creates the greatest change and puts you on the cutting edge.
The more curious I got, the more my business evolved because I started exploring more of what brought me joy and enthusiasm. If you told me years ago I could be passionate and enthusiastic about my job, I wouldn’t have believed you, but it is true. By just asking the question, “what else is possible here that I have not thought of?” keeps you curious and you will be surprised by what can show up!
Life doesn’t stand still and neither does business, when people see you are staying curious, they trust that you are someone who won’t stagnate and end up using old ways in a new world and always look to progress.
3. Comfort Is Not Your Friend
We tend to avoid discomfort. A lot of the time we use it as a sign to ease off. This is a classic sign you are out of your depth. People usually advise this is where you should stop. This is where I say “embrace it and keep going”. I call this unchartered territory “treading water.” It’s where your feet cannot touch the ground. This is a great place to be! It is a sign you are not going to settle for being mediocre or limiting you or your business to where it is at right now. If you desire to be ahead of the game and to be the innovator that always charges ahead, comfort is not your friend.
I have learned to wake up everyday being grateful and asking myself “what do I know I have not yet discovered that I know?”. I have been put on projects where more was asked of me, I would embrace the discomfort rather than shy away. I am always learning something new about myself and skills that I naturally had that I didn’t know I had, that now other people see as a great asset. Being out of my comfort zone, I had to ask questions to find out more information and then apply it to what I already knew. It is a more hands on way of learning and can be very uncomfortable, especially when your target is for a project to succeed.
I went from cutting audio and creating graphics to begin with, to leading teams, hosting events, sharing my knowledge and teaching a board of directors about business and social media – all because I was willing to not shy away from discomfort.
4. Keep an Open Mind to Possibilities
Being an entrepreneur does not mean you know everything about business. For me, it is about knowing that there is a possibility of creating something far greater than what already exists and a desire to bring it into fruition. If we stick to the A,B,C’s of how it all should be, that is staying firmly inside your comfort zone. By being aware of how you would like it to work and at the same time having a flexible mindset it allows for even more innovation.
When I had a notion of trying to create content for social media and online marketing, I didn’t know how it was done and that didn’t stop me, never mind the fact that I didn’t even own a laptop. I started with my phone. Then, while learning the basics of content creation, I would borrow my father’s laptop and watch tutorials and teach myself. Eventually I had saved up enough money for one of my own. I kept an open mind to possibilities, I said yes to things that showed me so much more of what I was capable of. If I had decided I needed the equipment first and an appropriate and comprehensive course to get started, I would probably still be waiting. Always be willing to look outside the box of how things are done and you will find ways around things that first seem impossible, if you keep an open mind to possibilities.
There is no end to being an entrepreneur. There is always another great idea, another way to improve what is currently being created by you, or anyone else for that matter. Times change, we change, needs change and if we are willing to stay aware of the constant change, we stay on the creative edge of business.
In the words of Winston Churchill, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
So, whether you have a success or failure there is the space to keep going, to keep making greater choices. Take what you have learned and move forward. The way I see it is like pioneers heading out into the world of business and innovation where there is no road map, only the ones used before. Yes, they can be filled with information, but that does not mean that these roads are the same. Keep asking questions, stay curious and be true to you and what you know is possible.
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