If you’ve done your research, you know many of the things you can expect when you’re about to start down the road to becoming an entrepreneur:
- Freedom to work your own hours
- Never having to report to a boss again
- Doing what you love 24/7
But there are so many things you’ll learn that you have no idea what you’re getting into when you take that first magical step.
Because you don’t know what you don’t know, and its amazing the things you do find that you never anticipated finding along the way.
1. Quest for Perfection
When I look at perfection, I think there are positive aspects to it and negative ones as well. The negative aspects can hold you back. If something has to be perfect before you release it to the world, it will hold you back and never allow you to find your own level of success.
That’s not what I’m talking about in my quest for perfection.
When you first develop a business around your big idea, your focus goes into developing a way to get what you love to do out to the people that will love what you do. Once you bring in a client or two, you start refining.
- How can I make my product or service better?
- How can I reach out to a more perfect client for me?
- How can I market it in a better way?
- How can I create a better package?
And so on. It becomes fun to see what you can do. Yes, in many aspects, it’s a game. And that’s where the quest for perfection comes into play.
- I’ve created one successful business; how can I create another one that’s bigger, stronger, more profitable, etc?
- I have a product everyone loves; how can I make it even better for the people that are buying it?
Because we’re always growing and changing as human beings, the quest for perfection is something that always allows you to change as a person and strive for better in all that you do.
I remember when I walked into my boss’s office and put down my resignation in front of him. It took all of my guts and courage to do that, knowing I was releasing a regular paycheck and a whole lot of benefits that went with it.
He looked at me and said, “good luck, this takes a lot of guts. Its more risk than I could ever take on in my life.” Which of course added into my own fears and doubts. But my fate was sealed.
I’ve never regretted that decision. And even through the struggles, I’ve always known I’m much happier in my current situation than I ever would have been as a 20, 30, or even 40 year employee.
Risk is relative.
If I had stayed with the job I resigned from, I would only have had that position for a couple more years. Two years later they shut down our office and pulled everyone back to headquarters in Washington DC. I would have had to make a choice to move my family, or find a new job.
That’s risk. I would have been at their mercy, their timing, whether it was right for me or not.
The concept of risk has changed over the years. Now I control my own risk. I decide when I want things to change, or if I want more of something I’m currently bringing in. All the risk is on me, and I accept that willingly.
When I first started my business, I wanted everything now, fast, today, easily … you get the picture. But as I quickly found out, business doesn’t work that way.
When I reached a very high level of success with my first business – a multiple 6 figure income, speaking at conventions, interviews, articles being written about us, connections with other high level business owners – I discovered one thing.
I was a 7 year overnight success story.
People came up to us all the time wondering how we went from nothing to everything overnight. One day people didn’t know us; the next day we were everywhere. But what they didn’t see was the 7 years of hard work and dedication believing in what we were doing, and moving forward slowly every day.
Now I’m not saying we weren’t successful during those 7 years. We still made a good living that allowed us to build our business our way. But the recognition wasn’t there. It wasn’t “easy” to bring in sale after sale. We focused in on building our system and improving everything we did so we could continue growing.
That’s what took 7 years. And it was worth the wait.
A funny thing about success. The more you have of it, the more other people want it.
And that’s where the friction begins.
I remember the first time I received a nasty email. This person called me names I still can’t believe someone would put in writing. It hurt BIG TIME. In fact, I shut off my computer, crawled into a shell, and cried for a long time. Could I really keep doing this? Did people really think this about me? I wanted everyone to love me.
Yes, it took some time to get over that. But eventually I picked myself up and went back to what I was doing.
Some people are going to be rude to you. Some people are going to throw comments at you that you simply can’t believe. It will be hard.
But you can’t fight back – not verbally anyway. If you fight back or lose your temper, they win.
Instead, you have to build up your tolerance for the negativity, let it roll off, and keep doing what you’re doing.
Hey, if you touched a nerve in someone, you must be doing something right, yes?
That’s the way I look at it now and it works. I get a lot more fan mail now telling me how I’ve changed a person’s life. And that’s all I really need to move forward.
When you work for the company, everything is cut and dry. You do your job; yet in many cases you have no idea the overall impact of what you do compared with the entire company you work for.
Not so when you become an entrepreneur. You’re the janitor and you’re the CEO. You’re the marketer and you’re the customer service agent. You do it all.
The more you understand what goes into every position you must set up within your business, the more perspective it gives you on how the world works and how all the pieces fit together to make the entire world work.
You start caring more about politics because certain bills and laws may impact the way you do business.
You start caring about what’s happening in other parts of the world if you have a business in which you sell to people in that country.
Your understanding grows and with it the way you exist within the world.
Just when you think you know everything there is to know about being in business, they change the way you play the game.
When I first started out back in the 1990’s, I loved technology and made that the core of my marketing plan. Yet I had no idea I’d have to learn what a blog was, what Facebook was, or how to get rankings in Google. I didn’t understand that payment systems would change and PayPal would be one of the best systems available to those trying to earn a living online. I didn’t know how tax laws would change, or how the economy would change and impact small business owners.
So with every change there has been a huge learning curve. In order to keep the success you find and keep improving on it, you have to educate yourself on all kinds of new issues every single day.
I’ve always loved reading and learning new things. Yet I had no idea back when I first started down this crazy road that learning was a lifelong venture. There is always something new to learn and only the best entrepreneurs take on that task willingly and always look for new things to learn.
When we first started our business, we started out as photographers. Nothing specific, just photographers learning the trade. Then we specialized in wedding photography. Then we added a coaching business to assist photography businesses.
I wrote books and became an author. I added another coaching practice to help small creative business owners. I became a professional blogger.
I mothered a child through elementary, middle and high school. I helped her move 1200 miles away and enter an amazing college to help her become all she can be.
I started out married life in a townhome, upgraded to a larger home, and finally still a larger home in a suburban area. Then I sold that house, moved into a small apartment and proceeded to get rid of over half of my belongings.
Yes, the only thing in life that is for certain is change.
Whatever your Big Idea is today, run at it with full gusto. But also know that tomorrow it will change. Tomorrow may be a year from now or ten years from now. It could change in subtle ways or be a complete 180 degree turn from where you are today.
But with everything you do, embrace it and approach it with everything you have. If you’re afraid of the possibilities, they will never come to be. Action today is the only thing that will make a huge difference in your life.
What are you waiting for?