3 Lessons Every Entrepreneur Should Know
Being a solo entrepreneur has many advantages, but almost as many disadvantages. This beautifully and sometimes chaotic relationship helps to balance the scales and really makes one pay attention to detail, as well as the reasons why they decide to do it alone.
In today’s society, entrepreneurship is bred out of the want to be your own boss and implement your own ideas, but also can be a necessity. Many students coming out of college are faced with not knowing what they really want to do, challenged by a field of competition from others vying for the same position, either from those newly out of college as well, or those who have lost jobs due to economic downturns and restructuring.
No one teaches you how to become a business owner, how to make a living or how to succeed in life. In some programs, there’s a mandatory “business” class at the end of your last year, mostly consisting of antiquated business practices and marketing strategies, which aren’t applicable to the present business landscape.
I came out of school with a brand-new skill set, a desire to save the world, a good amount of school loan debt, a shiny new title, a sense of accomplishment— and an entitlement issue, which life threw right back in my face. The first thing I realized in my professional career, is that no one gives you anything! If you want to be successful, whatever that may look like to you, you have to work for it. If you want to make a certain amount of money, have a specific type of clientele and have that freedom to take time away from your business, while it continues running smoothly and generating you income when you’re not there, well, that takes work too.
The first and best advice I can give someone getting ready to graduate school and wanting to start a career, is to understand your money blueprint. A money blueprint is the foundation you have for creating wealth; a belief you have around money and the decisions you make around the concept of money, whether conscious or subconscious.
My dad was an amazing man and had a great work ethic, but that work ethic was never more realized past the idea of making a living and providing for his family. He got up at 4am, drove two plus hours to and from work and got home after 8pm every night. Twice a month he’d have to work on Saturday, since he was one of two co-owners of a family business. He always dreamt of opening something up on his own, as well as investing money, but he never could move past the confines that were bestowed upon him through his upbringing and his own belief system. Even though my dad gave us everything he had, he never had an abundant mindset. His decisions were always made from a place of scarcity and not having enough.
In the past decade, I have recognized this to be the money blueprint that I’ve carried forward and those beliefs that have infiltrated my own life, my business and the way I look at money. This is the most important thing to learn. In addition to creating a plan, you need to understand your money blueprint. Figuring out your strengths and weaknesses, digging into and through subconscious and unconscious behaviors that we’ve assimilated throughout childhood, will help you uncover certain emotional blocks keeping you from moving forward and having the success you’ve always wanted.
The next important lesson as a solo entrepreneur is to understand the difference between working “in” your business and working “on” your business. Working in your business involves utilizing your skill as a doctor, healer, etc., and most likely, working for someone else. Working on your business involves you understanding how your business runs, supplies needed, monthly overhead, how many employees, employee training and responsibilities, salaries, benefits, insurance, type of facility needed, how to negotiate a lease, tenant improvement potential, marketing strategies, social media presence and platforms, etc.
All of the above can be daunting and may detract from your ability to work in your business. Very rarely can someone juggle the responsibilities of working on your business, while effectively working in your business. The best way to accomplish both is to figure out key people you need to solicit and emulate, to help you build your dream business. These people will be others who can give you detailed information and technical help that you’ll need to grow your business.
A friend once told me that my passion, energy and talent come from being a healer and an educator. Helping others get healthy and live an extraordinary life is what I do. So I shouldn’t be detracting from, or dulling my gifts to work on my business. It’s important to delegate and employ others to help build the framework of your business, so that it grows with a sturdy foundation and is sustainable through the ups and downs.
This leads me to my last lesson. As any solo entrepreneur and business owner, it’s important to plan for the down times, and there will always be down times. Live within your means and never spend more than you make. Your gross monthly business earnings minus overhead, is known as net income. Most people view this amount as their take-home pay, but few realize in order to grow your business further, you first need to put some money into savings and then take another portion of that income and put it back into your business.
Being a solo entrepreneur and building a business can be hard work. It takes a lot of dedication and sacrifice, but it can be extremely rewarding. Creating a plan and identifying your money blueprint, understanding the difference between working in your business versus on your business, and planning for the down times, are first steps to having a successful and more sustainable career. Investing in your business is the same as investing in yourself, and that’s the best investment you can make!
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