I just had my 40th high school reunion and recently the 28th anniversary of starting my business. These numbers are sounding really big.
At my reunion, I heard people talking about being grandparents. I immediately reached out to my children to “check in.” While I may be ready to be a grandma, I’m not ready to be called “Grandma.”
Meeting young(er) entrepreneurs and watching them start their businesses makes me reminisce. (Sidetrack…for those who know me well, reminiscing is unusual because I have a terrible memory.)
Therefore, I have words of wisdom (28 years of it) that I thought may be relevant to those that are just starting out.
Do what you like….The money will come. I am a big believer in this one. I think that if you enjoy what you are doing, it is easier to get passionate about it. Passion is usually one of the key ingredients in helping me run my business. If I didn’t believe in what we do and our results, I wouldn’t have been able to maneuver through the many ups and downs of my business.
Don’t listen to naysayers. I can’t tell you how often in the 28 years of my business that I have been told that I should change my model or that “I’ll never succeed”. Yet, I live by my favorite movie line, “I triple dog dare you.” I’m very competitive so if someone has told me that what I’m doing won’t work, I translate that into a triple dog dare you moment. I dig my feet in deep and take whatever action I believe is needed to “prove them wrong.” Some may say that’s “demented.” Could be, but it has worked for me ever since I started this business. I believe in it in and will do what I need to succeed. We are a multimillion dollar business. Just remember that sometimes people find judging others easier than doing it themselves.
Don’t start unless you have the passion for it. See #1.
Define what you are willing to give up before you are forced to give it up. I wrote a blog awhile back about changing the phrase “having it all” to “having your all.” I knew this was important enough for me to start my own business but I had just had my first child and wanted to be around while the kids were small. So I created a work model that would give me what I wanted…setting the infrastructure for a new consulting firm while being the room parent for my children’s class (as many years as I didn’t have to duke it out with another Mom). Balancing was tough. My kids were little and my company was beginning to grow from a single contributor to a growing staff. I couldn’t “have it all,” so I prioritized. I made sure that my mental list of what I wanted was prioritized, and that those priorities were met…first and foremost. I chose to have someone come in the home to watch my children even though there were times that my income went straight to the nanny. I don’t regret it. Those things that were not prioritized were delegated. Success by my book!
Children absorb as much from your example as they do from your words. At the time that I started my business and had my first child, I lived in a bedroom community. At that time, there were few women in my neighborhood that worked, let alone owned a business. I had no role models and no one in my family had worked in business. I had to learn on my own. This took tons of trial and error and the entire time I was trying, I felt guilt. And here’s what all that guilt produced. I have two daughters that are smart, independent young women with (and working on) secondary college degrees. Whether I believed it at the time or not, I was their role model. The only thing that I wanted for both of them was to be happy in what they do and to be self-reliant.
Note: This is important for any parent that might wonder if they will screw up their kids if they go back to work. There is no guarantee in life but showing them that there are options for them in life is a viable model. That was one of my highest prioritized items.
Many will tell you better ways to do something. You are the only one dealing with the consequences of your actions. Earlier in my career, I was so unsure of myself that I consistently told anyone that would listen about my current situation. I wanted their advice or some kind of confirmation that I made the right choice. I’ve learned through my many years in business that everyone will be free with an opinion if you give them the opportunity. Some opinions may even be worth your consideration….trusted advisors, mentors, family. What I often have to remind myself is that in the end, I am the only one that has to live with the consequences of my decision. So if you end up taking only one piece of advice away from this article, it’s don’t listen to anyone’s advice in the end (this blog being the exception). You can gather up any opinions you need to make a decision but remember that you are the only one that has to live with the result of that decision.
In the end, listen to your own voice. It is the only one that matters.