I just found out last week that I was (anonymously) nominated in the NAB Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards as Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year. I have been at this whole “entrepreneur” thing since I was 22 years old, but to tell you the truth, I am always still pleasantly surprised when such recognition and honor come my way. It hasn’t all been smooth sailing but I am grateful to have at least reached a point where I can light the way or guide the path of others.
Over the years, the same questions more or less come up: “How did you do it?” “Why did you do it?” “Can I do it too?” and “How?”
Honestly, I don’t really have all the answers and I’m no where near reaching the Forbes’ list of The World’s Most Powerful Female Entrepreneurs. What I do have however, is a genuine passion to refresh the mindset of women in the workplace. A lot of things can hinder our pursuit of professional success, and my goals has always been to make sure that we are not and do not become our own roadblocks.
So, you want to be an Entrepreneur? Let me share with you three things you can build on.
1. Think Big, Everything is Possible
Notice how I said “think” and not “dream?” We dream with our eyes closed and our minds asleep. Open your eyes, get the cogs and wheels of your brain working and make those dreams come true! The world is an endless place of possibilities made even more attainable by the continuous rise of technological advancements – bringing people, businesses, industries, and nations closer to one another – making the world not smaller, but more intimate, more connected, more in-sync. Take advantage of the wealth of information and services at your fingertips. Ideate! Push the boundaries of your imagination and creativity.
2. There’s No Work Like Smart Work
Albert Einstein once said that “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Don’t be insane. Be smart. There’s no point in working “hard” at something that just isn’t going to work. Instead, work “smart.” Get involved in knowledge-sharing – join and engage in social media communities, read blogs, subscribe to newsletters. Also, contrary to popular belief, experience is NOT the best teacher. Learning from the experiences (and mistakes) of others, so you’re spared from unnecessary difficulties is the better alternative. Connect with a Business or Executive Coach, participate in webinars (free AND paid), attend seminars – don’t hesitate to make a significant investment on your personal enrichment and growth.
3. Success Is What Happens When Preparation Meets Opportunity and Brings Persistence Along for the Ride
I don’t really subscribe to hard and fast formulas, but if you want a simple mental picture to help keep you focused, it’s:
Preparation + Persistence x Opportunity = Success
Take it from one of the greatest military strategists of all time, “To not prepare is the greatest of crimes; to be prepared beforehand for any contingency is the greatest of virtues.” (Sun Tzu, The Art of War) No successful conquest was ever won by coming to battle unprepared. If you want to be a winner and conquer your industry, then come prepared. Don’t go out onto the battlefield without first knowing what you have in your arsenal, how to use it in the best way, and of course, knowing what you’re up against. In short, STRATEGY.
According to history, Thomas Edison failed over 1,000 times before he was able to make the light bulb. Can you imagine if he didn’t persist at it? We’d all still be living in the light of candles and gas lamps (shudder). Don’t be afraid to fail. When you fail, don’t give up. Learn and keep at it. It doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down as long as you keep getting up. Who knows, you may just be one failure away from your light bulb!
It was “Mr. Television,” Milton Berle who said, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” All your persistent preparation will come to nothing if you don’t STEP OUT of your comfort zone and actively seek opportunities. Opportunity is not something that just falls on your lap as you sit around on your laurels; opportunity is like wild game–you hunt it down, fight for it, aim for it, and kill it with a winning shot. So keep your eyes peeled for that opening in the market, that chance meeting with a mover in your industry, and when you get your shot, make you sure to kill it!
So, you want to be an Entrepreneur?
Go ahead. Go boldly. Time and tide wait for no man, or woman.