We are a nation of entrepreneurs. There are more than 31 million business owners in the United States, and there is room for even more. That means you. Owning your own business has great benefits; you can be the boss, make your own decisions, and impact people’s lives through employment or a service you provide. That being said, entrepreneurship also takes a lot of hard work and dedication and there are key things entrepreneurs should understand.
As the owner and CEO of multiple businesses, I speak from experience. After a successful career as a corporate executive, I decided to stop working for someone else and pursue my dream of owning a business. One business turned into two, two turned into three. Now I run a multi-brand, multi-million-dollar enterprise that includes British Swim School, Mathnasium, Pool Scouts, Grand Illuminations, Code Learning, and Real Property Management. I understand the challenges of starting a business and I am passionate about helping aspiring entrepreneurs achieve their goals.
These are four things I wish someone had told me when I first started out.
#1 – Overnight Success Doesn’t Exist
Success in business takes time — it doesn’t happen overnight. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “slow and steady wins the race.” Persistence and consistent progress will produce better results than rushing into something and this can directly be applied to starting your own business.
History is filled with people who patiently and persistently worked toward success. Colonel Sanders was 56 when he founded Kentucky Fried Chicken. His fried chicken recipe was rejected more than 1,000 times before selling.
James Dyson, the man behind the highly popular Dyson vacuum cleaners and hand dryers, spent 15 years going through thousands of prototypes before creating his first successful vacuum cleaner.
Bill Gates’ first company, Traf-O-Data, was a flop, but it did provide a learning experience that the eventual billionaire used for his next company — Microsoft.
There is no such thing as overnight success. Don’t be so arrogant as to think you are unique. It takes more than a good idea to be successful, you must put in the work.
#2 – Just Start
Many people want to start a business, but they fail to take the first step because of fear. Most call this “Analysis Paralysis.” A state of overanalyzing circumstances, weighing all the options, and overthinking the consequences and the what-ifs to the point that you don’t move forward.
Remember, even if you don’t have every detail worked out, you don’t need to be fully confident to put yourself out there. As your experience grows, so will your confidence. Don’t worry about having every detail worked out — you will be able to learn and make changes as you grow.
There is never going to be the right time. Once you do start, you will look back in a few months or a few years and wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.
#3 – Invest in Yourself
It is no secret that the majority of entrepreneurs spend a lot of time investing in their own businesses. However, investing in yourself is just as important. It can help you gain expertise and wisdom that will ultimately benefit your business. When you grow, your business grows! Here are three simple ways you can invest in yourself.
- Knowledge is power – Entrepreneurs don’t even think about the importance of boosting their personal skills and strengths. We have so much access to information that if there is an area that you are interested in, or an area that you want to learn more about, you should do your research. Entrepreneurs should understand that they don’t need to only think of learning from traditional school. You can learn how to build a house or open a business fully just from YouTube! Access to information is everywhere, ask yourself what skills or information you need to learn, then go out and find it.
- Network – Attend events and join organizations. Don’t just think of networking as a way to build your business. Networking is just as important for creating personal connections. These are important assets. Networking can increase your personal reach.
- Take care of your physical health. Let’s face it, there is a lot of stress that comes with being an entrepreneur. Stress hormones are linked to many health problems, including heart attacks, sleep problems, and weight gain. Schedule time for rest and recovery. Consider meditation to relax your mind, add exercise, and focus on your nutrition. This will give you the energy as well as the clarity to make better decisions in all aspects of your life, including your business.
#4 – Everyone’s Journey is Different
Different roads can lead to success. Don’t worry if you start on a different path than someone else. Some people start younger, some people start with more money, and some people start with more experience. The truth is, we all end up on the same road. For example, someone might have a master’s degree from Harvard Business School while another entrepreneur never went to college, yet they both achieve success in business. Don’t be scared to follow your own path.
I talk about all things business-related on my podcast, “Upside Down Entrepreneurship,” where I share knowledge, stories, and helpful shortcuts – including things entrepreneurs should understand when starting a business.