I am sure that all of us have either experienced, or know someone that has experienced, a really tough 2013. I remember distinctly getting to the end of 2012 (which was a stinker as well!) and thinking 2013 can’t get any worse. Boy was I wrong!
2013 has tested me at every level and as we approach the end of the year and looking back over this tough period I have to reflect on what made me get up after every setback and keep pushing forward? This is my take on it:
1. Passion and purpose
What is your end goal? Without being passionate about what you are doing and knowing why you are going after it, you will run out of the fuel that energises you.
This is the ‘magic’ that separates entrepreneurs from merely being employed. If you do not love what you are doing what will force you to keep getting up after the endless knocks along the way?
2. Never give up
Like most entrepreneurs not making it or giving up was ever an option for me. There is always too much at stake and too many people relying on to consider giving up.
Based on economic reality finding a decent job in the market is not as easy as it sounds and to go back into an environment where I am building someone else’s dream was no longer a proposition.
3. Keep evolving
When I look back to where I started in my consulting business two years ago to what it looks like now it is on a different planet. By climbing into the market place with a far from perfect offering I quickly realised that in order to survive I had to keep changing and evolving in order to match what the market needs and what I could offer.
Easier said than done. It is the ultimate ego killer to have to keep going back to square one, but ego has no place in this space, no matter how successful you have become.
The ability to keep re-inventing yourself and your business is hugely powerful and character building. Instead of your self-confidence being destroyed it is bolstered along with business maturity
4. Do what it take to survive but always keep your eye on the ball
It would be short-sighted of me to sit here and not admit that there have been exceptionally tough financial times and my core business not being able to deliver the required returns as I was building it. I had to diversify and often take on work that was difficult.
However I always saw this as a tool or stepping stone in the right direction. I started an on-line business with a great colleague and friend of mine for two reasons. As a consultant there is the old criticism that ‘those who can’t do…teach’ and we wanted to take something we knew nothing about and build a successful business.
Secondly we need a way to earn more money to get through every month. I am proud to say that in 4 months we have built a business that is now turning over some real money.
5. Eyes wide open
Starting and running your own business is all about risk. Having come from the lending space I have learnt a lot about risk and learnt even more running my own businesses.
Always take calculated risks. Understand as much as you can before taking a leap of faith. You will however get to a point where you will experience diminishing returns.
You will reach a point where you will have to jump. Many others will not, and that separates you from the observers and ‘commentators’.
6. Action learning
What separates being a successful entrepreneur from everyone else? Well getting on and doing it. Taking failures in your stride and continuously learning and adapting.
It’s so easy to sit on the side-line and being a world champion commentator, but only a select few climb into the ring knowing that there is going to be a whole lot of pain.
We all know that if starting your own business was easy everyone would do it. There comes a time in your journey of, what seems like, endless challenges when thing start falling into place. I salute all of you who are currently in a similar boat or who are about to embark on this amazing journey. Hold your line and you will succeed.