post by Stephanie Nelson
Since we’re just a few days away from the 4th anniversary of the opening of SBN Marketing (the actual date is December 12th, in case you want to send gifts – ha ha ha), it seems appropriate to post about the lessons I’ve learned the hard way about being an entrepreneur. So without further adieu…
- Trust your gut.
This one’s taken me the longest time to learn, but I think I’ve finally gotten it. If your gut tells you that a potential client is a bad fit, it’s not the right time to buy a certain piece of hardware, a service folks are asking for is not in your wheelhouse, etc, trust it! Every time I’ve listened to my gut, time showed me that I’d done the right thing. Every time I’ve second-guessed myself, time has shown that I shouldn’t have done that.
- Be honest with yourself.
This one kind of ties in with “trust your gut.” If you’re second-guessing yourself, why are you second-guessing yourself? Is it because you have doubts? Is it because you feel some sort of peer pressure – either directly or because of stuff you’re seeing posted online? Are you considering taking on a client for the wrong reasons (like solely because it would pad the bank account or the resume)? The only way you can be confident in your decisions is to answer yourself honestly when presented with a “problem.”
- Build a network you can trust.
People will show you their true colors, if you just give them a chance. Take the time to get to know folks. The ones you need to keep – and keep close – will show up for you when you need them – and as an entrepreneur, you WILL have those times. The ones you need to walk away from or keep at arms length will let you struggle. Sometimes, they’ll be the ones to MAKE you struggle. Just keep our eyes open and the folks in your network will categorize themselves.
- Recognize when you need a break…and make it happen.
Whether you’re working for yourself or you’re working for someone else, we all hit the metaphorical wall at some point. When you’re a solopreneur, it can be hard to recognize that wall and even harder to take a moment for yourself. When you’re a solopreneur in an industry that expects you to be “on” 24/7 (like social media), that difficulty expands 10-fold. But if you don’t take that moment to yourself, you’re not doing anyone any favors. Your work suffers. Your health suffers. Your relationships and friendships suffer. Even if you can’t arrange to take a week-long digital-free escape to the Caribbean, find a couple hours here and there to get a massage or mani/pedi, take a long lunch, sneak in a nap or just step away from the computer, phone and tablet.
- Break out of your rut.
This one is related to needing a break, but it’s a little different. Like I said, sometimes it’s just not feasible to get away. Sometimes even that couple hours for a long lunch or whatever is just not do-able. But when you work from home, all you see is the interior of your house some days. And sometimes that goes on for days on end. That’ll send you into that metaphorical wall faster than pretty much anything else I’ve ever experienced. When that’s the case, keep working but find a change of scenery. Now that you can find free wifi in a lot of public spaces, work from somewhere that’s not your house – a coffeeshop, the place where you get your car repaired/inspected, a restaurant. If nothing else, team up with a friend or industry compatriot and work from each others’ houses from time to time.
So those are a few of the lessons I’ve learned. What about you? Are you an entrepreneur that can pass along a few tips of your own? Let me know!