In the midst of writing Part I, the wheels in my head started spinning with practical tips I could share with you if find yourself dreaming of starting a new biz or moving to the next level with your current one. Lots of specifics crossed my mind, but as I though of nuggets that would hold true across any industry, there were 2 major things that stood out to me.
Can it really be that simple--only two things??
Yup, it is.
I don't care what industry you're in, or how old you are, if you're looking to launch a new business there are really only 2 things you're really going to need in abundance.
pic via Angela Murry Morris
Confidence & Faith.
Everyone thinks money is the holy grail--and don't get me wrong, it helps A LOT--but here's the thing: there are many a problem that an abundance of money can't solve.
A fool-proof business plan? A dream business partner? A can't-fail marketing strategy?
All fine & dandy, but none of these things can take the place of good ol' confidence & faith.
Confidence: There's a video that's been floating around the web for years now, and it features a curly haired little girl dancing on top of a vanity in the bathroom mirror full of gratitude for every little thing & telling herself how wonderful she is (see it here). It's a great video...all of us really should wake up reminding ourselves of our utter wonderfulness everyday. But the reality is that you're gonna have those days where you wonder if you're good enough.
If your work is solid.
If people like you OR your business.
If you're doing the right thing.
If anyone is reading what you wrote.
Maybe even if you're a fool for choosing your career path.
(yes, sometimes on this road you'll be really unkind to yourself, too)
pic via Christina Wedge for DRD
The confidence you'll need to develop isn't for those fantastic days when you'll feel like Olivia Pope, walking across the White House lawn in 6" stilettos, taking names & solving the crises of the world in 45 minutes. It's actually for those OTHER days....when you think that your parents (partner/friend/teacher/etc) might have been right and maybe you should go get a "real job" instead of trying to make your dream work.
When it seems like your endeavor isn't a novel idea after all.
When you feel all lost, overwhelmed and unsure about which way to go...so you kinda just want to give up instead.
The truth is, no one is really gonna be able to pull you out of those shitty spots but you.
Being successful in business really means finding your voice and expressing it, but you can't do that without a shot of confidence...because in being you & expressing your unique voice, there will inevitably be something you'll want to say or do one day that will go against the grain. And the main thing you need to go against the grain is, you guessed it--confidence.
(or as I like to say "balls"--even though my mom hates when I say that)
Faith: Although I believe in God, I'm not saying you have to. What I am saying is this:
you need to be very clear about your fundamental belief on how you think the world works...and if it's not a positive set of beliefs, you might as well stop now. Because trust me--as you move & grow in your business, you'll come across enough reasons to doubt yourself or think something isn't possible without adding a negative world view into the mix. I believe that the circle you create/world you live in is merely a reflection of what you believe about other people and the world as a whole, so if you're one of those conspiracy theory/everyone-is-out-to-get-me/no-one-is-ever-on-my-side/nothing-ever-works-out-for-me kinda people, please let me help you save your hard earned dollars--just stop, now. Do not try to start a business unless you're selling said conspiracy theory (in that case, it's a perfect fit!)--you're better off finding something else to spend your money on.
Because there WILL be late nights of "why??" and early mornings of "how??" and if you don't have a fundamental world view (or belief in God) that says something like "good will always triumph" or "I'll never miss anything that is truly for me" or "the Universe is always conspiring in my favor", then chiiiile...you are gonna have a tough time. Because it's never "if" those days come but "when" they come. And when they do, you need to have something to stand on that keeps you moving forward when you're doubting yourself and it's too dark to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
So develop a belief system that supports you and I promise...you'll find yourself supported.
When people talk about how much being an entrepreneur has changed them, I think this is really what they're talking about. That no matter the industry, what changes who you are the most is going through each of these phases & uncovering that thing that we all have deep inside to push us forward to the other end--at least I know this is what I mean.
Each time you beat back your doubts, you win.
Each time you take a chance on your intuition and see that it was right, you get stronger.
Each time you remind yourself that "no matter what it looks like right now, all is well", you grow.
Each time you go against your gut, get burned but keep moving anyhow...you STILL win .
And this is how being a business owner can change the very core of who you are.
You might not always get it right, your idea may not make a gazillion dollars, you might stick your foot in your mouth more times than you'd care to, and you may never become a commercial success (whatever that means to you), BUT...if you can just believe that you're on the right path and have some faith that everything is ultimately working out for your good in spite of the details, you can always rest assured of one thing.
You'll end up winning anyhow.
(And PS--if you have a husband/girlfriend/lover/partner that isn't supportive of your dreams, you need to exit stage left IMMEDIATELY...and you probably don't need me to tell you this. Going this road is hard enough without the support of your intimate circle. If you're in bed with someone who doesn't support you...you should think about what you're really telling yourself about what you deserve).