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How Are You Defining Your Success as an Entrepreneur?

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Life of an entrepreneur can often be described as an emotional roller coaster. You have a few ups and a lot of downs, especially when you are starting out.  Choosing entrepreneurship as a career is for people who can handle the ups and downs – those people who are resilient.  Entrepreneurship takes a lot of confidence and belief that what you have to offer will be valuable to others.

I have definitely had my share of ups and downs as being a business owner.  As the owner of three separate businesses, you might think that by the third business I would be set up for what to expect and an expert at building businesses. You’d think that I’d know by the third time around that I’d know exactly what to do and create an overnight success with my business. But I didn’t.

Regardless of what was happening in my business and how much success I was experiencing, I found it wasn’t quick enough, or I would hone in on my weaknesses rather than my strengths.  I would focus on the negative and not be grateful for what was going well.  I found myself letting that fear of failure and impatience creep in.  “Why aren’t I hitting my revenue targets?  I’m a failure.  What’s wrong with me?”  These are questions I would beat myself up with and punish myself.

It was like no matter what I did it wasn’t good enough, fast enough, or just enough.  What were my expectations?  What was I trying to meet?

These are all messages that can creep into your mind and play that game with you.  It makes you question your worth, what you are doing, and above all, your sanity.  You end up wondering what you were thinking, if you even have what it takes, and all the other negative thoughts that can start clouding your judgement, and worse, have you question your self-worth.

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” – Maya Angelou

When you start feeling like this, here are some questions you can ask yourself:

  1. Did I set reasonable goals?By reasonable, are they attainable within the parameters that you set out? Entrepreneurs tend to be overachievers and put high expectations on themselves, so be sure that you have set out a plan that works your way up to success, whether your goals are measured by revenue goals, client wins, or whatever else you choose.
  2. Are there clues along the way that I am on the right track? Don’t underestimate the value of non-financial wins.  Those are breadcrumbs on the trail to success.  They are the clues that tell you that you are on the right track and serve as valuable feedback.  Listen carefully.
  3. Am I taking care of myself? When you have put too many hours in and are not taking time to enjoy life, slow down and play a bit, you are leading yourself to burn out.  Burn out is difficult to recover from and entrepreneurs who are burning the candle at both ends and not taking enough breaks are susceptible to burn out.  You need to take breaks, go for walks, get a change of scenery, and enjoy life.  It’s in those moments where you recharge, and you return with more creativeness and clearer thought processes.  That increases your efficiency.
  4. Am I really giving it my best? Be honest here, are you giving it your full effort?  Sometimes we think we are, but when you take a step back and assess the overall picture, you can see the areas for improvement.  Maybe you need to be clearer on your messaging, or you could approach something in a different way.  There is always room to tweak and improve upon a process or system.
  5. Nothing worth having comes easy, or so they say.  And with building a business, the overnight success stories are extremely rare.  Behind most of the stories there are the untold stories of being brought to the brink of bankruptcy, stressful and sleepless nights, small wins, huge wins, setbacks, and failures.

Success is rarely a straight path.  We learn and grow from our challenges.  To create an overnight success does not prepare you for the real challenges of entrepreneurism, as the challenges never go away, they just present themselves differently at each stage.

The true measure of success for an entrepreneur is measured by resiliency.  How you react and reposition after a failure is everything in how you set yourself up for success.  

When you are willing to give yourself a break, accept that building a successful business takes time, and that enjoying the process is just as important as the destination, then you will be able to define a more achievable and reasonable measure of success.

Melissa Houston is a Certified Professional Accountant (CPA) and a financial coach, who helps entrepreneurs overcome both their personal and business finance issues and earn more money. With over 20 years of financial management experience, Melissa understands how to improve your bottom line without making another sale.  Melissa works with business owners through coaching programs and signature course offerings. Reach out to Melissa on her LinkedIn account.

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Why Entrepreneurial Innovation Matters More Than Ever

Innovation and disruption are a key part of thought leadership online. But most online business owners today are blinded by tactics

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How You Can Start Networking in Style in 2023

By investing your time and effort in networking, you will gain more business through the relationships you make

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Are you completely new to networking?

Then this article is a great place to start. Networking isn’t hard on paper…you go along to online and in-person meetings, make new connections and build relationships, and those relationships lead to more work so you can grow your business! The challenge is that in reality, it isn’t quite so straightforward, as our emotions get involved and make things much tougher.

It’s incredibly common for nerves to creep in and to feel overwhelmed and apprehensive when it comes to networking – even when it isn’t new to you. But how can you become more successful at it, feel less self-conscious, and make networking work for you and your business?

Here’s a few tips to help you embrace every business networking opportunity you get, so you can grow your business and achieve your goals.

Rock up with confidence

If you want to keep those nerves at bay and ooze confidence at networking get-togethers, you’ll need to downplay it rather than seeing it as a big occasion. Try not to put pressure on yourself and see it as a casual meet-up with a bunch of people with similar goals to you. To help you relax in the run-up to the event, be sure to set achievable goals and expectations before you go.

Keep your chin up and your goals in mind – positivity is key. One easy goal for your first networking meeting is very simply to speak to one other person and see where the conversation goes. Introduce yourself and your business, but take the time to listen to their story, too. It’ll only take a few minutes and will be over before you know it, so it’s nothing to fear. You may even enjoy it and want to speak to a few more people, too!

“You can close more business in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie

Where to go networking

If you’ve never been networking before, it might not be very easy to find a group – but only because there’s so much choice and you don’t know where to start your search! Groups come in different sizes and styles, so it’s important to find one that suits you and your business. Informal, formal, big, small… the choice is yours.

For your first meeting, start small to ease yourself in – a big group could prove too daunting, and stop you from feeling comfortable enough to get involved. After all, you want to make a strong first impression!

If you’re wondering which group to opt for in the long-term, give a few a go! Get a feel for them, speak to as many people as you can, and see which one suits! You’ll know when a group feels right for you, and you can see where those all-important relationships are most likely to be built. If a group doesn’t feel like the right for you, give a different one a go.

Get more leads and referrals

This will happen for you, as long as you put the effort into building those relationships. If you take the time to get to know people, and then check in with them and support them, they’ll see you as a trustworthy and reliable contact who they can call on. And when they feel that way, those leads and referrals you’re looking for will come a-knocking.

Once you’ve made relationships with people who you trust, and they’ve had a positive experience working with you, you can even ask for referrals! But don’t rush this, as you don’t want to inadvertently push people away or try and force the relationship along too quickly.

When you do get an opportunity to work with someone you’ve met at a networking group, go above and beyond to offer more value than they’re expecting, as then, they’ll be much more likely recommend you and introduce you to more of their contacts!

Grow your business

By investing your time and effort in networking, you will gain more business through the relationships you make, and you will be able to grow your business.

We know that it’s not easy, going networking for the very first time. And that’s why we want to give you all the advice and tools that you need so you can walk in with confidence and make the most of the opportunity.

2023 is just around the corner, and you have the chance to make it the year you make networking work for your business. And the benefits could be incredibly amazing for your business, just like they have been for ours, and many business owners we have worked with over the years.

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