Several months ago my brother moved home (he's lived in Florida for a LONG time). He went to school out there and worked out there and had a life out there, but I'm guessing he thought it was finally time to come home.
Once he did, he also decided he was going to start his own business. Now, New Orleans has been praised as a great place for entrepreneurs and young people, so this is a great place for him to start. But like so many other people looking to start their own business, he wasn't sure how to get moving or even where to start. So we sat down and made lists and worked on things together.
It's scary starting a new business. It's your own. You're constantly wondering if it will be a success and if the next client will come. You're investing time and money into this huge venture and there are absolutely no guarantees, but you do it anyway.
As entrepreneurs we’re often going after our dreams alone and it’s hard. There are so many ups and downs and it’s so easy to take a look at what other people are doing and wonder...“What is wrong with me? Why is it taking me soooo long? Will I ever be able to get to where I want to be?”
Being a business owner and someone that loves to see people happy and successful, I felt compelled to share some tough lessons because the more honest and open we all are about the reality and truth of entrepreneurship, the more we will empower each other to succeed.
- IT WILL TAKE TIME - This was a big lesson I learned (and am still learning). I remember when I was starting It's Your Time Events, someone said it could take a long time...sometimes it's the 3rd year, and other times it's longer for a business to be successful. That definitely didn't help my fears, but I kept going anyway.
It's been 3 years and there are still many times when I am not sure if I'm spinning my wheels in place or if I'll ever have another client or if I'm doing the right things. We live in a world where we want to achieve everything now…We want 10,000 subscribers now, 100,000 website visitors now, lots of sales now. And so often we get caught up looking at what other people are doing and then think, “why is it taking me sooooo long???????” But as the quote goes, “Rome wasn't built in a day.” It takes time (and LOTS of patience, faith and hope!).
Once I started to be okay with this, it was like a weight had lifted. I stopped beating myself up about how long it was all taking and began to enjoy the journey more, because that’s what it’s all about anyway. So, if you ever think to yourself, “why is it taking me so long?” just remember that it does take time, stick with it and be okay with it, because it’ll help you to enjoy your life right now more.
I started It's Your Time Events because it made me happy. For every wedding and couple I worked with, I saw a future....I saw the hope that it represented. I started my business because I wanted to be a part of that and contribute to someone else's day. I started it because my daytime jobs did not meet my social or creative needs. That’s why I started It's Your Time Events. To be a part of helping others' special moments....to ensure they are able to enjoy those moments.
- YOU NEED TO BE MENTALLY TOUGH - This follows on nicely from the first lesson I learned because entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint and in order to keep on going, you have to have mental strength – that’s what will get you to the finishing line (not that there’s really a finishing line in business, the line is always moving!).
This is by far one of the toughest lessons to learn....and toughest hurdles to get over. Success begins with YOU. It’s an inside job and it’s something that you have to do on purpose, day in, day out. Heck yes it's scary! You're trying to achieve something you've never done before and you're doing it primarily on your own. I know all of the excuses because I've said them to myself... “I don’t have the time, the money, the knowledge, I’m not ready yet etc.”
I literally had to tell myself that I can do this. I will make it happen. I am going to start my own business. I had to condition myself, and you will have to do the same, to overcome the fear, to tell the excuses to go away and allow myself to step up and be the person I need to be in order to make it happen.
When the challenges arise, when things go wrong, when everything feels like it’s taking foreverrrr, you have to have the right mindset to be able to deal with it and keep moving FORWARD. This will be your BIGGEST asset in life, because the right attitude will help you to start manifesting a life and business you love.
- IT TAKES MONEY TO MAKE MONEY - This is a lesson I learned early on - to make money, you've got to spend money. Because of my background in communications and marketing, I knew where I wanted to be to reach my audience. However, I also knew it is best to talk to those already in the industry for suggestions. So I figured it all out and with a credit card and a small spending limit a day, I was able to get my business and my offering in front of my audience from day one.
I think so often we build a website, create a product or service and think that somehow people will discover us, that somehow miraculously we’ll be able to build a big list and make lots of sales. The truth us that if you want to want to grow faster (get more traffic, more subscribers, more sales) you have to pay. And I’m not talking about spending thousands… you can start off with an advertising budget of a couple of dollars a day.
- YOU ARE NOT ALONE - Make friends with like-minded people, who get you and want to help you along your journey. This is one of the most valuable things I've ever done, not just in terms of my business, but in terms of my sanity!
Knowing that I have people I can turn to to talk about my experiences and challenges and get perspective and advice, and people who are there to celebrate with me when I have a win, makes such a huge difference. I would go insane without my business friends, who are actually scattered all over the world.
Being an entrepreneur can be so lonely, if you let it be… so don’t. Start getting better connected by reaching out to people who you resonate with, send an email, join Facebook groups, go to networking events, attend conferences – hang out where other like-minded people hang out and start building friendships.
- BE CONSISTENT & FOCUSED - I actually learned this lesson when I was training for marathons and half marathons and a half ironman in DC. It takes a commitment and it take focus to make it happen.
If you want to be great at something you have to practice being great at it consistently and you have to stay focused on it. I would have never thought I would be able to run a mile let alone do a half ironman! At one time in my life I would have thought that was impossible. But all that training and commitment and focus, showed me that I am capable of doing things I never thought were possible. Those races showed me what it takes to make big things happen.
It’s exactly the same in business, if you want to be great you have to practice being great every day… even when you haven't gotten a client in a month or more, even when you feel like you keep doing things wrong, even when you have hardly any followers/fans/subscribers.
I get it. It's tough and scary and disheartening and so you want to try every different angle to improve, to make it happen. It’s sooo easy to feel the need to hop around from one idea/strategy, to the next, but this often leads to inconsistency. You start doing one thing and before long, you've moved on to something else… never allowing yourself the chance to become really great at it.
So instead of doing a million things, just focus on being consistent at one thing (or a few), and then once you’re great, keep up the practice and, if you want, move on to something else too.
- KEEP IT SIMPLE - You're starting a business. You have family and friends. You probably have a daytime job which pays the bills. There is a LOT going on in your life. Starting and maintaining a business can quickly become overwhelming and chaotic because there are a million and one things we need to be doing. It’s exhausting. It will be okay though. You can do this!!
I've found keeping things simple is best. I literally have to list my priorities and focus on one thing at a time and make life easy by planning out the what and the when. I review my priorities and goals and needs and wants and if something doesn't fit within those goals or needs, then it's not on the list. It'll just have to get addressed later. When you know what you need to do and when you need to do it, it makes life so much easier!
For me, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't carry my Emily Ley Simplified Planner. I literally schedule EVERYTHING: daytime work, It's Your Time Events work, family time, and I try for social and me time, but that doesn't always work out. I know myself. If I don't keep track of my time and my priorities and what I'm doing or not doing, I will feel overwhelmed...I go insane. I get emotional and stressed and frantic and unable to focus on anything. When you are intentional about your day and keep things simple and plan things out, I promise, you’ll feel so much happier and make lots more progress.
Not entirely sure of what your priorities are or what your ultimate goal is? Here's a worksheet to get you rolling. Or we can set up a session to talk. I love coaching others and seeing their dreams come true!
It's Your Time Events owner, Erin St Pierre England, is now offering Coaching sessions on starting and managing your business. If you have any questions or would like to discuss where you are in your process, we'd love to help! Contact us at Erin@Itsyourtimeevents.com